Having four kids in three different schools makes the mornings a challenge. Having a child who struggles with ADHD, even though it’s mild and well managed, makes that challenge near impossible some mornings. Over the years, I’ve developed my own tricks to making sure we are out the door on time every morning with a minimum of upset, fuss, or hassle. I’ve noticed my kids have a much smoother day with fewer issues if I can keep the morning routine running efficiently. Routine and a schedule are the most important things I can give my kids to help them succeed during their school day.
1. I put all the after-school stuff in the car the night before. All uniforms are washed, cleats are cleaned, and snacks are packed in each child’s bag, then put in the trunk for the next day. This way, there is no panic the next morning when one child suddenly remembers a dirty uniform.
2. I lay out all the kids’ outfits the night before — complete with socks, shoes, and hair accessories. There are no deviations once the lights go out for bedtime. My kid with ADHD seems to have the most trouble deciding on an outfit. This takes all the stress out of getting dressed in the morning. The kids all get up and can be dressed and ready to go in five minutes.
3. I get breakfast ready the night before. I lay out bowls of cereal in small Tupperware containers and put individual cups of milk in the fridge for them to add to their bowls. They can eat while I’m in the shower, and I don’t have to worry that one of my boys will get distracted and forget to eat.
4. I make sure all book bags are packed the night before, including all papers that need to be signed. In the morning rush, the only thing my kids have to do on the way out the door is grab a bag off the hook and get in the car. I also make sure I personally go through every child’s book bag and folder every single night. It’s the only way to be confident I won’t be running out to the store at 11 pm to grab supplies to make a 3D world map the night before it’s due. True story.
5. I implemented a shower/bath schedule. With four kids sharing one bathroom, time is at a premium. Ty showers in the mornings now, because it seems to help him relax and get his mind focused for the school day. Mase showers immediately after dinner, and Maia showers right after him. I give Zoey a bath during the day while the big kids are at school.
6. I set the alarm clocks for a half hour earlier than necessary. I’ve found that we need the buffer to make sure there is no rush. The absolute worst thing in the world for my child who struggles with ADHD is having to rush. It creates a chaotic environment, and they struggle all day to refocus.
7. I do not allow any technology in the mornings. The television stays off; no video games allowed; all phones are put away. The only thing they focus on is getting ready for the school day. I limit technology anyway, because it seems to create stress for the kids, but during the morning rush it is imperative to have a calm, quiet, and focused morning.
Those are just a few of the ways I make our mornings run smoothly in this house. My day goes so much better when I don’t have to rush around in the morning and I know all of my kids, not just the one who has ADHD, have a much more productive day at school when our mornings are calm and stress-free.
How do you organize your morning rush?