The lazy days of summer will soon turn into a warm distant memory as families across the country begin to settle into another hectic school year.
The school year presents many challenges, such as keeping up with events, projects, sports and meetings, but one of the biggest frustrations that families face today is the dreaded morning rush. The morning is the most stressful — yet most important — part of any day because it will set the mood, good or bad, for the rest of the day.
The following are the Organizing Genie's top five time management strategies to help elevate the stress and frustration of the morning rush.
Arise before the mad morning dash begins. I admit when my children were younger, I sacrificed my sleep time to wake up first to enjoy a cup of tea or coffee and prepare for my day in peace. This bit of “me” time helped me feel relaxed as my children woke up allowing me to help them prepare for their busy day without added frustration. It might be the only bit of "me” time you can sneak in throughout the rest of the day.
Arrange outfits for you and your family the night before. Do you want to go to work feeling bad because the last thing your child remembers before they left for school was the fight you had over finding matching socks?
This can easily be avoided by having your children choose and lay out their outfits the night before. This includes shoes, underwear, socks, hair accessories and even uniform pieces needed for any sports, band or after school activities scheduled for the next upcoming day. Set a great example by planning out your outfit for the next day as well. Walking out the door everyday in a pulled-together outfit can make one look and feel like a million bucks.
Plan breakfast and lunch in advance. Planning out your family lunch's the night before allows you the time to prepare healthier food choices for both you and your family. Once prepared, store them in a designated area in your fridge for children to easily grab on their way out the next day.
As for breakfast, before you turn in for the night, set the table with bowls, spoons and individual boxes or baggies filled with your child's favorite cereal. In the morning, children will only need to pour their milk and enjoy an un-rushed breakfast. Even better, during the weekend make and freeze extra batches of pancakes that can quickly be micro-waved into a quick hot breakfast treat.
Create a designated "review" folder, tray or basket for school paperwork. One a daily basis, have each child unload any school homework, paperwork or forms which require your attention in their special spot immediately after school. Once you have signed or reviewed their papers, place them back in their special spot and have your child them put them back in their backpacks before bed. Instilling this routine into your child's schedule is a great lesson on responsibility which will help prepare them for the future.
Prepare for launch. Create an established zone or, as Professional Organizers call it, a "launching pad" of items your family will need to grab as they head out the door.
For instance, I have mini bookcase with four shelves located at side door. On top, I have a basket which contains my keys, sunglasses and cell phone. There are a few hooks attached to the side for other family members to hang their keys on as well. Each family member has their own shelf to hold any special paperwork, purses, hats, gloves, books, work shoes or whatever they might need to get out the door quickly. When my children were in school they would also place their backpacks in this area. Having everything we needed within reach helped us to launch our day on a happy note.
I hope these five strategies will help bring a bit of order to your morning rush leaving a few moments to give your child a big hug and place a smile on their face and as they head out to face their busy day.