Routine has never really been my forte. I am more than capable of getting ready on time, getting to my destinations early and going throughout my day, but as far as doing the same routine every day, I just can’t do it. I like to move things around and keep it new and fresh, but with kids in school now, this threw a huge wrench in the way my brain works. I had to get my stuff together and organized, for the sake of myself and the sanity of our family. Most mornings consisted of the kids getting up at the crack of dawn while my husband mosied out of bed not too long after and I slept as long as I could, trying to get every second of sleep I could. Once my son started first grade, we realized that this just wasn’t going to work. We were rushing out of the house, stressing out the kids and ourselves, and it just wasn’t working for us. So, we made some changes to our lifestyle and our morning routine to help get the family out the door and ready for the day.
Tip #1: Prepare the Night Before
This was a big one for us. We were rushing through the morning and stressing ourselves out trying to figure out what to wear, where it was and so on. I also had the bad habit of staying up way too late every single night, leaving me tired and lethargic in the morning when I had to wake up and get the kids ready. By going to bed earlier myself, making sure the kids go to bed at the same time every night, and by preparing the night before, we made our morning routine much smoother. We layout outfits for the next day, if they need to be ironed we do it that night when we have the time and energy. We get lunches or snacks ready and keep them in the fridge, find shoes and just gameplan for the day’s schedule in general. A little more communication and preparation can go a long way.
Tip #2: Visuals
Our eldest son is on the Autism spectrum, so we have spent the last few years working with visual guides to help him function throughout the day and cope with transitions. We stopped doing it as we felt he no longer needed it and quickly learned when school started back up that he did indeed need them. We also learned that not only did it help him, but our younger son as well, and us. Every kid can benefit from visual guides and checking items off a list. We have a guide on the wall that they can move from the “do” list to the completed list. This helps guide them in the morning and keep them in charge. Brush teeth – done, pack backpack – done, and so forth. It helps us to not forget a task, it helps them choose their path and stay organized, and gets us out of the house without stress and frustration. Here is an example of what ours looks like – visual guides.
These tips worked well for our family. You may need to add something or change a detail or two, but whatever works for you, hold onto it and keep those routines for the sake of your sanity.