Getting ready and out of the house on time in the morning with kids can sometimes feel like an Olympic sport. There are many things to do, and there always seems to be at least one meltdown, especially when rushing the most.
Of course, there are no guarantees for parenting babies and toddlers and arriving anywhere on time. Luckily, a few hacks can help things run more smoothly in the morning. These guidelines can help you get closer to getting out of the house. Try these tools the next time you are facing a tantrum ten minutes (#iykyk) after the time you were set to arrive.
Prep the night before.
Yes, you’re exhausted after a long day, but you’ll be grateful that you did some prep work the night before. At the end of the night, you probably want to eat all the snacks you hid from your littles throughout the day and binge on your favorite show, or at least get some tasks done. But an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Prevent that rushed feeling in the morning, that extra ten minutes looking for a matching sock- have everything set out ahead of time. Pick out outfits down to the socks and belts and don’t forget your clothes. Pack all the bags. Have lunches and snacks sorted and placed in one area of the fridge. Tape a checklist to the door so you are face to face with a reminder; this way, you won’t forget anything on your way out.
- Talk to your child about what they can expect for the following day.
- Review the schedule and tell them about the morning routine.
- Show them where their clothes will be and where their lunch is in the fridge. Give them small jobs like taking their lunchbox out of the fridge and putting it in their bag. This will get them excited about taking part in the routine.
- Prep an easy breakfast that you can throw into the oven to reheat while you get ready. Or have yogurt, sliced veggies and fruits ready to grab and go.
Making a visual checklist for your child can also be helpful. Print out pictures representing the morning tasks that can serve as a reminder for them and they can check off items as they complete the task.
Make it fun with songs and contests.
Singing a song can make things more fun for kids and also help them remember the routine. Want to inspire more actual tooth brushing? Ask them how many brushes they can get in 30 seconds. Have you told your toddler to put on their shoes what feels like ten times already? Turn your frown upside down and sing it; you are more likely to get cooperation this way. Sing the next steps and the plans for the day, reminding them what to do and what they have to look forward to.
Pause when meltdowns happen.
It can be very frustrating when insisting your child eat their breakfast or wear weather-appropriate shoes they have a meltdown. You are most likely doing multiple things, trying to get out the door and making what seems to you a straightforward and logical request. But when rushing or simply doing a lot of things in a short time, kids can get overwhelmed or have a rough morning, just like we sometimes do. Taking the time to stop and empathize can mean the difference between a two-minute tantrum and your little one crying on the way to school. A hug and understanding can change everything.
Remember to take care of yourself as well; take 5 minutes before the kids are up and have a cup of tea. Do some stretching and take some deep breaths. Be patient with yourself if you don’t have everything perfectly prepared or if you end up being the one to have a mommy meltdown. It happens. Give yourself a break and keep going. Because we all deserve a little understanding.
Denise Nicole, aka @abrooklynbabe, is a birth and postpartum doula, wellness advocate and content creator. Her goal is to help people find sustainable and healthy habits for themselves and their families. Denise is very passionate about wellness for all, self-care and finding the perfect matcha. Denise is a mom of two.