Mornings can be extremely chaotic for a family with several kids. Not only do you have to prepare breakfast for them, yourself if you remember, you also have to make sure the kids are ready and dressed for school, that their packed lunches are made, and that your partner is up and helping you with the morning rush before they get changed for work as well. Scrub that, it’s every man for himself. If I’ve had a rough night with a bed invasion I need all the help I can get. It can be a hectic time of the day and it usually sets the tone for the next few hours; a successful morning makes a successful day so they say, and if it’s been stressful and rushed, it can take me a while to unwind.
To give you a much-needed hand, here are four essential morning hacks that you can add to your routine for a quick boost of motivation, time and energy. With my eldest now in his fourth year of school, I’ve just about worked out how to get them out of the door and into the school/ nursery gates on time… most of the time. Sometimes I even have breakfast and brush my teeth too.
Prepare uniforms and outfits in advance
The last thing you want to do in the morning is to spend too much time picking something to wear or trying to find where your child’s school uniform is. The best way to get around this is to simply prepare it the night before. When I remember to do it, it works out great. Especially once they’re old enough to get dressed themselves (around 5 years old). You can also benefit from this by picking out everything from your underwear to accessories and socks. If you get your clothes ready and waiting for you when you wake up, then you’ll have a much easier time slipping everything on while you’re still drowsy and you can have a fresh start to the day by saving at least fifteen precious minutes of your morning. It also helps with that last minute panic of a dirty t shirt or missing PE kit.
Turn off the snooze function on your alarm
Work with me on this. I know it’s a safety measure, but all it does is teach you bad morning habits. Snoozing for an extra five or ten minutes isn’t going to give you a boost of energy—it’s just going to make you even more tired and help you waste time. The first thing you should do when you hear your alarm is throw off the duvet and get out of bed, not shut your eyes again and hit the snooze button. I’ll let you try that one and report back to me.
Cook meals in advance
Unless your morning consists of cereal and toast, you’ll want to prepare your breakfast meals the night before to save at least another twenty minutes on your morning routine. Some things such as cereal and coffee obviously can’t be prepared in advance. Soggy cereal isn’t going to make anyone happy, but you can pour the cereal into bowls and wrap them in a bit of film so that when the morning comes, all you need to do is unwrap them and pour milk in. You can also get pre-ground coffee beans online at Spiller & Tait if you want a delicious cup of coffee in the morning that isn’t instant. A great tip is to turn on the coffee machine as soon as you wake up to let it brew while you do other things. Similarly, make as much of the packed lunch the day before. You could also meal prep the lunches for the week (apart from the sandwiches), even grouping together the drinks, crisps and snack together in sandwich bags so you can grab and go each morning is a real help. If they’re sick of sandwiches, take a look at my Pinterest board for children’s lunchbox ideas.
If you have a busy house, then you need to set up different times for people to use the bathroom. Even if you have multiple bathrooms, that may not be enough for your family to quickly do their business and get out without waiting for each other. Set yourself as the first person to use the bathroom, then set up a queue so that everyone else knows when it’s their turn. You don’t have to stick to it as a tight rule, but it does help reduce the amount of time you spend knocking on the bathroom door waiting for someone to be finished. Other ways to do it are if someone’s waiting for the toilet, they brush their teeth and vice versa.
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