Each time we've added another member to our family (including canine members), I've felt the pressure to become just a little more organized. It's hard to get seven people ready in the morning, so one of the first things I established was our morning routine. This routine actually begins the night before.
Evening (right after supper):
- pull out clothes for the next day and set them on the ledge in front of the fireplace (the little ones get dressed in the living room under my supervision, bigger ones retrieve the clothes in the AM and take them somewhere with more privacy)
- pull out pyjamas for bedtime
- pack lunches for school the next day (everyone does their own, and we help with anything that needs cooking/assembling; even three-year-olds can choose snacks for at playschool)
- homework and/or home reading
Evening (half hour before bedtime):
- change to pyjamas
- put clothes in dirty laundry hamper
- brush & floss teeth (I will confess that this has fallen by the wayside. I hope to revive this important aspect of our routine during spring break.)
- climb into bed and quietly look at books (even the little man can turn the pages and look at pictures for a few minutes)
- mom and dad run around saying prayers with each kid and tucking them in
- mom's quiet time until 6:30am, which means any little children who are up earlier than that must sit quietly looking at books (no talking is allowed or they are sent back to bed); I have actually found that this is my #1 influence on the tone of our morning...if I am not up before the kids, spending time with my Lord, I lean toward the irritable and impatient
- get dressed
- brush teeth and hair
- pack backpacks and have them ready at the door
- get bundled up to wait for the bus (The bus is a huge part of my morning routine. Having the kids on the bus means that I don't need to worry about getting myself ready for the day until they're out the door. Worth every penny.)
This routine has become such a part of our lives that I seldom need to tell the children what comes next. For the past couple years, I usually just tell them to "do their jobs" and periodically ask them, "what's next?"
Lately, though, I've decided that even those few words are too many. So the kiddos have been informed that they will no longer get reminders along the way - they are to get up and get ready. Period. I tell them when it's breakfast time and I tell them when they need to put on their coats and boots/shoes. If they have to head to school with messy hair, stinky breath, and in their pjs...that's their problem. If, for some reason, they end up missing the bus, they owe me minute-for-minute slave labor after school (I count every minute from when they should have been out the door to when I get back home from driving them).
It's hard for a perfectionist mom to let them experience their own consequences like this, but it's also just a little bit fun. ;-)
Do you have any tips and techniques to keep the sanity in your home during busy times of day? A morning routine? Bedtimes? Dinner?
* This is an edited post from the archives.