. Start Your Morning the Night Before

I cannot overemphasize the importance of doing essential routine items when there isn’t a lot of stress.  This applies especially to morning routines.  Morning time is not the time to make decisions, prepare for the day, or finalize plans.  All that should happen the night before.

The morning is for getting ready, eating, and getting out the door.  So how can we have better mornings?

1)  Make decisions the night before. Decide what you are going to wear tonight.  Decide when you need to leave tomorrow to be on there on time and work backwards to when you should set the alarm clock.  Decide what you will serve for breakfast (and get the English muffins out of the freezer so you won’t have to thaw them in the microwave before you can even begin to think about toasting them).  Decide in what order you will tackle your morning chores so that if something doesn’t get done and has to wait until later, you will have done the most essential jobs first.

2)  Prepare the night before. I know families that set the breakfast table right after they do the dinner dishes.  It is just as much work as setting in the morning, but it is half the hassle because there’s not so much “stress”.  I know families that make up their sack lunches in the evening, too, to facilitate a more leisurely morning routine.  I know others that pack up the car for the car pool when the homework is done for the evening so that tomorrow morning the children only have to get themselves in the car.

3)  Finalize plans the night before. Does everyone in the whole family know that is happening tomorrow?  When will Dad be home?  When and where will Mom be picking them up for piano lessons at the school?   What special tasks need to be done before they can play with their friends or watch a video?  Children and adults don’t like surprises, mistakes, or waiting.  Try to alleviate it as much as possible by discussing tomorrow’s plans tonight at the dinner table.  Make sure that everyone knows exactly what to expect, when to expect it, and how to react if things don’t quite go quite as planned.

If things aren’t going smoothly for you, try a simple change to “forward” routines and see how much it helps.  Making decisions the night before, preparing the night before, and finalizing plans the night before will make a tremendous different in the chaos, stress, and tension of your mornings.

Find more helpful ideas in the House of Order Handbook.

Photo from sxc.hu.  Used with permission.


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