Managing Morning Mayhem
Updated: Nov 14, 2019
Let’s face it. Weekday mornings are hard. Parents are heading off to work. Kids are scrambling towards school, daycare, or ready to accelerate the outdoor plans for the day but can’t find their shoes in "the pile" and indeed are not even wearing socks. Often, multiple kids need to be taken in numerous directions. And then, all the tasks that need to be accomplished beforehand like getting dressed, food on the breakfast plate and eaten, lunches packed, teeth brushed, and on and on. Welcome to morning mayhem! To quell my own family’s morning mayhem, I developed the following tools.
First, I always ask parents to consider what can be done the day before. One thing is packing lunches. Visualize those lunches ready and waiting in the fridge, the night before. However, in my home, I took this answer a step further. I taught my children to pack their own lunches. At the time I presented my two oldest kids with this new system, they were in 1st and 4th grade, respectively. I prepped foods that needed preparing (cutting up fruit, veggies, storing them on shelves in the refrigerator your kids can reach, etc.) and then the kids followed the steps outlined in the flowsheet below. Packing lunches became a new responsibility along with their other home chores starting in 1st grade. Here is a look at my “How to Pack Your Lunch” flow sheet for my kids. You can also download my sample on my files page or by clicking in the link here. I encourage you to use it as a jumping-off point and tailor one for your family that includes their favorite foods.
Second, make time for a morning connection. Often, as parents, we jump right into giving directions to our children without taking a few minutes to warm up our relationship with them. So I advise starting the day with hugs and kisses, a loving tone of voice, a short snuggle, a little wake-up song, or ritual to set a positive tone for the morning. Once your child feels that positive attention you are pouring into them, they are much more willing to follow your lead. Be sure to set the alarm a few minutes earlier. It might even mean you need to get up first to take care of your personal needs. However, try not to think of this as just one more thing you have to do every morning. This connection time will likely cut down on the amount of nagging, redirecting, and reminding in your family’s version of morning mayhem.
Third, create a morning routine check sheet for your kid if they struggle with time management, are anxious about the morning routine, and to encourage self-motivation. I made the routine check sheet shown below for my third child when she struggled to get through the morning routine. For her, the reason was difficulty in separating from me in the mornings. Providing her with a routine as a roadmap for what the morning flow looked like helped her stay focused on completing the morning tasks and put less focus on the separation part that came along with school. We only needed to use this for about a month, but it aided in getting us past a rough spot in our morning routine. You can also download my sample on my files page or by clicking in the link here.
I have recommended these three tips above to parents I’ve coached one-on-one, who have experienced similar morning challenges. I encourage you to create your morning routine with your children to see if it can help turn around your family’s morning mayhem. Ready, set, go!
You can find a link to my King 5 Weekend Morning News segment "Managing Morning Mayhem" here.