This article originally appeared in Little Black Dress|Little Red Wagon Magazine.
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It’s 8 a.m. and my household has already witnessed three meltdowns, two resulting in tears, and one of them mine. Seriously, it should not be this difficult to get the kids ready for school and out the door.
When I was pregnant, I envisioned school-day mornings with homemade breakfasts, freshly poured (maybe even squeezed) OJ, neatly parted hair and happy smiles. While this may have been pie-in-the-sky, I am a put-together enough person to at least achieve toaster waffles and canned juice without weeping and gnashing of teeth.
So, this year, dangit, I am vowing to pull off more peaceful school mornings. And I’ve called in three pros to advise and counsel: Cheryl Bahneman, Francie Towey, and Beverly Boney. As the champions for working moms everywhere, these three run the Primrose Schools at Brookstone and Oregon Park (Cheryl), Primrose Schools at Macland Pointe and Sprayberry (Francie), and Primrose at Bentwater (Beverly).
I love, love, LOVE the fresh, creative tips they shared for making mornings more peaceful on the home front.
Make a Morning Map
Create a checklist or picture map to help kids stay on track with the morning routine: make bed, go potty, brush teeth, get bookbag, etc. Laminate the list and provide a dry-erase marker so that children can check off the steps as they go. “Setting concrete expectations about the sequence of tasks is important for little ones,” affirms Francie.
“Allowing your child to chime in when creating the list will ensure their ownership over this idea, too,” Cheryl adds. Let them help type and add clip art to make their Morning Map. Feeling crafty? Take a pic of your child doing each action, and use those for a customized checklist.
Create a Family Command Center Binder
In the page protectors under Family Basics, slide in emergency info and babysitter instructions. The Contacts section is for important numbers and business cards: school, doctor, vet, painter, plumber. Pending page protectors hold Netflix mailers, receipts for online purchases, upcoming birthday invitations. In each child’s section, keep their extracurricular schedules, school information and the like. “Creating organizational systems that work is key for peaceful routines,” affirms Beverly.
Have Homemade Breakfast in a Hurry!
Okay, so making a huge hot breakfast every morning isn’t always (ever?) realistic. Instead, opt for grab-and-go homemade: Make batches of homemade pancakes and waffles once a month. Freeze them on cookie sheets and then rebag into freezer baggies to reheat in the toaster. Voila—homemade in a hurry!
Take the Pressure Off
Finally, set a positive tone for your child’s school day by letting them know you’re behind them, regardless of performance. “Children thrive more when they don’t feel pressure from their mom or dad to perform,” shares Francie. “The most important attribute a parent can teach their child is to try. If a child learns that, they will do amazing things—without stress.”
Primrose School at Brookstone, www.primrosebrookstone.com
Primrose School at Macland Pointe, www.primrosemaclandpointe.com
Primrose School at Oregon Park, www.primroseoregonpark.com
Primrose School of Sprayberry, www.primrosesprayberry.com
Primrose School at Bentwater, www.primrosebentwater.com