I don’t know about your house, but school has started here and with three students leaving at three different times, and two working parents with their own schedules, my house gets pretty crazy in the mornings.
Here are a few simple strategies for keeping the daily chaos to a minimum and getting everyone out the door without losing your mind.
- Don’t use the snooze. Get up the first time the alarm goes off. Don’t set it a half-hour early and hit the snooze button 3 or 4 times. You aren’t getting any more rest and you’ll end up more stressed. Set it for the time you need to get up and get up when it goes off. Put it across the room if you need help getting out of bed.
- Give each of your school-aged children alarm clocks and teach them how to use them. By high school (or earlier) your children should develop the habit of getting up on their own. Once they go away to college or move into their own place, this will be a critical skill. Don’t make them learn it the hard way.
- Have kids shower or bathe before bed at night instead of in the morning.
- Leave the TV off in the morning. Turn it on to check the morning weather if you live in a place where that is a planning factor, but then turn it off for a calmer, distraction-free environment.
- Make breakfast easy. Go with grab-and-go, especially with teens. Bagels, muffins, fruit, breakfast bars—all things kids –and parents—can eat on the run.
- Make your hot breakfasts ahead of time if you’re a hot-breakfast person. I make waffles or pancakes on the weekends and triple or quadruple the batch. All the leftovers get frozen on cookie sheets and then popped into plastic bags so everyone can grab them and heat them up in the toaster or microwave for a quick hot breakfast with no mess to clean up. Yes, you can also buy them pre-made and pre-frozen at the grocery store. Are you an oatmeal lover? You can buy the instant packets or make it in the Crockpot overnight. I love Kashi. I make it and freeze serving-size portions in muffin tins sprayed with non-stick cooking spray. Once frozen, I pop them all into a plastic bag and then pull them out one at a time to reheat in the microwave for a quick hot, healthy breakfast.
- Buy gas on the way home from work. Don’t leave it until the next morning when you’ll invariably be running late and stressed out.