Published: August 26, 2023
By: By Tanni Haas, Ph.D.
In my family, school-day mornings used to be really stressful, with everyone running around like chickens with their heads off as we rushed to get ready and out the door. Things have changed. Through trial and error and conversations with other parents, we’ve come up with six things to do so that we’ll have stress-free mornings.
Create a Morning Chore Chart
The best way to start the morning stress-free is to plan as much as possible the night before. To help us, we have a Morning Chore Chart specifying everything we need to do each morning and who’s responsible for it. The chart spells out everything from making the bed (something many teenagers hate to do) to who’s making what at breakfast. We rotate our tasks every week, to be fair. At the bottom of the chart, we list the tasks we must complete on a specific day, like leaving money for an overnight school trip. The chart lists daily chores and individual tasks for specific events.
A Place For Everything — Everything In Its Place
The second key to a stress-free morning is knowing where to find the things you need in the morning. If it were up to my 15-year-old son, he would dump his stuff where he last needed it or toss it on the floor. We’ve agreed on where exactly to put our morning essentials — school bags, sweatshirts, footwear, etc. This simple step makes mornings so much smoother. No one is running around in a frantic state searching for shoes — we can simply grab and go. Doing as many morning tasks as possible the night before is worthwhile — what clothes to wear, packing school bags and lunches, and of course, finishing all homework. No more last-minute homework in the car!
Get a Good Night’s Sleep
It may sound cliché but getting a good night’s sleep is extremely important to reducing morning stress. If one person is sleep-deprived, that person often makes everyone else grumpy as well. To get a good night’s sleep, you’d be wise to turn off all electronics a half an hour before bedtime. Everyone needs timeto unwind and shut down. If you want to make absolutely sure that this happens, have your kids charge their devices anywhere else but in their bedrooms.
Wake Up — Then Wake Up Everyone Else
Try waking up 20-30 minutes earlier than everyone else. That’ll give you time to prepare yourself before the morning rush starts. The bathroom is a source of competition and is in constant use until everyone is out the door.
Stay Calm and Positive
When you’re finally ready to wake up the rest of the family, try to be calm and positive. If you’re unhappy about something the kids did or didn’t do, busy mornings aren’t the best time to bring it up. Conflicts are rarely resolved satisfactorily early in the morning when there’s so much to do. Put on some happy, upbeat music instead. That’ll help put everyone in the right frame of mind.
Have A Breakfast With Lots of Protein
When you finally sit down for breakfast, make sure that the whole family gets lots of protein. You’ll all need it for the long day ahead.