The balmy endless summer days of Christmas are fading, a new year is well and truly underway and the next big annual milestone – “Back To School” – is already upon us.
Now, I’m not one of those mothers who wishes the holidays away. Not.At.All. Rather, I love the slow pace of a home-day with my brood and the unpredictable freedom and blank canvas of a day without scheduled constraints
But perhaps that’s because I have a 1, 2 & 5 year old and the very thought of having to get them all up, ready and out the door by 8am on my own (as my entrepreneurial husband, all too frequently, travels the globe, building our future) can see me quivering in my boots and feeling totally and utterly overwhelmed.
This is where I aim to focus my energy onto my strengths as opposed to my weaknesses. My weaknesses may include being very tired, busy and running around solo after three very energetic little ones. But my strengths include organising and motivating myself towards getting a task done.
Systemised and energised, I can create the space I need every day to factor in and safe-guard against the mishaps. The lost socks, missing library book and occasional meltdown that are inevitable to occur if mornings are rushed and stressed.
My Top 5 Tips To Make Your Mornings Less Chaotic
- Use a clothing organiser system, such as those from Howards Storage World (RRP $33.95), to set out uniforms, clothes and other important items (accessories, activity requirements such as goggles, badges, etc) for the week. Everything from underwear up should be ready in these drawers and not only will it promote independence and learning for preschoolers, but it will also prevent the mad scramble to find clean and wrinkle-free uniforms at the last minute. If you don’t have a uniform for each day (My son is full-time this year but I only have three sets), start with Monday and replace as the laundry is done early in the week. Don’t forget to always put your regular weekly items straight back in there after use. For us this means martial arts uniforms, bathers, goggles and gymnastics shirts are always put straight back in, never into his chest of drawers. I also use these drawers to store ‘news’ items for school and any other important items my child may need for that day. The uses of a system like this are endless! You could even use these drawers to allocate weekly activities such as puzzles, etc if you wanted to.
- Set a baking day and always make double batches for the freezer. I like to bake at least one sweet and one savoury item every Sunday to be sure that I have a variety of healthy, ready-made food on hand for lunch boxes.
- Create an evening routine that sees you prepped for the next day. Include making up lunch boxes, filling the washing machine, clearing the dishes and kitchen bench, even select your own clothes and if possible, blow-dry your hair the night before. That’ll save you at least 20 minutes in the morning alone as well as prevent you rocking that ‘everyday is a joggers & bun day’ look for the next 10 weeks.
- Create routine for your kids so that you can be there to gently guide them through their daily habits, as opposed to chasing everyone going off in different directions. In our house that means waking up, getting straight into the bath, getting dressed, brushing hair and then sitting down for breakfast. After breakfast, they wipe their faces and hands, brush their teeth and then it’s free-play until it’s time to leave. The predictability of a morning routine not only prevents chaos and meltdowns but also promotes and empowers independence from a very young age.
- Be ready 10 minutes before you have to leave. No mum I know can leave ‘on-time’ unless they are ready long before their departure deadline. Bags by the door, sunblock on, lunches in the bags, drink bottles filled…by 7.50am at the latest. The only thing left to do is put shoes on as we walk out of the door. 9 times out of 10, I can end up making my 8am departure as planned. And that means that it’s only once a fortnight that I run screaming down the driveway, frantically buckling everyone in and doing a head-count on the run. But I’m working on it!
Happy 2015 and to all the littlies starting off on a new adventure – have a wonderful journey and enjoy all that your new classroom has to offer!