Getting to school and work on time is the biggest challenge of working parents. No-one wants to get up early every day and we resist the morning pressure.. so do the children. But this is not a “time management” challenge. It’s not about fitting all to-dos in a short span of time between alarm clock and office. For me the challenge is finding a way to do what you enjoy more often including weekday mornings.
What I want from the morning is some positive time together when we are preparing for the day. In our family we have long adopted the morning routine basics: we already plan the day ahead, prepare the clothes and school bags in the evening, we do not watch cartoons or play games in the morning so there are little efficiencies to be achieved by optimizing time.
I want to focus this autumn mornings not only on getting there (school/work) on time but also on getting there in a good mood. I read multiple “how to” articles and all are about getting there on time some with very stringent methods.
I want to propose something different. It takes so long to get ready because no one wants to get ready. So time is stretched, like the children I hold to my pillow till the very last moment and then – only rushing through the morning helps.
I do not appreciate shortcuts like
- “15 minutes rush out of the door routines”
- Or “bowl of cereals” quick breakfast
- Or “getting everyone dressed in the evening” or other “rush and quick methods”
The solution would be – finding few moments that you can enjoy and that they can enjoy before leaving the house which would make you more willing to get up in the first place.
What I recommend to try for one week is this:
- Observe what makes the morning fun during weekend. Take 1 thing that you can apply to regular weekday. For my son it would be 15 minutes play with his cars before leaving the house, for me having a coffee with myself or short morning exercise.
- Try to have a normal breakfast at least once or twice a week. I lay the table for breakfast (few times a week, not every day) and I try to create some positive expectations of the day in the morning… it does not always work, but worth trying.
- Talk about fun things in the day ahead (playdate, gymnastics class, school trip)
- This will need an extra 15-20 min time, but you will enjoy it more and will feel much better when you finally get to work.
I read a metaphor recently of “waking up with a smile like you would on the first day of your vacation” and thought why can’t we have it a bit more often beyond vacation… because life is not only about “getting it done” but “how do you feel when it is getting done”.
Enjoy your mornings – start your positive morning routine tomorrow!