Back to School means getting back to one of the most dreaded rituals of parenthood, The Out-the-Door Scramble. We all could use a little help when it comes to Cutting the Chaos in the morning. So I surveyed some veterans moms ( Thank you, Chaos Crew!) about how they make the AM routine stress-free and whine-free. You moms have solutions. Here’s how their advice broke down:
For the whole family:
Do everything, and we mean everything, you can the night before Lunches in the fridge. Backpacks by the front door. Special equipment for afterschool activities ready in their own separate bags. Sheryl, a working mom of one tween in Miami, also include cell phones, car keys and briefcases on the list so Mom and Dad aren’t holding up the morning carpool.
No Television of Electronics in the morning Another universal suggestion that I’ve used successfully at my house. Keep the TV off and the video games for afterschool. There is no need to battle for the kids time and attention with SpongeBob.
For younger kids:
Use a Soundtrack as Motivation Dana, a mortgage banker in Dallas with two school aged kids, created a get-up-and-get-going soundtrack that is exactly as long as the kids’ morning routine. Dana advises, “Play it every morning so the kids know by the time they hear “Boom Boom Pow” they should be brushing teeth, and by the time they hear “Baby Baby” they should be heading downstairs, etc. It’s a lot easier than the constant “10 more minutes” or “Seriously, 5 more minutes!!!”
Use a Photo Prompts This suggestion came from Nicole, a mother of two who dreaded the morning routine with her second child, a slowpoke. So she created a photo book of all the tasks her kindergartener had to accomplish before school. Nicole writes, “We did a walk through of the entire morning routine. Wash hands, brush teeth, get dressed, etc. Then, I put each photo on laminated paper in sequential order, like a book. She used the photo book for most of Kindergarten and at the beginning of 1st grade too.”
For older kids
Put the responsibility on them Make sure your tweens and teens understand that it is their responsibility to get themselves and their stuff out the door. Susan, a stay-at-home mom with 3 teen daughters instituted the “One Bailout Per Semester Rule.” Susan says, “If a homework assignment is forgotten or a shirt is “too scratchy”, I will only run up to the school with a ’save’ one time per semester. It takes pressure off of the kids if they do make a mistake, because everyone is human. Plus, it reinforces the concept that my kids should be responsible for themselves.”
What tips to you have for getting out the door? Share them with us!
Embracing my Chaos, Lian
Related Back to School Posts!