It happens in so many houses on a weekday morning, right? Children dawdle, things are unorganised and we, the apparent adults end up shouting and having a little tantrum. I don’t know about you, but the worst part about that scenario is that the shouting doesn’t get us out of the door any quicker, just a lot unhappier. So often I would find myself about to drive the car away into rush hour traffic, feeling really stressed and it got my day off to such an awful start. It was one of the first things on my agenda in my Year of Organising project. Now, most of the time we get out of the house on time and calmly. This is how I’ve done it.
The Night Before
This is a pretty basic one, I know, but how often do we do this on maybe a Sunday night and then not for the rest of the week. It’s vital to get things ready the night before. Fill water bottles, get snacks ready, make sure that shoes, book bags and anything else that needs to leave the house with us is close to hand and easy to see. I can’t tell you the amount of times a lost shoe has nearly sent me over the edge in the past. I have found an extra tip for this one, if you have a young family, as I do and bedtime can drag on a little. Get this stuff ready before they go to bed. I tend to do in while they’re having down time after school and I am preparing dinner. When I come downstairs, yawning, out of Lady Mck’s dark room at 8pm, the last thing I want to do is start thinking about the next morning. It’s great to know it’s done.
Lay clothes out
This is an extension of the first tip really, but I find it’s a vital one for a smooth morning. I always get my own clothes ready and Lady Mck’s. It usually doesn’t matter what either of us are wearing, seeing as it’s just us at home, however, I find that removing the need to make a decision first thing in the morning really helps. Take the choice away from yourself and just get dressed!
Work out realistic timings
This one seemed so basic that I didn’t think it was necessary, but after I got a notebook and pen and wrote down everything I need to do in the morning and how long each thing takes, I realised that I actually need to get out of bed ten minutes earlier than I had been doing. I like to clear the breakfast things away so that Lady Mck and I come back to a reasonable looking kitchen and it was this kind of thing that I realised needed to be factored in. Also Lady Mck is now a toddler, with all that goes with that age and it can sometimes take ten minutes to get her dressed. I know what I should be doing and when I should be doing it, so I know if I’m slipping into late and can adjust accordingly. Working out my timings and getting up ten minutes earlier has made the biggest difference to my mornings and subsequently my children’s mornings.
This was a big one for me to get on board with, but it has helped so much. Previously, it just annoyed me that I need 15 minutes to get the children ready to leave the house. I would try and clear away the breakfast things, while simultaneously shouting at them that it was time to go and to get their shoes one, get their shoes on, GET THEIR SHOES ON NOW. Honestly, I still think it shouldn’t take 15 minutes of doing nothing else to get them out, but it does and once I just accepted that, things got a lot quieter in the house. At 8 o’clock I stop everything else and simply concentrate on getting myself and the children ready to leave. It takes that long to stop them playing, get shoes and coats on, grab bags and get everybody in the car and belted up. Your amount of time may be less (lucky you) or more (my sympathies) but whatever it is, stop fighting it and just allow time for it and don’t try to multi-task it.
Give yourself and them a break
Even if you do all this, there will be days where one, two or all of the children in your house are just difficult to get out. They will be immersed in their play or not happy to put a coat on or will remove the shoes that you’ve just put on them and you will find yourself wanting to shout. You will be thinking how hard you’ve tried and still you can’t make it work. Sometimes you may even shout. Firstly, breath, then think about how unusual those awful mornings are now. Shrug your shoulders and remember no-one is hurt or in danger and the worst that will happen is you may be a little later for school/work/nursery than you usually are. I bet in most cases, if you’re anything like me, you won’t even be actually late, just a little later than usual.
Calmer mornings have made such a difference to our family. I feel so much better and the children are actually easier and quicker to get out these days and because of the preparation that I have already done, if one of them is difficult, we usually have an extra five minutes for me to calmly coax them out of the house without histrionics. If shouty mornings are a regular thing in your house, I urge you to really look at your routine and I am convinced that you will see some easy changes you can make to improve things. If I can, anyone can.