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The school bus will be outside in twenty minutes.
Your fourth grader has to hand in a take-home test today, and your first grader needs a bagged lunch and souvenir money for a field trip.
You have to leave right behind them for a doctor’s appointment you’ve waited three weeks to get.
In many homes, a morning like this one would mean chaos.
There would be kids hunting for permission slips while Mom scrambled for snacks and tied shoes. But is that happening in this home? No.
Relaxing Together Before School
Instead, both kids have already eaten breakfast.
Mom is dressed and ready to go.
Instead of yelling at the kids to hurry and reaching for coffee on the way out the door, Mom’s mug is sitting on an end table.
She’s seated right next to it and both kids are snuggled up to her on the couch.
They’re all enjoying an extra chapter of the book that’s usually reserved for bedtime.
This Mom’s Secret Weapon To Save Time On Weekday Mornings
Is this mom Superwoman?
Did she get up at 4am to make this happen?
Instead, she has tapped into the magic of giving her kids ownership over their own routines in order to save time on weekday mornings.
And it’s a total game-changer.
Better than that?
You can too.
Institute An Evening Power Hour
The majority of what a family needs to do before the kids set off for school is the same, day after day.
And most of it can be done the night before.
To avoid the morning rush in your home, institute a family Power Hour each afternoon.
This is a time for kids to take charge of their own routines, working from checklists that you provide.
Spend the time to create checklists for your kids, and your reward will be increasingly self-sufficient children and more time to enjoy them each day.
What To Include In Your Checklists To Save Time On Weekday Mornings
It may take a few tries to come up with the perfect checklists for your family.
Give yourselves some grace while you figure out exactly what works for your family, and know that the end result will be worth the effort.
As a guide, below is an example.
If you laminate your list, your children can check off items with a dry-erase marker.
Each numbered item is followed by the detailed steps that are necessary to complete that item.
1. Pack your lunch.
- Water bottle
- Cheese or Yogurt or Hummus
- Pretzels or Popcorn
- Baby Carrots or Cherry Tomatoes
2. Choose tomorrow’s clothes.
- Does it fit?
- Is it clean?
- Is it appropriate for the day’s activities?
- Is it in good condition?
3. Pack your backpack.
- Papers That Need a Signature
- Gym Clothes
- Sports Uniforms
- Library Books
- Text Books
- Pencil Case
4. Take a shower.
- Wash your hair.
- Next wash your body.
- Brush your teeth.
- Hang up your towel.
- Then put your clothes in the hamper.
5. Get breakfast ready.
- Set out your bowl and spoon.
- Next set out your napkin.
- Put out your cup.
- Set out your box of cereal or packet of oatmeal.
- Set out apple or banana.
6. Tidy your room.
- Books on the shelf
- Clean clothes in the dresser or closet
- Dirty clothes in the hamper
- Toys away
- Desk free of clutter
- Trash in the garbage
- Dishes in the kitchen
- Remove anything that doesn’t belong in the room.
This Routine Makes Families Happier
Modern life is stressful.
Home should be a place kids can escape that stress.
But as we cram more and more activities into our days, the stress of the outside world creeps into our homes.
And with it comes an intrusion into what was once a special time and place to be together.
Take back your home for your family.
Our kids are quite capable of doing for themselves many of the things we do for them, but we do them because in the moment it seems easier or quicker.
And this does everyone a disservice.
Teach your children the gift of self-sufficiency.
Instill an evening Power Hour in your own home, using the checklists I provided as a guide to create your own and be sure to include: Making Lunch, Cleaning Rooms, Packing Backpacks, Get Breakfast Ready, Take a Shower, and Choose Tomorrow’s Clothes.
Then watch as more moments open up to share as a family.
What tasks take up the most of your family’s time in the morning? Are there more things you can think of to take care of the night before?