Good organization is the key to minimizing stress for anyone.
Single moms and dads are faced with the chaos life brings when raising children.
We have to face it: Life will have stresses and no matter the pre-planning, there will always be that proverbial wrench in the plan, so, a little pre-planning is a perfect antidote to total pandemonium.
Mornings are a particularly stressful time for parents.
The most important thing here is that mornings set the tone for the rest of the day so using some hints and tricks to minimize morning bedlam will inevitably set you up for less morning stress, and also set the tone for a more peaceful work and school day for everyone.
Start the night before. Create night-time routines that help make mornings run smoothly:
1. Make it part of the bedtime routine to pick out your children’s outfit for the next day:
- If they are old enough, have it be part of their routine. This takes the indecision out of getting dressed in the morning and will help keep everyone on time and minimize frustrations.
- It can be fun to create a “what I will wear today” spot in the room and decorate it with your children, then have them hang their outfit there each evening before bedtime prayers or story-time.
2. Pack backpacks and put them by the door:
- This help you avoid the last minute time-crunch as kids search for all they need for the day.
- It will begin teaching them pre-planning techniques and get them on their own organizational journey that will serve them well throughout their life.
3. Make everyone’s lunches:
- This too can be part of the nightly routine and you can make it fun!
- Kids can choose what they would like in their lunch (with your guidance) and the family can talk about the day to come while doing it.
- This also creates a space to teach them some food preparation techniques.
4. Get extra-curricular activity bags ready such as sports gear.
5. Do you have a timer on your coffee maker? Use it! There is nothing better than walking to the kitchen and not having to wait for that coveted brew!
6. Start using alarm clocks:
- This will teach your kids to be responsible for getting up and getting their morning routine going.
- There are fun clocks that will roll away from you so you have to get up to turn them off (Clocky), or others that might play their favorite song.
However you go about it, begin to teach children it is their responsibility to get themselves up and moving so that you are not spending the next 10 years dragging them out of bed every morning.
One way to do this is to reward them when they succeed on this independently.
- Put reminder lists on the door so that you see it when you are leaving. This is another wonderful way to teach kids how to be responsible.
- Before heading out- make it fun and read off the list and have your kids yell out “check, check” for each item everyone has remembered and then high-five each other and head out for the day.
Don’t get overwhelmed… if everything doesn’t go as planned, pick up where you left off and keep moving forward. All you can do is set into motion routines that will ease the normal stresses of life and prepare your kids for the same, but life can be messy and the bottom line is: roll with the punches, smile a lot and don’t give up.