You survived the summer. Sanity, I mean school, is back in session. The school bell rings and children enter the classroom well rested and parents high five each other in carpool drop off. If it were only that simple. Instead, it will take at least a week of hell, cranky kids, and irritable parents trying to adjust to the transition of early mornings together.
A morning routine is the key to my sanity. The boys and I thrive on a predictable schedule in the morning. Hotness has already left for work before I even wake up, so I have to be on my game–before I have even drank my coffee.
So what does my morning routine look like? My morning routine begins the night before. The boys are responsible for having everything they need for the next school day completed and book-bags ready to go. The boys pack their snack and/or lunch. This year the boys are buying lunch three times a week and are responsible for packing their own lunch twice a week in non-earth friendly plastic bags. Yes, I do not prepare lunches or spend 20 minutes cleaning out lunchbox containers. Hate me.
Next comes shoes and socks. Looking for shoes in the morning, when you are trying to get out the door, will turn any mom into a monster. The boys must have shoes and socks by the door and the knots untied from the laces. What about outfits for the next day? Let me blow your mind here. My boys wear the outfit they will be wearing the next day to bed. Don’t knock it, until you try it. All of this prep and it is not even morning, yet. Oh, and I plan what we will have for breakfast, rotating simple breakfast items.
I start waking my boys at 7:00 a.m. and by 7:30ish, the boys are at the bus stop. Usually it takes 7 minutes to get the boys out of bed and walking down the stairs. When they get downstairs they must style/brush/tame their bedhead and put their shoes and socks on before sitting down for breakfast. The boys then can eat until 7:28 a.m. then breakfast is over and they must brush their teeth.
I put everything the boys need in the half bath off of the kitchen. Toothbrush, toothpaste, hair brush, and hair products. Yep, even boys love some hair gel. Utilizing the half bath is a game changer. A) For the convenience B) I can witness the boys actually brushing their teeth and not wandering upstairs, getting distracted, playing Legos, and coming back downstairs without brushing their teeth, C) Cleanup for one small sink is a lot easier than the double sink and counter in the boy’s bathroom upstairs. Less room for mess!
I applaud myself for my morning routines. The boys are out the door in 25 minutes and we are genuinely happy. Yes, we have the occasional tantrums where the shit hits the fan, however, those mornings are far and few between. Consistency is key. We have had this schedule for years and the boys know my expectations. Plus, we have natural consequences. If you argue or play while getting ready, you have less time to eat, because I will throw that dish in the sink when that clock hits 7:28 a.m. Miss the bus?! Awe, hell no! That means I have to wake the baby and maybe even Boy #4, load everyone in the van, and go fight the insane morning carpool line. No thanks! Not only does this scenario turn me into a monster, but the boys walk in class right when the bell rings. My boys hate to be late and hate riding in the van to school with a monster, so they run to that bus stop, lightning speed, if necessary.
Here are my lifesavers when it comes having a good morning:
1. Predictable routine each day
3. Making your child accountable (having backpack ready, helping with snack/lunch preparation, having clothes/shoes picked out)
4. Utilizing a half bathroom (limits distractions of sending kids back upstairs and helps with maintaining a clean bathroom)
5. Instilling natural consequences, if the boys misbehave
**Bonus: A great tool I have used in the past is having a morning routine playlist, I use classical music. The first song is a wake-up song. By the time the song ends, you need to be up. By the end of the next song, you need to be downstairs. By the end of the third song, your shoes must be on, etc. Using songs for transitioning from one phase to another is a very useful tool and fun. In fact, I need to make a playlist this year with the boys, let them choose some upbeat songs.
What are your lifesaver tips for a good morning routine?