One morning you’re packing the pool bag for a lazy summer day and the next you’re making breakfast, packing lunches, and getting backpacks ready to go in what feels like 4.2 seconds. Oh, and while all that’s going on, someone’s usually searching for their missing sock.
There’s nothing like back to school to make you take a good look at your systems. If you’ve already got solid routines in place for taming morning chaos, these tips will make things even easier. And if you’re reading this and thinking “what systems?” we’ve got you covered with 5 breakfast hacks to make things run smoothly, even on your most bonkers mornings.
This or That?
Asking an open-ended question like “What sounds good for breakfast?” is asking for trouble. Limit choices to two things, for example a Thomas’ Mini Bagel with cream cheese or a bowl of cereal. Because nothing slows down the morning like too many choices. Kids can easily spend 23 of the 30 available minutes in the morning deciding which shirt to wear. So limit choices as much as possible. For example, instead of having younger kids pick out clothes in the morning, pick two options the night before and let them choose the winner in the morning. No backsies! Older kids can choose their own the night before.
Set Up Your Family Command Center
If you’ve had kids for more than 5 minutes, you know if they had their way, most would drop their stuff anywhere and everywhere throughout the house. Backpack in the middle of the kitchen floor? Sure! Soccer cleats next to the bathroom sink? Perfect!
To eliminate the morning scramble for everyone’s belongings, set up a space in the house where backpacks, shoes, lunchboxes, and anything else they need every day have to stay. If there’s space, the command center should be close to where you come and go so everything is right there, ready to go even on the busiest mornings.
Grab and Go Lunches
Making lunches in the morning is not only a huge time-suck, it can also be a major mess-maker. Do yourself a favor and get lunch items prepped and organized on the weekends or even after weeknight dinners. Fill water bottles the night before and pre-portion your kids’ lunchbox favorites into individual servings so they can pack their own lunches with no mess. Cheese sticks, trail mix, popcorn, baby carrots, fruit, and Thomas’ bagels are all super easy mess-free ways to grab and go.
Set the Mood
There’s a reason spas play a certain kind of music while you get a massage. It’s because your massage is much more relaxing when accompanied by a soft harp than it would be with ‘80s hair metal. The same is true for weekday mornings. Set the mood to “calm” by playing an engaging audiobook or even a chill playlist instead of the background drone of morning news. Take it a step further and make a “no electronics til after breakfast” rule to really bring the volume down.
If you’re able, get up a little bit before everyone else. You can collect your thoughts and think about how you want to approach the day. We all know the saying: if Mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy! With the kitchen to yourself you can easily whip up a breakfast like sausage, egg, and cheese on a Thomas’ English muffin. Nothing sets the mood like a hot breakfast sammie!
Pick Your Battles
Do your kids absolutely need to make their beds before school? Is it an absolute must that they sit down to eat a real breakfast instead of scarfing something down in the car? A huge part of being a mom is figuring out what really matters and letting the rest go. And let’s face it, years from now they won’t remember that you didn’t cook eggs and bacon every day or that sometimes they showed up at school with mismatched socks. But what they will remember is how you made them feel safe, loved, cared for and perfectly ok, even on the most hectic mornings.