There was a time when I spent every morning constantly stressed out. I was desperately trying to get the kids out the door and to school on time so that I could get to work on time.⠀
It seemed like the more I nagged and reminded them to get ready and get their butts downstairs to eat so we could leave for school, the more they dilly-dallied in their rooms. Then when they did get downstairs, we butted heads trying to figure out what they wanted to eat for breakfast and lunch. So, of course we always ended up rushing out the door with food in their hands.⠀⠀
One day I was just simply fed up. I told my husband, “That’s it! I’m tired of this. We need to figure out a way to stop this madness every morning.” And that’s when I sat down and thought about what exactly I could do or change to make our morning routines less hectic. So I created a family morning routine/system and “laid down the law”. We’ve made a lot of tweaks along the way but we’ve kept with it and seen great improvements!
These are the main changes we made to streamline our family morning routine and teach our kids more responsibility:
Make decisions the night before
We discuss breakfast and lunch the night before each school day so we don’t waste any time in the morning. If possible, we even pack lunches and prep breakfast the night before. This eliminates any wasted time in the morning from indecision. If they have decided they want something different by the time morning comes, they are sure about it before speaking up.
We used to waste so much time going back and forth in the morning deciding what each kid felt like eating for breakfast and what we should pack for lunch. Those days are gone now because it is all set in stone before they go to bed the night before. This simple routine modification has saved us so much time and stress in the morning!
Put your kids in charge of their own wake up
Another minor change we made with major impact was putting our kids in charge of their own wake up. We set an expectation time that everyone is to be downstairs. In our house, that’s 7 AM.
Our kids now set their alarms for the time they select that will allow them to be downstairs on time. I like giving them the ability to choose what time they set their alarm for. This gives them both a sense of responsibility and control over their situation.
If your kids are on the older side and have a cell phone, they can use the alarm on their device. We choose not to allow devices in our kids’ rooms, so they set old fashioned alarm clocks for themselves! If your kids are younger, you can always use a clock radio or even wind-up alarm clock and you can assist them with setting it each night. It can also be fun to take your kids to choose their own alarm clock. If you let them pick out their own alarm clock it can help to build excitement.
Even if your kids are young, I would recommend getting them involved in deciding how many minutes they will need to get downstairs on time and what time to set the alarm for.
Create a backpack ready zone in your home
Another simple shift that has saved us loads of time in the morning is not running all over the place to find our stuff! We used to race all over every morning looking for books, note books, items for certain days of school, lunch boxes, and water bottles to shove in our backpacks. It was inevitable that something was lost, we forgot things, and we ended up running late.
Now, we have a designated backpack ready zone. For us, this zone is in our living room on a shelf right near their homework station. It’s convenient for our kids that their backpacks “live” in close proximity to their desks, where they do their homework each evening. Instead of racing to find everything they need in the morning when we are in a time crunch, they now find it all before they even go to bed the night before when we are under far less stress to get out of the door.
Each morning, my kids grab their backpack from its “home” and move it to our designated zone in the kitchen. This is where they pack their backpack with their lunch, water bottle, and any last minute items they don’t want to forget.
For your family, you are going to want to make sure your designated zone is in an area that works for you and your routine. Make sure the backpack zone is visible, easy for your kids to reach, and close to your exit location. This might be your kitchen, entryway, or mudroom. Get your kids involved in choosing and setting up your backpack ready zone. This will make them more likely to stick to the system. Wherever it is for you, just make sure it is easy!⠀