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Stop the morning madness

Stop the morning madness

Heidi MeyerBy Heidi Meyer

You surface slowly hearing the birds in the trees. Your alarm already plays your favourite music. The aroma of coffee wafting into the bathroom, whilst soaking away the last remains of sleepiness.

Wham! That must have been a dream! In most households both parents work full time and mornings become a real challenge as they don’t only need to consider themselves but a couple of unruly youngsters each with their own whims and woes!

Prepare your child to be organised, it is a life skill that should be taught at an early age.

With love, patience, a little planning, some organisational tools and designated launch pad; you can get to work peacefully instead of enduring a power struggle every day.

Walk your talk. I was amazed when I saw how patient and relaxed one of my clients is with her children. After a couple of days I realised what it was. She really listened and talked to her children. She would for instance say, “ I can’t do that right now, will you be a good boy and just wait for a while and I promise that I will take a couple of moments to show you what to do”, and she would keep her promise and the child knew that she would! Leading to a peaceful environment where the children are secure and feel safe.

Be prepared: Make notes of what each member of the family is up to for the following week and make sure that it is in your planner.  Include upcoming homework assignments, after-school events, social invites and sports activities.

Everything in its place: Save time and plan ahead by putting the week’s extra-mural outfits, gifts for parties in the labelled compartments that display each weekday. Get the weekly organiser in the Organized living brochure.

Log your time. Know how long different activities and tasks will it take?  Look at all the things that need to be done before you leave and how long it takes to get to work and pad your time with 20-30 minutes for unforeseen hick-ups. We constantly hear on the traffic updates, “You can count on 20-30 minutes delay.” Work backwards to determine the time that you need to get up and out, to get to work on time or where ever you need to be.

Have a set routine and be consistent in your discipline to ensure a calm morning.  Set aside time for homework after coming home and having had lunch or a snack before starting work.  Ensure that all homework is done and school communication is completed and signed. Pack bags and place at point of departure with sport kit or cultural activities for the next day. The same goes for you, place all the paperwork, laptop and other items that you have brought home on the ready to just pick up and go.

Before bedtime. Put-out the entire outfit for the next day either on a dumb valet or on a clothing hook. Limit choices so that there won’t be issues in the morning. Prepare the lunch boxes.

Have breakfast. No one should leave the home on an empty stomach.

Don’t watch TV, check e-mail and or answer your phone. Tell yourself the whole time, “I don’t need to do that now”, if you didn’t plan it. Do only what is necessary to get out of the house on time.

Avoid Power struggles. So often children get away with everything, because “I just don’t have time for this right now”, and I blame many of our discipline issues at school to the home environments where the approach of “each action has its consequence” is not implemented anymore.

Grab and go.  Place everything that must go at your closest port of entry/exit. Excellent launch pads are pigeonhole units with a special space for each person, a docking station close at hand for any equipment that needs to be charged overnight.

Remember the keys! Each person must take responsibility for their own keys. Hang them close to the exit.

Rewards – Reward your children for positive reinforcement, i.e. getting dressed in time with a special outing. Keep it age appropriate, tangible and simple. Don’t forget to reward yourself for getting things done!

By implementing these strategies to organise your life, both you and the children will be more at ease, knowing that things are done and know where to find things when you need them, before you go out for a constructive day. Every once in a while things might get a little out of hand, don’t be too hard on yourself, we are all human and it is up to you to get into the right habit of being on time.