Updated: Aug 5, 2020
Today's post is for the Mama's who are sick and tired of fighting with their kids in the morning.
We are into the full swing of school. For my kids, the novelty has worn off, mornings are getting colder and darker. I have found that this means getting my kids out of bed, ready, and out the door is getting harder and harder.
Are your mornings filled with rushing, yelling, crying, and negotiating with your kids?
That used to be my house. I have three kids (2,5 & 9) my husband works late, so it is just me getting the kids ready in the morning, and yes, this does include getting myself ready for work too! I realized I did not want EVERY morning to start with fights and tears. I had to figure out a better way.
Here is how I created my Scream-Free Morning plan and a sample of what it looks like:
I took a few moments to envision my perfect dream school morning.
I could see myself already up and dressed, chores completed, and breakfast on the table. I am sipping a cup of coffee ready to great sleepy kids with a hug and kiss or waking them with a song. Since my chores finished, I can calmly help the children through their morning. Making sure they stay focused and on track.
I started to wonder what I could do differently to make this dream a reality.
I asked myself:
How does my attitude need to change? What areas of the mornings are the kids "trigger" points? What task are we doing in the morning, how much time do they take there any task that we are doing that we can do the night before?
I wrote out a Plan for a Scream-Free Morning:
Lunches packed and ready to go in the fridge
Backpacks packed with homework and library books
Weather checked with clothes and shoes laid out
Good night's rest! Bedtime is between 7:30-8:30 to be able to get the full recommended sleep
4:00 – Get up, gym and work on a passion project
5:30 – I get ready
6:00 – Do a load of laundry, water plants and feed the cat
6:15 – Make Coffee, hot chocolate and sippy cups start breakfast (oatmeal, waffles, bagels, bacon, sausages or eggs)
6:30 – Wake up the kids if they are not already up-see below with their/our routine
6:50 - Breakfast
7:00 - I give the kids a ten-minute warning as I clean up breakfast and make beds
7:10 - iPads turned off, shoes and jackets go on. Hugs and kisses to dad who just woke up
7:20 - Out the door for school and work
What each child is responsible for:
Nine Year Old – Grabs his clothes and gets dressed, brushed hair and teeth, puts his lunch in his backpack, and feeds the dogs. He then grabs his iPad and watches YouTube while he eats breakfast.
Five Year Old – Depending on that day's mood, I either help him get dressed or hang out with him as he gets dressed, or he will do it all on his own. But no matter what, it's the same routine as his brother. Get dressed, hair and teeth brushed, puts lunch in a backpack and then breakfast with the iPad. At this age, he is capable of doing all of the above, but gentle reminders and staying with him to keep his focus helps, PLUS its time we get to hang out and chit chat.
Two Year Old – I start the morning routine young! I believe that she is calmer because she knows what is going to happen next, I also think that as she gets older, it will be easier for her to do it on her own because she has been doing the same routine for so long. The same routine as the boys: get up, get dressed, brush hair, and teeth. Put snacks in the bag for preschool and breakfast with the iPad.
TIPS "Progress, not perfection."
Routine. The kids do the same routine every morning. Yes, sure, we may brush hair and teeth before we get dressed or get dressed in the living room instead of the bedroom. But they get up, get dressed, brush hair and teeth, lunch in a bag and have breakfast.
Getting up before the kids. If I get up at the same time, then we are all cranky and sleepy, and that is the perfect formula for a "bad" morning. Having a few moments to myself and enjoy at least one sip of coffee is quite magical .
Reminders. I give the kids a count down before we leave. I give them a 20-minute heads up, Alexa is set to go off 10 minutes before we leave to let the kids know that it is time to turn off their iPads and leave (this is my favorite trick, one it's automatic so even if I'm finishing making beds in another room the alarm will go off, second I'm not the "bad guy" for delivering the news that it is time to leave!). Plus, have you ever heard a 2 year old yell at Alexa, it's pretty cute.
Bad mornings. The morning I wrote this post, my son had a bad morning, like I went to pick him up, and he rag-dolled on me kind of morning. I only share this with you because:
Life happens to all of us
I realized that as frustrating as the situation was, I knew that the calm morning would return, that this is just a "bad" day that my son, for whatever five-year-old reason, did not want to get out of bed. Heck, who could blame him.