Color & Control:

Getting things done

In our family, I’ve always been the target of good-natured teasing about my approach to life. Whether it’s getting up in the morning, striving to arrive at work early, or coaching youngsters, I’m the type of person who prefers to keep things moving—hopefully, of course, in the right direction.

As a busy working mother of three, and now a grandmother to five, I came to realize that moving forward too quickly or adhering to a rigid schedule can be more overwhelming for some of my kids than others. Understanding each child’s unique needs and disposition was, I learned, the key to daily planning and success. 

Having a routine and an organized plan, albeit flexible, made all the difference in our house and, hopefully, will work for yours too. Here are some suggestions that can help you navigate your mornings and perhaps other parts of your day with greater serenity and less stress.

1) Plan For the Weather: Check the forecast to organize and lay out suitable outfits, coats, and footwear ahead of time. This will save you precious minutes in the mornings.

2) Rise a Bit Earlier: Consider getting yourself up half an hour or so earlier to allow time to get ready before your kids wake up.

3) Fuel Up in Advance: Refuel your vehicle either over the weekend or the night before scheduled activities, work, or school. 

4) Charge Up Overnight: Ensure all devices (phones, laptops, and tablets) are charged overnight to keep everyone powered up and out the door on time.

5) Streamline Lunch and Bag Packing: Incorporate packing lunches and bags into your family’s evening routine to reduce morning stress and last-minute searches.

6) Prep Breakfast Essentials: Set up the breakfast table ahead of time with easy options like cereal, toast, milk, yogurt, or fruit. Consider making pancake mix or a smoothie the night before for a quick morning meal.

7) Create Order: Encourage your kids to wake up, get dressed, fix their hair, and brush their teeth before eating, making breakfast the final step before heading out.

Perfection is elusive, but making an effort to incorporate a few new small practices into your daily routine will lead to increased inner calm and outer order. My guess is that these changes will also help reduce at least some of the chaos and pave the way for more joyful days ahead.

Caroline Tapp-McDougall

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