For many working moms getting up and out in the morning is one of the biggest struggles, since mornings can bring out the worst in everyone. The pressure of having to get somewhere on time and completing many tasks before that can be quite stressful. However, believe it or not, good morning routines can be improved quite quickly just by implementing a few simple strategies.
The first strategy is to set up a routine. Routine is something that kids love because they naturally thrive on predictability. If the routine is simple, short, and straightforward you’ve got yourself a winning routine that will make mornings smooth, calm and joyful.
Listed below is what a good morning routine looks like for children under the age of 7.
- 7 am: Wake up, get dressed, make bed, and tidy room if needed
- 7:20 am: Family eats a simple, but healthy breakfast together, sets a goal or intention for the day, takes dishes to the kitchen counter or dishwasher, takes vitamins
- 7:45 am: Mom or Dad help child brush teeth and hair
- 8 am: Children can play or watch quality TV while mom and dad finish getting ready
- 8:30 am: Out the door to go to school, daycare, nursery, etc.
Listed below is what a good morning routine looks like for children aged 7 and up.
- 7 am: Child wakes up naturally or with alarm and gets dressed
- 7:15 am: Child washes face, brushes teeth and hair
- 7:30 am: Family eats a simple, but healthy breakfast together and sets a goal or intention for the day, takes dishes to the kitchen counter or dishwasher, take vitamins
- 7:50 am: Children put lunch into their school bag which should be by the door and then can either practice an instrument, read, play or watch some quality TV
- 8:00- 8:10 am: Everyone puts on coats and shoes, grabs school bag and leaves for school
Is your first reaction to these morning routines “Yeah, wouldn’t that be great, but not my kids?” If so, then this next part is for you.
If you, a working mom, have been struggling with your current morning routine there are a few things you can do right away to set things up.
Talk it out
Have a conversation with your child the night before or on the weekend. Explain to your child that you feel mornings are too stressful. Give them a few examples of what stress has looked or sounded like then tell them you’ve come up with a routine that will help mornings be more relaxed, calm and fun. Then, go on to explain the routine. Make sure they know what has to get done before any eating or TV occurs. You can also use task pictures or charts to remind visual learners or younger children of the order.
If need be, set a timer for younger children aged 2 to 7. Be sure to give specific praise if they’ve completed every task before the timer has rung. Phrases such as, “Thank you for getting dressed so cooperatively”, “You really helped mommy by putting your dishes away so nicely,” or “Way to go at eating your veggies so politely! I appreciate that.” Physical praise such as a thumbs up, big smile, or hug works nicely too.
Use a simple, consistent form of discipline in cases where fighting, whining or other misbehaviors may arise.
Be sure to be organized yourself
Get up a bit earlier than your child so that you are nearly ready yourself. Also, having a plan for next morning’s breakfast. Even put bowls and spoons out on the table the evening before. Also, be sure to pack lunches the night before if you are pressed for time or train your older kids to make their own. If you teach them that a balanced lunch consists of 1 bread, 1 protein, 1 fruit or vegetable they’ll learn to check each item off their list.
Being proactive, predictable, and precise with a routine is the antidote to morning madness. Every working mom deserves to start her day off on a happy note–go for it and reap the rewards!