12 top tips for smoother mornings

Posted on August 17th, 2012

Say goodbye to half-blow-dried hair, miss-matched socks and frantic kids. Follow these 12 top tips for smoother mornings.

Kick chaos out the front door with these simple, practical routines.

  1. Make sure your family is getting enough sleep. If your children complain of being tired during the day, make dinnertime earlier and get everyone to bed earlier.
  2. Pack nappy bags, snacks, lunchboxes and backpacks for extramural activities the night before.
  3. Create a dedicated space for notes from the teacher, and a special place for backpacks after school or daycare – this way you won’t have to rush around the next morning searching for PT clothes and costumes for ‘superhero’ day at school.
  4. Do you have chaotic mornings even though you already have a strategy in place? Make a list of what sets you back in the morning, like your toddler wanting to wear the same shorts or shirt every day, and buy two or three of the same items. If your little girl can’t find her Barbie to play with in the car before you leave, create a special spot where Barbie and her accessories are kept, so that you can find it when you’re rushing to get everyone to school.
  5. Try not to switch on the TV – it may distract your children from getting ready, and create even more chaos.
  6. If you have a nanny or au pair helping out in the mornings, make sure she’s properly instructed as to your exact needs. Decide which chore takes the longest and which creates the most chaos, and ask her to help with that. Some helpers take care of breakfast and pack school lunches, while others are great at getting children dressed and coaxing them to brush their hair and teeth, while mom gets ready. If you have this kind of support, you’re very fortunate. If you don’t, here are some tips from other moms who make mornings work like a well-oiled machine:
  7. “My hubby is a lifesaver – he makes coffee for us, and packs the children’s lunches every morning. My nanny arrives at 6:30am, so she takes over from me with my nine-month-old, so I have enough time to get myself up and ready.” – Noelene Moonsamy
  8. “I get up a bit earlier, which helps, but my mornings are still a little stressful now and then. Toddlers are unpredictable – some days my little boy wants breakfast at 6:30am!” – Talita Praim
  9. “The trick to beating the morning rush is factoring in time to take care of all the little mishaps. I get out of bed the moment my alarm goes off. It’s tough not to hit the snooze button, but I tell myself that the stress of running late isn’t worth it. I follow the same routine every day and find that if I stick to this, the family is more likely to fall in line. I try to have breakfast prepared, my hair and make-up done, and all my paraphernalia ready to go before I wake the children. On the days when all runs smoothly, I can enjoy the extra time with my babies before I get dressed and leave for work.” – Sharon Tathmey
  10. “A three-year-old has an uncanny ability to thwart any plans or preparation. So in our house, we wing it and hope for the best.” – Nicki Dadic
  11. “I pack lunches the night before, Gladwrap them, and keep them in an airtight container. I get everyone’s clothes ready for the next day, and make sure that the kitchen is clean, and there are no dirty clothes lying around. I put out the cereal bowls and everything else needed for breakfast, and I pack the schoolbags as well. Then I wake up early in the morning for my daily devotion (5:15am), take a nice relaxing bath, and get everything done on time, so that whatever happens when the kids wake up at 6:30am, I’m ready for it.” – Shannon Samson
  12. “Breakfast is our biggest challenge, so I bake healthy breakfast muffins on the weekends and stock a healthy meal replacement shake that my kiddies love. I then give them each a piece of fruit to eat in the car on the way to daycare. This means that they’ve had a healthy breakfast without the fuss and drama of trying to coax them to eat.” – Caroline Dickson