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By Vicki Little

The morning rush and how we manage it often sets the tone for the rest of our day. A rushed, frustrating morning can have a ripple effect on everyone, so it helps to be organized. Don’t feel guilty if you get annoyed with how long Junior takes to zip up his coat, put on boots, hats, and mittens — only to tell you that now he needs to use the bathroom! We’ve ALL been there. But the more we do to ease the stress, the better. A common piece of advice is to start planning the night before. In addition, here are other tips to starting your day off on the right foot!

1) Make breakfast easy and have plenty of options.  Have a “breakfast shelf” filled with quick and healthy breakfasts such as bagels, cereal, oatmeal, yogurt, berries, etc. If you have time and like to bake, you can make banana bread or muffins the night before so it’s ready to go the next morning.

2) Get yourself ready first. Or at least grab a cup of coffee so you are awake.

3) Have a place for the last-minute things. Put shoes, coats, mittens, and backpacks in this area before you go to bed. Add your car keys, bag/briefcase and phone, too. They tend to hide at the last minute.

4) Anchor steps with times. Have you ever noticed that you tend to take approximately the same amount of time to do things every day? Make it a habit to keep the kids on a schedule. Wake up and eat by 7:15, brush teeth by 7:20, be dressed by 7:45 etc.

5) Two-choice options. If kids feel they aren’t getting their way, they tend to throw tantrums or drag their feet when doing the things they are supposed to do. Give them a sense of power by allowing them two choices you approve of. You can wear the blue or black jeans, eat a bagel or waffle. If they decide quickly, they get their choice. If they argue or stall, they lose the privilege and you pick.

6) Don’t save them — let them learn the natural consequences. Encourage your kids to get ready the night before school. Remind them to have their clothes laid out, their lunch packed and ready, items in their backpack and by the door. If they don’t choose to do this and end up not having lunch made and there is no time left.… Well, they will just have to face that consequence.

What tricks do you have for making mornings easier?

Vicki Little is a work-at-home mom with two young kids. A Colorado native, she is the Publisher and Editor of Macaroni Kid Aurora and Downtown Denver. When she isn’t writing or trying to keep up with her kids she can be found volunteering, reading, or enjoying a bottle of wine with friends.

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