I have everything prepared the evening before. Clothes are laid out, lunches packed, backpack ready to go, but still struggle to make it out the door on time. I noticed in the mornings that my patience runs a little thin and is always the most hectic part of my day. As I’m doing my hair and make-up, I am shouting to my daughter, “Time to get dressed” only to look out into the living room with her still in her pajama’s 5 minutes later. I walk up to her and look her in the eyes and say, “You need to get dressed, I asked you 10 minutes ago” (I don’t know why I always tack on more time then it really is). She looks at me and says, “Oh, time to get dressed.” As she’s getting ready and I proceed to finish up and get dressed myself, only to find another 5 minutes later, my 6-year-old daughter is only wearing pants. I say again, “Get Dressed…. PLEASE” and rush to my room to get my things and get ready to hopefully run out the door soon! Still, only wearing pants, I ask my daughter, trying to remain calm, “Why aren’t you dressed?” Her response, “This shirt is itchy.” I think to myself, “Are you kidding me, another itchy shirt which you have worn before without complaint. Yesterday, the socks were all wrong and the day before the tag was bothersome; this wardrobe malfunction vicious cycle has got to stop. We go to her closet and try to find a shirt that does not itch (which out of 40 plus shirts we’re down to 3). My heart is racing as I look at the clock, I brush her hair in record speed time and run out the door chanting, “GO, GO, GO, Move it, move it . . . we’re going to be late!” We sprint to the car in hopes to not get another tardy (We have only been tardy once and I don’t plan on doing it again…I don’t like to be late for anything!). I feel all the stress in my body and feeling dreadful that this is how we start the day. As we’re driving to school, we talk about what we need to do in the morning to not be late. We come up with a few plans and will try better tomorrow. The next morning, I wake up only to find the coffee pot over flowing, I let the dog out and she won’t stop barking at the neighbors, and while my daughter is eating breakfast, a big milk spill occurs. This was supposed to be the start of a non-chaotic morning. But overall, were not running late . . . yet!
So far, so good, everyone is dressed and we’re on time without a moment to spare. Seconds before we need to walk out the door my daughter says, “I forgot my glasses.” Ok, I take a deep breath and say, “Where are they?” Her response, “I’m not sure.” So we search the house and find the glasses in the last place we look (of course) on the bathroom counter. Now, we’re going to be late again. The chant begins, “Let’s go, move it, put your shoes on in the car . . . no time, no time!!!” Again, feeling awful for her and myself that our morning was so frantic; then and there I realized that I needed to make a huge change in our morning routine and I was now going to be proactive . . . enough is enough! That evening, my daughter and I made a morning routine schedule. Visuals are best, so rather than me telling her to get dressed, I can walk up to her and say, “Check the schedule.” Getting dressed was on the top of the list, so if we have wardrobe troubles we will handle it in the beginning of our schedule rather than before we need to walk out the door. I wanted to be sure we had extra time, so we now wake up 10 minutes earlier, which has made a big difference! Lastly, I have learned that if I want to get my child’s attention I need to make a connection. Therefore, instead of shouting from one room to another, I walk up to her and talk to her face to face. I added a moment to the schedule to hug her each day before we get ready and walk out the door. Since we made these simple changes, we now start the day off on the right foot. It is very pleasant to not rush in the morning and to see my daughter’s smiling, happy face while we drive to school instead of the grumpy one!
Here is a wonderful website that has many visual schedules and other tools you can use at home and in school: http://setbc.org/pictureset/
It is easy to make your own schedules by using photography or artwork. Children love to help in the process.
What do your mornings look like? Any morning routine tips that work for you and your family?