They say that parenting is the hardest job in the world with the least recognition and no annual leave. So why not treat it that way?
Although it’s not a role whereby you can clock in 9 to 5 and expect a Christmas bonus, there are a few workplace learnings you can be applied to parenthood.
Working as a team, planning ahead and keeping to a routine are all good workplace skills that can be transferred to parenting.
Routine is key when it comes to getting the job done, whether that’s checking your emails first thing or clearing your workspace at the end of the day, and the same can be said for busy family mornings.
Here are our top tips on how to master the morning routine.
Outlining Your Ideal Routine
First things first, consider what you need to achieve each day and outline your ideal routine. We’re not naïve enough to think the plan will go smoothly each day but by implementing some sort of schedule you’ll help to reduce the chaos and therefore stress each morning.
Map Out Your Weekly Overview
This may differ day by day, week by week, and will change as your child’s schedule does (from playgroups to school for example).
However, by mapping out your plans, anything you need to do and a rough outline of how the week will look, you’ll be able to see any ad-hoc changes such as dentist appointments or school trips and be able to factor them into your busy morning routine.
Be sure to have any paperwork signed, trip money paid and aim to be as organised as possible as early as possible. A weekly overview can also help as a reminder for the kids to see what’s coming up so they’re not too thrown by a change of plans.
The overview can then be reviewed each night to ensure you’re fully prepared for the following day.
The Night Before
It may be the last thing you want to do after a day that already feels never-ending, but there are a few ‘quick wins’ you can complete the night before to help with the morning routine
Lay Out Clothes For The Next Day
This could be just for yourself or your kids too, whether that’s uniforms or weather appropriate outfits, to keep things super organised. When laying out clothes, consult the weekly overview to ensure they’re suitable for the activities planned the following day.
Planning outfits could be a fun task to get your kids involved in. Not only will this allow them to choose their favourite get-ups, but it will also teach them how to be independent and organised.
Whether this is actually preparing food the night before, such as chopping up fruit or baking healthy breakfast muffins, or preplanning a breakfast menu for the family, meal prep will make sure everyone starts the day right with full tummies.
Meal prep doesn’t need to be limited to just breakfast time. It’s likely your evenings will be full of homework, play, bath time and stories so consider preplanning dinners and preparing where you can.
Lost school shoes / bag / jumper. Missing keys / phone / purse. The list goes on. By creating designated areas for certain things, and ensuring they are put away in the right place the night before, will help reduce the chances of drama each morning.
The Morning Routine
As much as you can help your future self the night before, there’s only so much you can do in advance. This is where an efficient morning routine really comes into play.
Get Up First
The earlier the better. Although, in the grand scheme of all things beauty sleep, every little helps. Even just fifteen minutes before the chaos begins, take some time to get yourself up, shower and drinking a (warm!) coffee.
Get The Kids Involved
Consider creating Routine Charts so your kids know what they need to do each morning, in what order and (as they get older) by what time, to ensure smooth running.
You could also consider including them in some of your tasks, such as setting the table or pouring their own cereal. By getting them involved in breakfast you may find them more eager to eat the food in front of them and learn the importance of having responsibilities. I know this really works for my children.
If you’re struggling to get your kids excited at the idea of being involved in the morning tasks then consider making a game out of it. For example, set a timer for who can find their shoes or pack their lunch the quickest.
Consistency Is Key
A routine won’t establish itself overnight. If you’re looking to master those busy mornings then you’ll need to give your little ones time to adapt to a new routine and the best way to do this is to be as consistent as possible.
Of course, weekends and school holidays will inevitably bring a certain level of disruption so be prepared accordingly and work towards finding your way back to the morning routine in good time. It’s also important to praise good behaviour and compliment your little ones when they stick to the routine or do something well.
Relax & Do The Best You Can
Last but not least - our best bit of advice? Kids will be kids so you need to be flexible and stay calm. Also, what works for some won’t necessarily work for others so think about what suits your family best. Kids will pick up on your mood and stress levels so staying calm and collected is essential.
Just know that you’re doing the best you can.