Master the Morning Routine

School is back in session this month—and, with it, the elusive morning routine. De-stress your a.m. with these tips from Angela Cody-Rouget, a.k.a. Major Mom, founder and CEO of Major Organizers in Greenwood Village. Forward march!

morning-routine

Courtesy iStock

BEFORE SCHOOL STARTS
Create a “command, control and communication center”: “We call it C3, and it’s where the calendars, schedules—everything everyone needs to get centered on what’s going on for the day—are posted in the heart of the home.”

Make zones for the kids’ stuff: “Have specific areas for backpacks, school papers, sports equipment, breakfast, lunch and any other items they need to gather in the morning. This will stop questions like, ‘Mom, where’s my field trip permission slip?’ Everyone in the house will know where to find everything.”

Create individualized morning plans: “Every child is different in terms of how he or she wants to do the morning—one schedule for everyone won’t work. Rather than controlling the order of events in the morning, you want to ensure the events have been accomplished. A week before school, sit down with each child and agree on a new morning routine for that school year, whether that’s a list with times for each task or a general plan to be completed within the morning timeframe. Write the list in the order that it needs to be done. For kids who can’t read yet, do charts with pictures. The morning school routine needs to start an hour to an hour and a half before you need to leave.”

Practice the routine: “Do this the week before school starts. The kids don’t need to pack lunch, but they do need to get up an hour and a half before school, make breakfast and get their bodies onto that schedule.”

ONCE SCHOOL STARTS
AT NIGHT 
Clean up for 15 minutes: “This is such a powerful routine to reset the house. For 15 minutes, everyone in the house—even parents—organizes and puts away his or her personal stuff. If the kids can walk and pick up toys, they can help.”

IN THE MORNING
No phones, computer or TV: It all stays off until the morning routine is done. “The thing that messes up mornings the most is electronics. My kids can only use their phone when they are ready. When I go downstairs and see my son is on his computer, my first question is, ‘Are you ready to walk out the door?’”

WHEN YOU’RE RUNNING LATE: “Do not scream, get pushy or say, ‘We’re late, we’re late, we’re late.’ That causes everyone to shut down. Stay calm, cool and collected and give a time warning such as, ‘We have five minutes until we are leaving.’ It helps children tremendously to have five-minute, three-minute and one-minute warnings.”

MAJOR ORGANIZERS
Angela Cody-Rouget, who served in the U.S. Air Force for 13 years, and her team organize homes, offices and family and time management in Colorado; Columbus, Ohio; and San Antonio. 866.693.6996

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