Some mornings at my house are stressy. So stressy. These mornings are usually daycare days when I have to get my kids fed, dressed and buckled into their car seats by 8.15 am, or I risk being late for work.
On these days I inevitably lose my sh!t as my kids ignore my requests to put on their shoes, brush their teeth and so on – sigh.
Well, not anymore.
I have resolved to find a calmer way to start our day and so far I can report that we are not only getting out the door before 8.15 am (yay!), but I am also smiling.
Here’s what I’ve done.
1. Use a visual schedule
My kids – like many others – are so visual and me saying, ‘put on your undies’ 15 times often falls of deaf ears – especially when they are building a make-believe castle out of the cushions – I know, priorities, Mum! So I’ve taken to using a ‘visual schedule’.
This is just a series of simple drawings that show my kids what needs to be done for us to get out of the door. It includes a picture of a bowl and spoon for ‘eat breakfast,’ a pair of shorts and a t-shirt for ‘get dressed’, a toothbrush for ‘brush teeth’, a pair of shoes for ‘put on shoes,’ a toilet for ‘do a wee wee in the toilet’ and a kid-like drawing of a house to represent ‘go to kindy‘ at the end. Each picture has a little box and my kids love ticking it off each time they have done something. They willingly do the next thing, too, so they can get a tick. So far it’s working like a charm, and I’m not losing my voice from yelling.
Read more about daycare mornings:
- 8 daycare drop-off tips for clingy little ones
- 9 thoughts every working mum has when her kid wakes up sick on daycare day
- 7 things every mother feels after daycare drop off
2. Play soft music
I find playing calming music when my kids wake up is a great way to keep them, and me, relaxed. Kinderling Kids Radio has a wonderful ‘I’m Awake‘ program that is all soft kids’ music, as well as quiet stories for early risers.
It also often gets noisy in the morning when my boys have that bounce-off-the-walls energy, but this program is helping to set the tone of the morning I want – which is happy and relaxed.
3. Have clothes ready
I’m not the most organised mum, but I find if I focus on folding and putting away the boys’ clothes from the washing pile – and being OK to leave the rest for another day – then I’m not frantically searching the basket for the clothes each morning. They are where they should be, put away in their drawers.
4. Pack the bags the night before
OK, so I don’t always do this one, but when I do, I want to give past me from the night before who had the foresight to find hats, drink bottles and fold the kindy sheets a big fat kiss! Having a packed daycare bag will slash at least 15 minutes of running about and searching from your busy morning. I highly recommend trying to get into this habit.
5. Get dressed before the kids
I find if I get myself ready first, it’s easier to get the kids dressed. They see that Mummy’s ready and that it must be time to get out of their PJs. I’m also less stressed. By getting me ready first, I know I have everything I NEED for my work day, and can then concentrate on them.
6. Stay on task
My final tip is to simply stay focused. Just like I ask my boys to stay on task, I need to as well. This means no checking Facebook or emails in the morning. This time should just be about getting everybody out the door as calmly as possible, and this means not running late because I’ve let the kids watch TV for too long or I wanted to read the headlines. It’s Project Go and there’s no time for anything else!