It’s early morning, the kids are awake and yelling to get your attention. You stumble out of bed, grumpy and mad. ‘Why did they have to wake me up so early in the morning? Are they eating candy for breakfast?!” You hurry to get everyone dressed, fed and out the door so they make it to school on time.
That was me not too long ago.
Oh, the stress of the morning! And when you have early risers like I do it feels like there is nothing you can do to get them to sleep a little longer or have a less stressful morning. It was so hard to get C to do anything! He has a hard time following 2 and 3 step directions. I felt like I needed to tell him 10 times to do 1 thing!
Something had to change!
I began looking for ways to make my mornings easier. And I wanted to make C’s morning easier. I’m sure he didn’t like me yelling and nagging him every day!
First I talked to his BCBA (Board Certified Behavioral Analyst. An individual who is trained to provide and supervise behavior analysis.) How can I make it easier for C? We tried a couple of things and finally came up with a visual schedule that works for him. He sees what he needs to do and does it. If he’s getting behind all I have to do is tell him “have you looked at your schedule? What is still left to do?” I talk about C’s visual schedule and how it fits into his reward system in an earlier post.
I knew I had to change my morning routine as well. I started waking up earlier than the kids (at least I try). I take some time for myself to get myself ready for the day. I write about it here.
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I think now we have things figured out for the most part. Our mornings are much easier now. You can have an easier morning too! Just follow the steps I outline below. They won’t make your mornings perfect but they will make them easier.
5 Step Morning Routine
1. Start the night before
You can do as much or as little as you want the night before. I always lay out the kids clothes the night before on the top of their drawers where they can see them. If they get up they can change into their clothes right away if they want.
You can even get lunches ready. Make the sandwiches and get together the snacks. Put them in the fridge for easy access.
Make sure all the homework, folders, binders and books are all ready to go. If I remember I even put the backpack right next to the door so we just grab it on the way out.
2. Make some time for yourself
This one is so important!
I learned this about myself. If I slept until the kids woke me up I ended up grumpy and mad. I now try to wake up earlier than the kids (hard to do when kids get up at 5 am). I am still working on my exact morning routine but there are a few things I like to do each morning no matter what.
I make sure that I pray. I thank God for everything. I ask that he help me have a great day, and pray for the kids and my husband.
I read scripture. I am currently on a plan to read the Bible in one year. I’m a few day’s behind but I’m trying!
I check my email! I use to check my email throughout the day. But I could never concentrate and sometimes I would forget what emails I have to reply to. Now I check it once in the morning and then usually not until late at night or sometime not until the next day. It’s so freeing! And my inbox is under control. I highly recommend checking your emails at a scheduled time of day.
When I take some time for myself in the morning I find that I’m a much better and calmer mom.
3. Have a plan of action
By this I mean make sure you know what needs to be done in the morning. If you’re a list maker like me, make a list! A to-do list for the morning. Or just get it sorted out in your head. What are you making for breakfast? Just have a rough idea. Will you have a lot of time and can relax and make pancakes (like on a Saturday or a day when you’re up earlier than usual)? Or you need something quick and make quick oatmeal? Here are some breakfast ideas.
Another example is, I know that Tuesday’s and Thursday’s both C and T have school. I know that those days are a little tougher since I need to make sure T is all ready to go as well. I tend to get them both doing the same thing at the same time. They get dressed together, eat at the same time, brush teeth etc.
I still struggle with T a little since he’s just 4 and can’t always keep track of his shoes or where he left his jacket. Sometimes we’re scrambling in the morning because he lost one thing or another.
Or is it just my 4 year old?
4. Have a Visual Schedule
This one has been a lifesaver! I made my own DIY visual schedule for C. One for the morning and one for after school. We use the morning one much more often. This way C is independent and know’s what he needs to do. Since we implemented the visual schedule there is not much less yelling from me and less frustration from him.
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5. Be flexible
I think I’m putting this step in for myself more than anyone else. I struggle with things not going perfectly in the mornings. I need to be more flexible. Maybe you do to?
Kids are unpredictable. There are mornings they are grumpy and uncooperative. Or mama didn’t get her coffee yet. Maybe your ASD (autism spectrum disorder) and ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) kid is jumping off walls and you can’t get them to calm down enough to look at their visual schedule.
I confess we have forgotten shoes more than once and only remembered when we got to the school already. (Maybe I need a routine for shoes?)
Let it go mom and go with the flow. Take a breath and regroup. You got this!
And now I’ll give you a bonus Mom Hack. This one is brought to you by a couple of my mom friends. I think I will steal this one.
Bonus mom hack
6. Get the kids in the car then finish up
Get the kids inside the car (make sure they are strapped in and safe in a garage) and get anything else done that you needs to be done such as put on clothes, visit the bathroom, grab last-minute things, finish up makeup.
These 6 steps will help make your mornings easier. Start the night before, make sure you make time for yourself, have a plan of action, use a visual schedule, be flexible and sometimes get things done while kids wait in the car. You got this mama!
Do you have a morning mom hack that helps you have an easier morning?