Feel like it should be the end of the day by the time you’re done with the morning routine and your kids are safely at school? You aren’t alone. A 2018 Kelloggs online survey including over 2 000 US-based parents of school-aged children, has revealed just how many extra hours moms and dads put in when they attempt to finish chores and get the kids ready for school, before they get to the office.
Results showed that parents do so much getting their kids ready for school every morning, it’s equivalent to an extra workday by the time Friday rolls around.
Details of the Kelloggs survey
The aim of the survey was to find out about families’ morning routines as well as their school-year resolutions, to determine exactly how many chores parents have to complete before work and school starts each day.
The results showed:
- The biggest challenge parents face in the morning is getting the kids out the door on time.
- Many parents do personal grooming on their way to work. 43% of women put on their make-up during the morning commute and 52% of men shave!
- Parents need to remind their kids at least twice to get dressed, brush their teeth, or put on their shoes.
- By the end of the school year, parents will have asked their kids to hurry up almost 540 times.
- More than half of parents resort to bribing their children to keep resolutions on track, offering time with electronics (39%), a new toy or game (38%), or extra time watching TV (33%) as a reward.
- On average, parents skip around two breakfasts a week because their children make them late, even though eight in 10 parents think breakfast is the most important meal of the day.
Tasks most parents complete every morning
The survey also showed that, on average, parents complete over 40 chores every morning. It’s no surprise then, that “burnout” has just been recognised by the World Health Organization as a legitimate medical syndrome. It’s defined as a condition of mental, emotional and physical exhaustion caused by prolonged and ongoing stress.
Here are some of the main tasks most parents do before work:
- Brushing teeth (both kids and parents)
- Getting dressed and brushing hair
- Making breakfast for everyone
- Making lunch for everyone
- Getting school bags ready for the day ahead
- Preparing for extra-mural activities (like packing soccer kit)
- Making beds
- Cleaning the kitchen (including wiping the counters after breakfast)
- Feeding the pets
- Writing a grocery list as well as a to-do list for the day
- Tidying up toys
- Finding misplaced items (like car keys, homework, shoes etc.)
How to streamline your morning routine
While some morning tasks are unavoidable, like brushing teeth and getting dressed for the day, many of these tasks can be made simpler by prepping and planning for the week ahead. If some of these morning challenges apply to you too, follow these tips to save yourself time and effort in the mornings.
Plan your meals ahead and take advantage of online shopping
On a Sunday, spend some time writing up a weekly menu for breakfasts, lunches and dinners. Then get as many groceries as you can for the week ahead. If you can’t get to the shops, use an online grocery delivery service such as One Cart.
One Cart is useful for busy families, because you get assigned your own personal shopper who will go to more than one store for you, (including Woolworths, Dis-Chem, Pick n’ Pay, Mr Pet and Food Lover’s Market) and get everything on your list. Groceries are delivered within two hours.
Use an app to help you compile to-do lists and set daily reminders
Rather than wasting time in the morning trying to remember everything for the day ahead, use an app such as Any.Do. It includes:
- A to-do-list feature
- A calendar
- A reminder alarm
- Collaborate on family meals with shared grocery lists
- A function to prioritise tasks for the day or week ahead, so you don’t have to think about it each morning.
“I use Any.Do every night before I go to bed to record everything for the week ahead. It helps me to prioritise tasks and remember important appointments.” – Sarah, mom of two.
Use positive reinforcement to get your kids going
According to research published in Early Childhood Education, positive reinforcement is the act of identifying and encouraging a behaviour with the hopes that these behaviours will increase.
Studies have shown that, most of the time, positive reinforcement works, because children love being seen, praised and accepted. Children have a natural desire to please their parents too, so try this approach next time you need to hurry in the mornings, rather than nagging or raising your voice.
It’s also a good idea to turn morning chores into a game – for instance, have a race to see who can brush teeth and put bags in the car first.
Prep lunches and school bags the night before
It sounds simple enough, right? This simple step could help you save up to 30 minutes in the mornings! “I normally make healthy snacks for my husband and son on weekends that store well, so that I can simply pop them into lunch boxes the night before, rather than rushing to make sandwiches in the mornings,” says stay-at-home mom, Michelle.
Here are a few snack/mini-meal ideas that you can store in the fridge for a few days:
- Spinach and cheese muffins
- Egg/tuna cups
- Homemade granola bars
- Overnight oats in a glass jar
Use an automated pet feeder
If you’re short on time in the mornings, an automated pet feeder could help you head out the door sooner, as feeding the pets is done for you, and one less chore to worry about.
Although it’s pricey, the PetSafe Healthy Pet Simply Feeder, R2 875, is ideal for busy families. It has an advanced digital timer and meal planner system which allows you to schedule meals in the correct portions for your pets, so they get fed the right portion of food at the right time.
It has a 24-cup capacity holder which allows you to schedule up to 12 meals at a time. There’s also a locking lid cover which not only keeps the food fresh, but also safe from spillages.
Tammy is a wife, mom and freelance writer with 15 years’ experience in the media industry. She specialises in general lifestyle topics related to health, wellness and parenting. Tammy has a passion for fitness and the great outdoors. If she’s not running around after her daughter, you’ll find her off the beaten track, running, hiking or riding her bike.