Some mornings getting your kids ready for school and out the door can be chaotic. But when you’re prepared, you can give yourself and your children the gift of a peaceful morning. We’ve all experienced the stress of being late, and sometimes we rush our children and occasionally even lose our patience. It can then be hard for both parent and child to go separate ways feeling good and ready to take on the day after a really frantic morning. Over time, this depletes our self-esteem and wears on our relationship with our kids. Below are some tips to help your children start the day empowered by your grace, calm, and patience. I can’t say I manage to do this everyday—I have my fair share of crazy mornings– but when I do use the following tips, everyone in my family is calmer and happier!
Tips for starting your family’s day on the right foot:
1. When you wake up, even before your feet touch the ground, take a moment to set an intention that your day be filled with grace, ease, and flow.
2. Prepare the night before. Anything that can be done the night before is best done, well, the night before! Lay out clothes and pack backpacks. Set the table for breakfast and know what you will make. And pack as much of your child’s lunch as you can in advance. Finally, have any instruments, athletic gear, homework, and permission slips ready to go. Depending on their age, teach your kids to prepare the night before by helping or reminding them to complete these responsibilities.
3. Shower and/or get dressed before your kids get up. Most of the time it’s worth losing the extra 15 minutes of sleep, especially if you have little ones who stay home as it will be hard to get in that shower even once your older kids have left for school. It will also be a lot faster to take a shower and get dressed without having to watch the little ones. And not only will a shower wake you up, but you’ll feel better and more organized. It’s so easy for the day to be in full swing and your still in your PJs—at noon!
4. Get up earlier. Begin with twice as much time as you think you need and then back up from there as you figure out your routine.
5. Stay calm. Try to avoid rushing your kids. It’s helpful to encourage them to be aware of the time by letting them know “we have fifteen minutes before it’s time to get in the car…” However, even though you’re watching the clock you can still stay present.
6. Limit distractions. Avoid TV, email, or phone calls in the morning. While your kids get dressed, try to have breakfast on the table so they come straight to breakfast and don’t get sidetracked playing.
7. Communicate your expectations the night before. Prepare your children by reminding them that the next day is a school morning and on school mornings there’s a routine.
8. Sometimes the unavoidable happens. If you know you are going to be late and can’t change it, then just let it go and embrace being late. Be a role model about how to handle frustration and life’s little ups and downs. It is far better that you’re late and happy than on-time and grumpy. It is not worth it to lose your patience over a few minutes when chances are you will regret it long into the day and your children will feel “off” throughout their day as well. It’s more important to stay centered with your children than to be on time.
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The Power of Listening to Your Children