Here is some valuable morning routine advice from guest contributor, Oana Hogrefe. She’s a married mom of two children who runs an Atlanta photography business and regularly contributes to local charities.
The wise Greek have this saying, ‘speude bradeos’ – later embraced by Roman emperors as ‘festina lente’. I grew up hearing the Latin version as well as its Romanian translation often, as an incentive to move swiftly through those times in your life that require speedy progress, while at the same time remaining focused and deliberate.
As a parent, the morning routine is often mentioned as one of the most stressful times of the day. This is unfortunate, as it can set up the tone for the remaining hours, both for parents and for children. It’s easy to get frustrated, as we are often running on too little sleep and trying to meet strict timeframes (especially with school-aged children).
My advice to you, and what has been working relatively well for us (while I don’t claim expert status on the topic by any means), is to match the time available with the number of necessary morning steps to readiness. You can do this by waking everyone earlier or, as it’s the case at our house, redefining what steps are essential for you. Then work back from out-the-door time, and have certain realistic milestones in mind for when the kids need to be awake, breakfast completed, cleaning and clothing done, etc.
As much as possible, save time and stress by doing what can be done the night before.
- Preparing (or at least planning) the lunches.
- Having the breakfast partially ready. Having taken the bath or shower in the evening rather than morning.
- Choosing next day’s clothes. Our son, in fact, often will go to bed in tomorrow’s clean attire: why not? We don’t need ironed and starched uniforms, thankfully, so his comfy t-shirts and shorts will not be ruined, and he has one fewer step to worry about. Our daughter however loves her princess nightgown (which she named “Priscilla”), so she wears it to bed, and gets dressed in the morning, which suits her tempo and personality just fine.
To me, it’s most important to have everyone begin their day feeling content and ready. Reconsidering what is truly important for your family, and reprioritizing accordingly, may help bring some harmony to what is too often becoming a frazzled, conflict-prone start of the day.
Morning and night are sensitive transition times, when avoiding arguments and power struggles, excessive direction-giving and irritated tones is particularly important. Simplifying the routine and paying attention to the quality of the interactions with the child, adding one extra hug or snuggle, a few well chosen words of encouragement and love can go a long way towards how both you and the children navigate the day ahead!