Coping with the morning rush
Being organised in the morning can help minimise the stress of the morning rush. Whether you are a new parent or juggling getting your children to childcare and heading off to work, you are certainly not alone in your situation. Every family can struggle with the challenges created by starting a new day and the daily commitments they have to meet.
It is the parents who set the tone in the morning. The truth is, if mom or dad are stressed out, anxious or disorganised, then the children pick up on that too. If you model positive behaviour, your little ones will pick up on that very quickly and do the same.
By setting the tone for the morning rush as a positive and focused one, your child is likely to feel more secure and settled and ready for the day ahead. To tackle the morning rush effectively you need to:
Whether you are parenting a newborn or dealing with the school run it is useful to have a schedule. During the morning rush you may not necessarily be at the top of your game, so having a schedule gives you something to look at and a structure to follow.
You may want to record your schedule on the family calendar or print out a hard copy and leave it on the fridge so everyone can see it. Regardless of the strategy you use, make sure it is something everyone has easy access to. That way, no one can say they weren’t aware of what was organised for them.
- Meals – Plan the meals for the week ahead and have it written on your schedule. That way you can pull the meat out of the freezer to defrost it or check the fridge to make sure you have the ingredients you need for preparing dinner.
- Family map – Have a chart that maps out where family members are at certain times of day. If you are at work and your little one is at day-care it is helpful for other family members to know that as well.
- Appointments – whether it is a birthday party or an interview, make sure you write it down in the schedule for the week ahead. In the morning rush the present can be easily be accidentally left at home, or the important preparation notes forgotten. By placing them in the schedule then you reduce the likelihood of this happening.
Before attending to the needs of others, you need to organise yourself first of all. In the morning rush the demands of your little ones means there will be very little time or opportunity to tend to your own needs. You need to ensure you’ve mapped out what you’re doing the night before. While you may have to rush through getting yourself ready you’ll find it far easier if you have everything you need for the day ahead close at hand.
Before you head to bed each night, try to ensure you’ve done the following things for yourself:
- Plan your clothes for the next morning.
- Lay them out in the order you are put them on (this can save valuable time).
- Leave your shoes and keys by the front door.
- If you are headed out the front door in the morning with your little one, then make sure their bag is packed with everything they will need for the next day. This includes nappies and a change of clothes.
- Make sure that your little ones do the challenging tasks first. This includes eating breakfast, brushing their teeth and getting dressed.
- If your little one is older, have a visual chart they can use to check off their chores as they do them.
- Do not allow televisions to be switched on until the chores have been completed.
- Avoid the use of electronic devices until you and the children are ready for the day ahead. Skip checking the emails and voice messages until you’ve done what you need to do. It is very easy to get distracted and lose valuable time during the morning rush by doing so.
The truth is, when we throw children into the mix, it is easy for the best laid plans to go astray. This is perfectly normal. A schedule and being organised means that you’re less likely to struggle during the morning rush. However, if your little one is unwell or has slept badly the night before, then sometimes it can be difficult to keep to the schedule.
The key here is to be flexible and have a back-up plan if possible. If your little one has spattered food on your work clothes just as you head out the door, make sure you’ve got an “emergency outfit” that you can change into if needed. If they are unwell, you may need to change or cancel your plans for the day ahead.
You cannot plan for all emergencies, but just by being organised you will find, when crises occur, you’ll be able to cope far better with them. You will also find that everyone benefits by implementing a schedule and some organisation into your morning. The morning rush should become far more manageable as a result.