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Getting Out The Door

By Jennifer Snyder
When you have children of any age, you are well aware that some mornings can be more difficult than others. Even well organized children have a few mornings where everything goes wrong and things fall apart. Read: meltdown.

A few things to consider that will hopefully help get the kids (and you) out the door on time:

  • Sleep.  Is your child getting enough sleep? When children go through growth spurts, they need more sleep than usual.  More challenging classes or increased extracurricular activities may increase the need for sleep as well.  If unsure about how much sleep your little one should be getting, check with your pediatrician.

  • Get ready early.  It is much easier to help your child in the morning if you are already up and prepared for your day before they get up. The younger the child, the more important this is.

  • Schedule additional time.  No matter the day or the event, always plan an extra 15 minutes into your morning schedule. Having a super tight schedule leaves no room for the unexpected.  And the unexpected should always be expected.  When things go wrong your child will be late for school and you will be late for work. When a meltdown or other unforeseen situation (lost keys, anyone?) it is great to have a little wiggle room with the clock.

  • Prepare the night before. Set out clothes, pack backpack & extracurricular bags (school and extracurricular should have their own bags), lunch (in the refrigerator, but ready to go), and whatever materials you and your child need for the following day should all be prepared before your child goes to bed.  Notice, I did not you say before You go to bed.  You need time to wind down as well.

  • Create an "Out the Door" checklist.  All children (and even adults) can benefit from a checklist for what to remember in the mornings. Type it up, laminate it, use a wax pencil or dry erase marker to check off items each day.  It could be fun to allow the kids to earn the privilege of being the "master packer" where he/she can call out the items with everyone saying "check".  Whatever you do, make it fun.

  • Sing Rather Than Scream.  The Happiness Project author Gretchen Rubin recommends singing in the morning.  It is hard to sing and maintain a grouchy mood and it sets a happy tone for everyone.  If carrying a tune is a struggle, even better.  Laughter is just as good as song.  Keeping a light-hearted mood can help inspire your kids to also have positive outlooks — which can will carry throughout their day.

  • Check with the School.  If you have tried every piece of advice for getting your child out the door on time and still can't do it, consider contacting your child's teacher or a trusted school staff member. There might be a bigger issue in need of attention (abuse, bullying, isolation, etc.).

These are some suggestions to make morning easier and I hope they help.  The most important is, you know your kids and your kids know you.  When you want them to do something differently, change your approach.  If nothing else, they will be too shocked to resist, at least for a little while.

Have a Neat day!

Jennifer Snyder, Certified Professional Organizer
Neat as a Pin Organizing Experts
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