Do you dread childcare mornings and wonder how you can be more efficient and organised when sending your kids to childcare?
Do you often stare in envious awe at “those people” who breeze into childcare with neat hair, flawless makeup and an immaculately ironed shirt with their serene and equally neat and groomed children in tow?
Surely you have encountered those people who seem unfazed by the daily task of getting out of the door and into the car on time minus the weet-bix crusted faces or half-dressed children? You can almost hear Julie Andrews singing in an Austrian field as they place the bag in the locker, kiss their child goodbye then Viennese waltz out the door again in only 5 mins….
Well we have a secret for you. All it takes is a little bit of groundwork to get organised and some tips on motivation and you too can be dancing your very own morning waltz.
1. Pre-pack the bag
Whilst it is tempting to dump the childcare bag in the corner as soon as you walk in the door, it is useful to make a habit of dealing with it immediately. At the very least we would recommend that you unzip it and deal with a few issues before you retire to the couch for some primetime TV relaxation. Place any dirty clothes into the washing basket and replenish them with clean ones, empty out lunchboxes and milk or drink bottles and then read and respond to the required correspondence as necessary. Re-stocking the childcare bag in preparation for the next day will avoid the chaotic morning preparatory rush and importantly avoids the musty morning surprise of soiled clothing that has been sweating in a plastic bag overnight.
2. Lay out the clothes and shoes for the next day
Get the clothing for the next day sorted out the night before. This saves you time and also gives your older child the opportunity dress themselves and saves a few more precious minutes. It also helps to deal with the morning dilemma of “but I don’t wanna wear THAT!” How often do we hear our children loudly and indignantly announce that the parental choice of attire is not in accordance with their vision of self-expression for that day? Whether they truly do have an alternative view or whether it is simply an easy way to see their parents squirm, dealing with a child that doesn’t want to get dressed in the morning is frustrating at best. If you have a child that is particular with their clothes, lay out a couple of outfits and get them to choose which they like best. Better still, get your child to choose the two outfits the night before and let them decide what takes their fancy in the morning.
3. Use a Get-Up-and-Go chart
Children from three years onwards may benefit from the use of a get-up-and-go reward chart that helps them gain independence and motivation to comply with everyday tasks like brushing teeth, eating breakfast, putting on shoes etc. The complexity and number of tasks can be tailored for the age and maturity of the child and if you are arty/crafty, you can make the chart together as a fun afternoon activity! There are a number of websites with templates and tips on how to make the chart. Surf around and see what appeals to you and your children. http://www.supernanny.co.uk/reward-charts/-/get-up-and-go/-/get-up-and-go-supernanny-superstars-reward-chart.aspx
4. Aim to leave the house early every day
Keep working towards leaving the house five minutes before you actually need to be out the door. Make sure you give yourself enough time to do the drop-off at the childcare centre without the need to weave in and out of traffic like Enzo Ferrari in order to get to your work desk on time. A calmer arrival at the childcare centre can often mean a calmer child and one who is more likely to be happy when waving goodbye as mum walks out the door.
5. Get yourself organised first
If you are a person who can resist the urge to press the snooze button on the alarm then getting out of bed before the children wake up can be extremely helpful in making your mornings run smoother. Having a shower and getting dressed without the interruption of “MMMUUUUUUMMMMMMMYYYYY” can put you in a good frame of mind and allow you to achieve more in a shorter space of time. Even if you are not a fan of rising early, we urge you to give it a go! We think you just might be convinced.
6. Avoid/limit the TV
It isn’t a secret that when the TV is on children can be easily distracted and simple tasks like eating breakfast have the potential to drag on for longer than necessary. Try a week of no TV in the morning and see if this helps you get out the house on time or even better, earlier than planned! If you don’t want to go cold turkey on the TV, limit it to only when all tasks related to the children are complete and then use the TV time to get things done that don’t involve the kids.
7. Make it fun
As a kid (and even for adults), the mundane and routine tasks like brushing your teeth every day or having your hair done can seem pointless. Try to approach these tasks with an upbeat voice and a positive attitude and even make it into a game. Children are more likely to want to “play” with mummy and this can also be linked back to the reward chart mentioned earlier.
8. Stay calm
With all the tips and advice on getting organised you are well on your way to a calmer morning but we understand, mornings can be very frustrating as a parent who is trying to get to work on time. If you find yourself in the midst of “chaos” and it all seems really hard, try to stay calm and regain your control as in the grand scheme of life, is it really worth being stressed about? Sure, it is nice to consistently have an organised morning but be prepared and accepting of the fact that there are just going to be days where for whatever reason this doesn’t happen. Stay calm and affirm that tomorrow will be a better morning. Kids feed off negative energy so the most effective way to get back on track quickly is to take a few deep breaths and carry on.
Implementing some or all of the above can assist you in becoming more organised before childcare and help you experience the Zen-like childcare drop-off that you desire and quite frankly you deserve! We all know that when childcare drop-off goes smoothly, well…. there isn’t a problem that you won’t be able to conquer in the world! ☺
This post is brought to you by Empty Spot Childcare, a free, Australia-wide online booking website, where parents can book casual and last minute childcare placements in their local area – 24/7.