Deal­ing with morn­ing ’tudes

How to get your kids out the door quickly and peace­fully

The Kids Post - - Kids Feature -

It’s that time of year we all love and hate. The thought of adding some rou­tine back into our lives is very at­trac­tive, but the hazy, lazy days of sum­mer have been pretty sweet and are tough to give up.

Face the back-to-school sea­son with a suc­cess­ful plan. Here are a few strate­gies that work in my busy house­hold. I have to get six kids out the door by 7:45 a.m., so I mean busi­ness in the morn­ing!

Set­ting up rou­tines kids will stick to

Tired of be­ing a nag in the morn­ing? Feel like a bro­ken record bark­ing out things such as “Don’t for­get your lunch!” and “Have you packed your home­work?” Stop the in­san­ity. Set up a sim­ple sys­tem that will get them out the door while keep­ing your frus­tra­tion lev­els down.

At our house, we have a “be­fore school plan,” which is a chart list­ing all of their morn­ing du­ties.

My kids mark off each duty as they com­plete it. If I see a child stand­ing in the mid­dle of the kitchen with a “deer in the head­lights” look, I don’t bark and ask them what they should be do­ing. I re­fer them to their “be­fore school plan.”

Train­ing your kids to­ward in­de­pen­dence is the best gift you can give your­self.

Or­ga­ni­za­tion be­gins and ends with you

Ev­ery­thing has a home. Each child has a cubby for their agen­das and home­work. There is noth­ing worse than run­ning around in the morn­ing try­ing to find gym shoes.

Avoid the chaos by des­ig­nat­ing a lo­ca­tion for all school and lunch sup­plies.

Do as much as hu­manly pos­si­ble the night be­fore — pack lunches, lay out school clothes and set the break­fast ta­ble.

If any­one in your house thinks chang­ing their mind about what to wear in the morn­ing is an op­tion, re­mind them it is NOT.

Stream­line lunch pack­ing with a lit­tle help from your kids

Freez­ing sand­wiches to use through­out the week or even mak­ing casseroles and soups on the week­end to throw into a Ther­mos is a favourite with my kid­dos.

Got your­self a lit­tle juice ad­dict? I say cut them off cold tur­key style. Wa­ter is the best drink for kids at school, and it’s eas­ier on the en­vi­ron­ment than the hun­dreds of lit­tle juice boxes you’d use in a year.

Get chil­dren to start mak­ing their own lunches or help with lunches as soon as you pos­si­bly can.

Save money and time by plan­ning ahead

Shop off-sea­son, clear out clos­ets to as­sess what can be handed down and, for goodness’ sake, la­bel all cloth­ing to make sure it comes home at the end of the school day.

There is noth­ing more hor­ri­fy­ing than the lost and found at el­e­men­tary schools! Par­ents spend a lot of money on clothes, uni­forms and school sup­plies. Make sure they don’t get lost.

Find your­self some helpers when it comes to home­work

Don’t feel like drag­ging a tod­dler and baby to the bus stop ev­ery morn­ing in the dead of win­ter so you can get your older kids on the bus? Yeah, me nei­ther.

See if an older kid who goes to the same bus stop is happy to do the morn­ing pickup and af­ter­noon drop-off for a cool $10 or $20 a week. “Bus bud­dies” are a good in­vest­ment for busy ma­mas.

An­other good in­vest­ment is a home­work buddy.

Home­work is of­ten a time of con­flict for par­ents and kids be­cause we are too darn emo­tion­ally at­tached — things heat up when we get frus­trated.

I have a high school stu­dent come to the house, and my kids love having some time with their big kid friend. Home­work is not some­thing any of us dread any­more!

So take com­fort in know­ing that with the right sup­port, rou­tine, tools and en­vi­ron­ment, you can say you’ve done your part in set­ting your kids up for suc­cess while also sav­ing your­self from back-to-school in­san­ity.

Avoid the early morn­ing grumps by lay­ing down a well-planned rou­tine

JULIE COLE Julie Cole is a blog­ger, co-founder of Ma­bel’s La­bels Inc. and a proud mom of six.

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