How to Create an Easier ‘Morning Rush Hour’
Remember when “morning rush hour” just referred to traffic jams? Now that you’re a parent, it means getting out the door on time in the morning, especially when you need to get to daycare drop-off before work. There’s not much you can do about traffic, but there are several things you can do to create an efficient morning routine for your child.
Make a Checklist
Make a list of things you need to do in the mornings and check them off as you complete each task. Don’t make your list a mile long. Just focus on the items you really can’t forget. Having everything in writing ensures you won’t forget anything important, and you can relax knowing you have a fail-safe. Lists are easy to adjust as children grow.
Get Organized the Night Before
If you can accomplish a few items on your morning routine checklist the night before, you’ll have a much easier morning. Tasks you can easily do the night before include choosing an outfit for your child to wear, packing blankets, and preparing lunch and snacks.
Make night time routine a family affair! Give your toddler two options for an outfit, or let them pick between a muffin or cereal for breakfast. They’ll love making decisions, and it’s a great way to encourage independence.
Give Your Child Some Parent Time
Your morning routine should include a few minutes just to be with your little one. Child psychologists recommend a little snuggle and one-on-one attention to reconnect with you in the mornings. If you find that your child is trying to get your attention in the mornings, this extra time together can be beneficial. You and your child will appreciate that together time.
Give Yourself Some Time, Too
Get up 15 minutes earlier than usual and use that time for yourself. Meditate, play music, exercise, or sip coffee—whatever you think will help you de-stress and prepare for the day. Remember that if you’re stressed, your child will feel stressed too.
Pad Your Routine
Give yourself some room in the morning schedule. Use the time you save by doing things the night before to pad your morning routine. Then you won’t have to stress over mishaps, such as spills or extra diaper changes, which always seem to happen when you’re in a rush.
Keep Breakfast Simple
Save pancakes and eggs for the weekends when you have more time. There is nothing wrong with serving cereal, yogurt, fruit, or any food that is quick and easy. Put plates, bowls, and utensils on the counter before and make morning snacks accessible to toddlers who are old enough to have options in the morning.
Staying calm prior to getting out the door is important to staying on track in the mornings. Experts say that children dawdle in response to a parent’s rushing and anxiety. If you notice this happening, make eye contact, touch your child’s arm, and reconnect. A positive attitude makes the mornings less stressful for everyone.
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