Sunday, August 7, 2011

Streamlining Your Mornings

With school coming up, mornings are about to get hectic around here.  Noah is starting 1st grade and Lydia will be entering preschool.  Where has the time gone?

Our summer mornings have been pretty scheduled, but always with the thought that we could just throw it all out and enjoy a lazy day at home.  But next week, we start back into the routine of school and with that, we’re looking for ways to streamline our morning craziness.  Here are just a few ideas to get us both started:

1.    Start the night before—Every successful morning routine I’ve ever had started the night before.  Things like musical instruments, homework, and backpacks can be so easily forgotten in the mad dash to the car.  Get yourself and your children in the routine of packing up the night before.  We try to have backpacks and shoes by the door, tomorrow’s clothes laid out on the dresser, and lunches started in the fridge.

2.    Check the calendar—The older my kids get, the busier they are.  So it’s important to keep and check a calendar where everyone has access to it.  This way, children can learn to be responsible for remembering violins for lessons, a water bottle for the field trip, or that grandma’s picking them up on Friday.  This will save you both time in your day and gas in your tank if you’re not making multiple trips to deliver forgotten items.

3.    Count backwards—Think about the time you have to get your kids to school and then count the time backwards for every minute you need to get ready.  Don’t forget to include time to make a last minute potty break and put on shoes.  And add an extra 15 min for incidentals.  This is the time your kids need to get out of bed.  No later.

4.    Think about what’s really important in your morning—Can’t live without your morning cup of coffee?  Prep it the night before.  Have a morning meeting? Make sure to schedule in time for a shower.  For each of us, there will be different priorities in our morning routine.  Since I head straight to the gym after drop off, a morning shower isn’t a priority.  But packing the gym bag is.  Know what’s important to you and trim down your time.

5.    Stop to pray—One thing that’s become essential to our morning routine is prayer.  Yes, it seems counterproductive to add one more thing to the morning schedule.  But we’ve found that our family functions completely different between the mornings we play and those we don’t.  Taking that time to be together, take a deep breath, and turn our hearts toward God allows us to remember why we’re doing all this.  Morning prayer is a priority for us.

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