Do you know what time of the day is? Mornings. Especially around back-to-school time, when everyone is still fresh and excited for new beginnings. This is also the perfect time to start implementing a few simple steps into your life to make mornings an enjoyable time that has everyone arriving at their destinations on time and in pleasant ready to learn (or work) moods. In our home, mornings are a time of cheerful attitudes, snuggles, smiles, and family time. If your mornings are something different, it could be your routine…or lack there of…that is creating the issue.
Here are a few of the tricks to keep our home running smoothly during the school year and year round:
- Start lunch preparation right after you empty their lunch boxes in the afternoons. You can go on and pack the crackers, chips, cookies, and some fruits in their lunch boxes to save yourself valuable time in the morning. Plus if you pre-pack if the afternoons, you’ll be more likely to pack healthy items that may require a bit more preparation than the prepackaged items.
- Get up earlier. This is for everyone. By just setting your family’s alarm clocks for 15 minutes earlier than their regular wake-up time, it allows everyone time time to enjoy the family’s company without feeling rushed. If you’re the parent in charge of waking the children, I also recommend waking 15 minutes earlier than your family so you can at least chug one cup of coffee and maybe get a solitary minute to yourself before the race begins.
- Utilize the weekend. This one really takes up three steps; the weekends are like God’s way of giving you two days to prepare for the week. I try to spend some time each day catching up on any housework, laundry, and general house maintenance. I’ve found if we start the week with an organized and clean house, our mornings, and days in general, run smoother and are less stressful because we’re not constantly surrounded by clutter. Doing this makes it easier to to keep the home cleaned up and inviting all week.
- Use the weekends for meal prep. I know you’ve probably read this before, but it’s a huge help so it bears repeating: save yourself time and money, not to mention stress, by prepping as much food as possible over the weekend to help you prepare for the coming week. You can wash, cut and store vegetables and some fruits in individual baggies, cook and freeze all of the meat for the week, slice and store cheeses, and more to help you get ready for the coming week’s meals. One of my favorite things to do over the weekend is whip up a huge batch of my family’s favorite pancakes or waffles and then freeze the leftovers (with a piece of wax paper between each pancake or waffle) for a fast and easy breakfast. I find when I take the time to to do the prep on the weekends, I save myself a lot of time while offering my family much healthier meals than a box of cereal or an Eggo waffles.
- Use the weekend for style prep. I don’t know about you, but my kids have very particular styles. KG would describe hers as “street”, while KJ would simply shrug…it’s just her style…and while I don’t have to do much of it right now, there will come a time when I’ll need to scan their outfits for appropriateness. Right now, my biggest issues is their indecisiveness when it comes to what they want to wear, that’s why the girls and Jon choose their wardrobes for the week ahead on Sunday night. I feel like this is important for the girls to learn careful planning and the importance of looking ahead, that’s why it’s a good idea to remind them to think about the weather and what activities they’ll have coming up.
- Use music. Preferably of the upbeat and wordless variety. I’ve found that if I play an upbeat instrumental or fast tempo nature song, the girls get dressed and ready much faster and in a much more cheerful way. Songs with words are okay too, though I really do insist on the music being upbeat and fast tempo – it’s hard to be in a cheerful and ready-to-learn mood if you don’t give your brain something to wake it up with.
- Keep all other electronics off. This goes for you too, Mom & Dad. This is your time together as a family, spend it together. If you are privileged enough to do so, spend what little time you have together in the mornings talking about school, the upcoming week, their goals for the week, your goals for the week. It’s important to spend what time you have with your children engaged with them, truly giving them your attention without any distractions. The girls and I usually have between 15 & 20 minutes to spend together in the mornings after everyone is ready and it truly is the best part of my day. We’re all still so fresh from a good night’s sleep (yes, that tip should be a given…sleep is #1 most important!!) and haven’t had the stresses of the day fall on us yet, so we’re all very happy to be together.
As a morning person myself, mornings are naturally my favorite time of the day, there’s just something amazing about the smell of a new morning and new beginnings. You get to decide how your day will be and with these simple tips, your day can start smoothly and in the company of those you love.
What little tricks have you found that work to keep your homes running smoothly?