Turn off the alarm, shower, make the coffee and head to work. Remember those days? Of all the beautiful things our kids have added to our lives, getting out the door on time is NOT one of them. In my case, you’d think I was asking for a blood sacrifice when I ask my 5 year old to put on his shoes for the 10th time.
More than anything, I hate to feel like I’m constantly rushing my kid. But our world operates on the basis of time and so we might feel like that is all we are doing: Get up, get on your clothes, brush your teeth, have you eaten breakfast?, where are your shoes?, do you have your backpack?, wait – your shoes are WHERE?
With my son entering Kindergarten this fall, I’ve decided to streamline our morning process as much as possible. Here are a few things I’ve recommended to students and their parents over the years to help them be on time for school:
1. Clean the Clutter. Let’s take an hour or so and go through the closets. What’s too small? What does he hate to wear in the first place? That’s gone. Giveaway pile. Do it now before school starts. Eliminating the extra will shave off time and it doesn’t only apply to clothes. What makeup has been sitting in your bag for three years, unused? It’s taking up space and extra time each time you have to dig past it for something else. Gotta go.
2. Checklists. I’ve made this chalkboard list that my son can go through every morning (don’t be jealous of my artristry). Keep your list simple and use pictures if your child isn’t old enough to read. Once my son checks these three things off the list, he knows he’s ready for school. And, yes, I realize the third picture should probably come before the second. Sorry, I got a little excited.
3. Pick out clothes the night before. Let your child be a part of the process. Lay those clothes out for him/her. And just to avoid more madness, the rule is that you cannot change your mind the next morning unless the weather has unexpectedly changed.
4. Backpack by the door. This is another task for the night before. All assignments, supplies and mommy notes can be packed up before bed and placed by the door you leave each morning.
Now if you have a child like mine who can get lost in the color of a bug’s wings, you may have to switch to def-con 5: The Timer. This can be a simple kitchen timer or you can find one with bells, whistles and lights like this one here. Setting a timer gives a child a visual. As they see the time remaining getting smaller, they feel a sense of urgency to beat it.
Our fall mornings won’t be perfect. But I intend on there being less nagging and more moving. What tricks have worked for you? We would love to hear about them in your comments below!