AS A MOTHER of four, I’m constantly looking for ways to make more efficient use of my time, especially when it comes to the morning routine. With all four kids in school this year and all of them under eight years old, we have a lot of little hands and feet to manage, and that can get pretty stressful. Over the years, I’ve figured out that there are several things I can do in preparation for the morning routine that make getting “up and at ’em” a much smoother process. Here are my tips for helping you get yourself and your family up and out the door as stress-free as possible:
• Before bed, set out the clothes, socks, shoes, and — for the little girls — hair accessories. Don’t forget your clothes! And to my lady friends, I would even say have your makeup set out. I save at least 15 minutes in the morning with these simple steps taken the night before.
• Don’t hit the hay yet. Prepare lunch items — including fruit, vegetables, crackers, and other side-items — all except for the sandwiches. I like to make them in the morning so that the bread is fresh, not too soft (or worse, soggy) when the kids open it for lunch.
• Plan and prep your breakfast. I find that hard-boiled eggs are easy to prepare the night before, and are a healthy protein-packed option for the morning, along with fresh fruit and wheat toast. Tired and want to get to go to dreamland a little earlier? No problem. Just skip the hard-boiled eggs prep, and serve cold cereal with fresh fruit and wheat toast. A staple in our family is just about any Cheerio option, including the multi-grain. Our kids love them all. For you, don’t forget to prep the coffee maker. I bless the person who came up with the timer and auto-on feature on the coffee machine.
• Last, but not least, make sure homework sheets are signed and backpacks are packed, as well as any notes to the teacher(s) written, if necessary.
Now you’re ready for a good night’s sleep and — even better — a stress-free morning, which will no doubt lead to a great day. Here’s hoping that all your mornings this school year run a little smoother!
column by CELESTE JO WALLS
Celeste Jo Walls is managing editor of Central Florida Health News. She may be reached by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.