When my kids were younger, mornings were a beast!
I read every parenting book I could about how to discipline children. We tried beads in a vase, stickers on a chart and stars on the calendar to reward good behavior.
What bothered me most is all the parenting books worked when you had just one child testing their independence. But who was writing for the mom with three kids all doing something different … at the same time???
Something happens when they know you are outnumbered! (just saying)
Anyway, we were able to implement some great logical consequences and they worked better than all my yelling. But mornings? That was a different story altogether. It seemed no matter what I tried, my mornings were hectic and often ended with someone screaming and someone crying – usually me.
The day I pointed the remote control at two arguing boys and clicked “off” was the day I decided to get serious about getting a grip on my mornings.
The good news is it didn’t take too many changes to bring some order and peace. But I had to be a detective and get to the root of the problems. Here’s what I did differently.
1. Turn off the TV. Completely. I tried everything before coming to this decision. I tried letting them watch it for 15 minutes first. I tried making it a reward. I tried watching the news, hoping it would bore the kids. Nothing worked. So I just turned it off.
Something happened in the quiet. We all started to focus more easily. My blood pressure dropped. Bickering stopped. Turns out that even the background noise of the TV was causing issues.
That decision was made over 10 years ago, and we still don’t have the TV on in the mornings.
2) Begin the morning the night before. Prepare for the morning before you go to bed. This means backpacks packed, papers signed, field trips planned for, meeting notes ready, books gathered, etc. For some this means picking out what to wear. Or setting out two options.
This might even include what to have for dinner. Wouldn’t that be nice to know so you could get things in the slow cooker before leaving for work?
If you incorporate this into your nightly routine, I promise your mornings will be smoother.
3) Remember that your kids’ choices aren’t about you. I know it doesn’t feel like it. I know every towel dropped on the floor, every dirty shirt draped on the couch, every student-of-the-week poster forgotten until the last minute feels personal.
I know everything in you wants to tell your family how selfish they are when they make choices that impact you. But take a deep breath and allow natural consequences to be the teacher – not guilt.
When I started allowing my kids to experience the reality of their choices, I was able to separate my emotional response and still show kindness.
What does this look like? First you have to make sure you have taught your children how to plan ahead. Based on where they are developmentally, take time to go over the coming week on Saturday morning. What assignments need to be worked on? Do we need poster board? What about money for a field trip or pizza on Friday? Teach your kids how to be prepared.
Then, once you feel confident you’ve equipped them, allow them to take responsibility. You may still give gentle reminders, but if they aren’t ready, then the consequences are on them. This might be tougher on you, but sometimes we learn best from our mistakes. And wouldn’t you rather your kids make mistakes in the protection of your home?
4) Get up earlier than the family. Can you get up 20 minutes earlier than everyone? Five minutes to wake up and get a cup of coffee, and then 15 minutes for yourself and the Lord? Just a few minutes to prepare yourself for the morning will make a difference.
We have an enemy who wants your mornings chaotic. He wants you to send your kids and husband off for the day stressed. He wants conflict in your family. He wants you to feel overwhelmed before you begin the day.
But that’s not God design for you. Look at these two beautiful Psalms:
“Satisfy us in the morning with your unfailing love,that we may sing for joy and be glad all our days.” Psalm 90:14
“But I will sing of your strength, in the morning I will sing of your love; for you are my fortress, my refuge in times of trouble.” Psalm 59:16
What a difference it makes when I start the day with my mind on the Truth. About myself. My family. And God’s power and protection. Invite God into your day as an active participant, not a bystander, and see what happens.
I’d love to hear from you today. What problem do you have in the morning? Leave a comment and let’s see if we can find a solution together.
Thanks so much for joining me today.
In His love,
P.S. If you haven’t read my book I Used to Be So Organized, you might enjoy it. I share more of my story with more insights into how to bring order out of chaos.