By Resident Expert Toni Hall Parker [space]
It’s 6:00 in the morning and instead of jumping out of bed feeling refreshed, you hit the snooze button and snooze a little longer. Perhaps you repeat this gesture one or two more times until you finally get out of bed and discover that you’ve overslept. [space]
And then the anxiety causing thought of the kids being late for school begins to slowly creep into your conscious. You breathe a sigh and incredulously think to yourself while shaking your head, “I over slept again-Ugh!” [space]
Unfortunately, we all know what happens next. You go into stress mode and begin to frantically wake the kids and multitask like crazy. Needless to say, this creates a very chaotic morning for everyone-especially the kids. [space]
Does this sound like a typical morning in your household? [space]
Well take a deep breath. I’m going to let you in on a little secret that will help get our mornings running smoothly again. If you want to start your mornings with less chaos, you can. But- only if you get organized the night before. [space]
If you fail to plan, you’re planning to fail-right? [space]
At least that’s what I’ve always been told. And I know you’ve been told this too. However, for some reason this old tried and true trick always seem to get lost in the shuffle of a very hectic schedule. [space]
So to get you refocused and back on the path to morning bliss, here are five things that you can do the night before so that you wake up controlling your mornings- instead of having your mornings control you. [space]
Complete All Homework Assignments [space]
If you have kids, the odds are they will have homework. So establish a scheduled homework time (usually as soon as they get home). This helps them get into the routine of completing their homework at the same time everyday. When they are finished, you should double check the homework to ensure that it is complete and accurate. Once it’s mom approved, it’s now ready to go into their backpacks. [space]
Complete all other Important School Forms [space]
Next, look through their folders and discuss what else needs to be gathered and included in their backpacks for the next day. These items could include the following: [space]
- Clean Gym clothes,
- Signed permission slips,
- Money for School fees and lunch. Note: A great time saving tip for lunch money is to pay it online if your school provides that option
- Responses to notes from teachers or signing your little one’s daily calendar
Once completed, put theses items into their backpacks, zip them, and place them at the door so that they are easily gathered the next morning. [space]
Complete After Dinner Chores: [space]
Once everyone has finished eating, make sure they put away their dirty dishes and load them in the dishwasher. If you have a smaller child, make sure an older sibling assists her in clearing her dishes from the table. Everyone should pitch in and help to clean the kitchen and tidy up any other common areas (such as the living room). No one wants to wake up to a disheveled house; and moreover, trying to prepare a meal in a dirty kitchen will definitely overwhelm you. [space]
Select Clothes for the Next Day: [space]
Have your children choose their outfits the night before. This allows you to make sure the clothes are appropriate and ironed- if needed. And while you’re at it, this also might be a good time for them to get their baths. [space]
Get to Bed Earlier [space]
Sleep, sleep and more sleep. Everyone (including moms) should try to get to bed at a decent time so that you won’t need to hit the snooze button the next morning. Here’s a guideline to the amount of sleep that your family will need to wake up feeling refreshed and ready to start their day: [space]
- Babies who are 6 to 12 months need between 9 and 11 hours of sleep per night. The assumption is that they will probably nap an additional 3 to 4 hours during the next day.
- Toddlers and Preschoolers (1 to 5) need about 10 to 13 hours of sleep. In addition, they might get in another hour of naptime the next day.
- Preteens (6-12) will need about 10 to 12 hours of sleep, especially since they are more prone to participate in after school activities.
- Teens need about 8 ½ to 9 ½ hours of sleep. They too will have very busy schedules so it’s imperative that they get an adequate amount of sleep. Sleep deprivation can lead to a shorter attention span during class, or worse, an injury during their after school activities.
- Adults need about the same amount of sleep as teens-8 to 9 hours. Moms often convince themselves that they need less hours of sleep. But the truth is that most people become easily irritated when they don’t get their recommended 8 hours of sleep. And more importantly, sleep deprivation is the perfect recipe for creating stress-filled mornings. [space]
Always remember, if you fail to plan, you plan to fail-even in mundane day-to-day activities. However, if you implement these five steps to get organized the night before, you’ll be on your way to waking up to peaceful mornings met with smiles and hugs instead of ughs.