This week I thought we’d focus on morning routines. Morning routines can look a little less sexy than evening routines. Having kids often means we wake up and are in go mode until the kids get to school. Finding shoes, finishing homework, making sure everyone has their lunch, ate breakfast, and is clear on who goes to what activity after school can be a bit of a juggling act.
So what can you do to make mornings a little less daunting?
Plan ahead. Lunches can be made the evening before or you can even make lunches on Sunday to last the whole week. Struggling to get the lunches made; get the kids to help or set your child up for school lunches. No need to feel guilt or shame, school lunches may have improved since you were a kid AND your child having hot lunch is not a statement of the kind of mom you are. If taking the chore of making lunch off your list allows you to spend more stress free time with your children then go for it. Positive time spent with your child will have a greater impact on their happiness and well being than compared to packing a nutritionally sound lunch.
Plan ahead. Create a chart, tack up some poster board, get a white board and write out the after school plans and activities for the week. This will help you to remember who goes where and when, give your children some accountability and responsibility, and help your partner to feel more connected and part of the activity. Who knows, your partner may even see something on the schedule and offer to help out.
Got a needy love bug in the morning? Take a moment to check in with your child. Sometimes nighttime can feel lonely and it can be a challenge for young children to get through the night. Checking in with little ones and giving a morning snuggle can help to set the right mood and tone for the morning.
Get up earlier. You’re probably thinking I’m crazy for even suggesting this but if you get up at least 10 minutes earlier you are giving yourself a cushion to deal with problems that may come up such as lost shoes. If you are feeling really ambitious you can get up 30-45 minutes early and squeeze in some quiet time for yourself. Taking 15 minutes to drink a cup of coffee before you wake up your family can make a world of difference in your day.
Set an intention for the day before you get out of bed. Think of what you want to focus on, what’s really important. Maybe choose one or two feeling words that you want to guide you through the day such as calm and accomplished. When stressful situations come up or when you find yourself feeling worn out you can go back to the intention you set for the day and make decisions focused on how you want to feel and be.
Making small changes daily can make a huge impact over time. Think about one thing you might like to change about your morning routine. Maybe it's fitting in 10 minutes for yourself before the kids get up or maybe it's packing lunches before bed. Allow for the fact that change is not immediate and takes practice and patience. If you fail at implementing one of the strategies listed above or it doesn’t have the impact you hoped for, no worries. There's always tomorrow to try something new.
Gwendolyn Nelson-Terry, LMFT - Providing online counseling for women. Located in Vacaville, California - serving all areas of California.