How to de-stress the morning routine

Do you battle five days out of seven to get your kids dressed, fed and ready for school? Kate Farr’s sneaky survival tips will help you transform those manic mornings.

Ask any busy parent to list their number-one family headache, and they’re liable to tell you that keeping tabs on the morning schedule is up there with mastering astrophysics, i.e. nearimpossible. If keeping all those balls in the air is making you wish for octopus arms, then it’s time to cheat your way to organisational bliss with these savvy shortcuts.

Dress for success

The first step is to ensure that the majority of your prep is done the night before. Get your kids to help you lay out their uniform and any accessories – such as hair clips – before bed, bag up the smaller items in a drawstring pouch and hang everything on the back of the door.

If space is at a premium, gather up all the items needed, lay them on a flat surface, such as a bed, and then roll them all up into one neat package before stashing it in a drawer. Rolling, rather than folding, ensures that clothes remain crease free (always un-ball socks first), and leaves you with a neat, grab-and-go package that eliminates the frantic morning search. Note – this also works well for Mum and Dad’s outfits and saves valuable time.

Swerve the inevitable shoes-on-thewrong-feet panic by putting two halves of a sticker in your kids’ shoes. They just need to match the halves to ensure that the shoes are on correctly!

Best face forward

While the kids are getting dressed, you’ve got approximately three-and-a-half minutes to tackle your hair and make-up for the day.If you like to wash your hair in the morning, invest in a microfibre towel to wrap around your hair as you leave the shower. This will soak up any excess water quickly, significantly speeding up your blow-dry. No time for a washand-blow dry? Dry shampoo, or, in a pinch, baby powder to the rescue! Apply sparingly to oily roots, rub through, then brush out with a natural bristle brush for fresh(ish) hair that will see you through the day.

Finally, to avoid lipstick on your teeth, after application always put your finger in your mouth, close your lips around it then pop it out. Any excess colour will cling to your finger, rather than your teeth.

Eat smart

In an ideal world we’d all love to linger over long family breakfasts of pancakes, eggs and hot coffee… but back to reality, where everyone is halfway out of the door as soon as the alarm rings. How to ensure that everyone is fuelled up and ready to face the day?

Batch-cook crêpes in advance, then load up with chopped fruit, nut butters, cottage cheese… the options are endless. Substitute regular flour for quinoa, coconut or chia flour for a high-protein hack that will keep hunger at bay until lunchtime.

Alternatively, smoothies are always a popular choice, with near-endless varieties to explore. Simply throw in your choice of fruit (bags of frozen fruit work well here), veggies, perhaps some seeds and some protein (tofu gives a lovely creamy texture if dairy’s off the menu), press go, then run.

Another perpetual headache is the packed lunch, but again, massproduction is the name of the game to save time. Batch-make sandwiches then freeze (defrost overnight in the fridge). You can also freeze juice boxes and water bottles for refreshing break-time drinks that double as cool packs, and portion off several small pots of raisins, carrot sticks and grapes to throw in at the last minute. Finally, ensuring that each child has two lunchboxes – one in use and one ready to go – enables you to pack for the next day at leisure and also saves stress if your kiddo forgets his box at school.

On your bike…

… Your scooter, or even your feet! If you struggle to find time for a morning workout, then incorporating the school run into your exercise regime can save you time and money too! Of course, here in DB, there are always certain times of year when it’s either lashing it down with rain or sweltering hot, however this time of year is ideal for walking, biking or scooting with the kids to school. Throw on your workout gear and head straight out of the door – that way you won’t get sidetracked with other items on the to-do list.

Walking to school is also a sneaky way to encourage kids to get moving without even realising they’re exercising, which is ideal for wouldbe couch potatoes. If they still need encouragement, then an active game, be it racing to the next fire hydrant, measuring who can jump the highest – or even Pokémon Go – makes the journey a little more fun.

Now you’ve reclaimed your morning routine with these easy hacks, hitting the snooze button may once again become a realistic option. Enjoy!

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