To make our weekday (School) mornings flow a bit more gentler I have been making small changes to our daily rhythm. Initially, when my daughter first started school, we were all really just finding our feet and adjusting to all the changes. Now I am doing my best to slow our days however possible.
Mornings; addressing the causes of rush; Many times, we have all slept in late, we have rushed to pack school bags and lunches, rushed to get dressed and rushed to eat breakfast with little to no time to just breathe and relax before heading out the door. Not fun. That is definitely not how I would like our mornings to start.
Some changes we have now made to give my children more time in the mornings;
- My daughter (4.5 years) packs her school bag the night before. My toddler son helps me pack a bag of spare clothes for him the night before as well which then goes straight into the car so we don’t forget them.
- Both of my children help to pack their lunch boxes the night before which are then put into the fridge. This is something they just love to do each day.
With bags and lunches already packed, there is just time needed for eating breakfast, brushing teeth and hair and getting dressed before school. My daughter likes to get dressed as soon as she wakes, then have breakfast, brush teeth and then play. This morning there was a spare hour to just run around outside before we had to drive to school. I know an hour doesn’t sound like much, but it’s much better than the sometimes 15 minutes if lucky spare time we had before.
Something I am now trying to do is to wake up before everyone else for that little bit of extra time. I will often have a large glass of water with a bit of fresh lemon and then do some morning Yoga style stretches. If anyone else happens to be up early (usually my toddler) they sometimes join in as well. It makes all the difference starting my day. I don’t think I would have done this when my son was younger as I valued any extra sleep I could get.
During the day; School drop off and pick up with a toddler.
School drops off and pick up Isn’t always fun for a younger sibling. I found it hard at times when my daughter first started school as my son didn’t always enjoy the car ride and school pick up always seemed to cut into his day nap time. Plus he missed his sister. Things are much more easier now at his age as he loves the car ride and enjoys picking up his sister from school. I think this is all easier because he now knows many of the other children and parents and also goes to the school’s Montessori toddler class once a week as well so he feels included in the whole process. My daughter is also slowly transitioning to longer school days, so our days vary as to what time pick up is, but I will write more about that in a separate post down the track.
What I focus on during the day with my son whilst my daughter is at school, is ensuring his basic needs are met as best as possible (food/drink, sleep/rest and time for play). Sounds easy enough, but sometimes or somethings don’t always go according to plan.
Food and drink; Having my son’s lunch and snacks already made the night before helps to save time during the day, but also great in case of visitors or If we have to go somewhere. I don’t always plan our days ahead of time. Sometimes after school drop off in the morning and If the weather is nice we may go to a park, or somewhere else and it’s nice to have food with us just in case. I do the same with drinks. My son and I have a stainless steel water bottle each filled up which I carry with us whenever we leave the house. Both bottles fit into a back pack which I will carry spare clothes and hats as well.
Sleep/rest; I have a good idea when my son is due for a sleep, not just with signs of tiredness but my son Is also great at telling me that he is tired and wants to sleep. Of course it’s much nicer for us to be at home so my son can sleep in his own bed, but If we are not able to be at home, I ensure when possible that we are then in the car so he can rest somewhat comfortably. This may mean leaving for school pick up early so he has more time to sleep. My son is going through phasing out his day naps, so does not always want nor need one. Each day is different so we just try to go with the flow.
Movement/Time for play; Lots of freedom of movement and plenty of free time to play is easy when at home. But when we need to be at the school, sometimes after morning drop offs or after pick up in the afternoon If I feel my toddler needs to run around before getting back in the car to go home, then we will do so. Sometimes my daughter also wants to stay back and play in the playground rather than go straight home. It can be so easy to become impatient and just want to get home quickly, but there is also that sense of peace to just slow down and not rush and allow my children time and space. If we are not at home or at the school, but need to be somewhere, I always try to find opportunities for my son to run around. We have some of our favourite places we like to visit and there is lots of sunshine and fresh air and space to move. Not just great for my son but great for me as well.