A Tear Free Morning, Tips that Help Keep the Kids Happy
We are not Morning People
We are not morning people and I am sure most people are not. I do believe that every 3 yr old must be though. My youngest bounds out of bed at some ridiculously early hour of the morning and has energy from the first moment on. My almost 5 yr old on the other hand would stay under the covers all day if he could, I can just picture the teenager in him.
I haven't always been at home during the day, in fact for the last 5 years I have been a full time working mom, getting both myself and the kids out the door at an obnoxiously early hour. Last school year we had to be out of the house by 6:15, after we moved we didn't have to leave until 7. Now that was sleeping in. I am going back to work soon so I need to keep in mind all of the things I had in place before to keep my sanity and have tear-less mornings.
Our Morning Routine
It is all about the night before
I like my kids to learn to be independent so depending on the age of the kids there are some tasks that they learn to do on their own and some I do until they can master it.
The Bucket of Clothes
Each of my kids has a bucket. I have had these for awhile, they were in my classroom years ago but I didn't need them at school anymore so they have found various uses around my house. The bucket includes everything that the child is planning on wearing the next day including the shoes (the shoe hunt in the mornings is my least favorite and most tearful experience before we started this). My 5 yr old picks out his clothes and my 3 yr old helps pick out his tshirt. The rule is that I get to pick out the 5yr olds clothes if he doesn't do it before bedtime. He knows that it is his job and that if he doesn't do it I get to select the clothes. This had helped our organization tremendously and cut back on the fights on what he gets to wear to school. I do have veto power but it doesn't ussually need to be invoked and if it does the conversation happens the night before not in the stress filled morning.
I try to get lunches ready in the evenings but it doesn't always happen. What helps no matter when I get the lunches ready it our lunch cabinet. It had all those lovely prepackaged items like fruit snack, juice, jello, pudding, granola bars, etc. It also contains various items that I has already packaged into small portions in either snack bags or Tupperware. The cabinet is one of my lower cabinets so that the boys can reach and help pack their lunches. I am trying to be more environmentally and economically friendly and cut down on my use of plastic bags. I am 80% of the way there, don't judge.
This still mostly falls into the category of mom at the moment but I am hoping to find some ways to get my oldest involved more in the making and getting breakfast ready. I try to keep it simple and healthy. Today we had quartered strawberries. I cut up the entire container when they asked for some, it only took a few extra moments and I put them into containers in the fridge so that I could throw some into lunches and some onto their plates this morning for breakfast.
We try to have a plan for breakfast the night before so that there isn't any discussion about it in the morning. This morning I wasn't planning on cereal but the 5yr old asked for it after he finished the rest of his food, it was an easy grab and there was no reason not to get it for him. He poured himself some and was happy. The kids ussually clean up their plates and cups after they are done, although I am not sure what happened this morning because there they sit on the table.
Allow Time for loading the Car
I always allow 5-10 minutes to load the car. In those early day of new babies you forget that it actually takes time to get from the house into the car before the car can start moving. Two kids in car seats takes time even when they are 100% cooperative which is rarely the case. Little man hates that he is still in a 5 point harness while his older brother is in the high back booster. He likes to fight me on it lately and I am hoping it is a passing phase because he has two more years in the car seat.
The Daddy Note
Right now Daddy leaves before the kids wake up most of the time. Once I go back to work and tax season is over we will all be up at the same time again. So on morning like today daddy leaves a note at the breakfast table for the kids. He tells them something we are going to do this week, to have a good day, listen to mommy, or something else that may be important that day. This has also been a great reading activity for my 5yr old who loves to decode some of the words and read what his note says.
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- A Kid's TV Remote
One of my favorite products, a children's preprogrammed TV remote, allowing the kids to only watch their TV channels.
The Kids Remote
I obviously need to get ready also and there is time for that even when my 3yr old is awake long before I thought he would be. The kids TV remote keeps little one watching cartoons and happy so I can grab a shower and dry my hair. I am unfortunately not one of those people than can shower at night and look great the next morning, believe me I have tried. Maybe you are that type of person in which case you have even more morning time than I.
Have a Happy Morning
These are just a few things that have taken the tears away and helped us have a happier morning. The kids have a set routine and know what comes next. Although I do allow some TV time in the morning my kids know that if it becomes a distraction and they don't follow through with their responsibilities that they will loose the TV in the morning. It has happened a few times but lately we are doing well, expect they fight over who gets to turn the TV off when it is time to go.