Friday, 17 April 2015

Jozi WAHM's Guide to Beating the Morning Rush

Life in Jozi is a rat race and everyone in has somewhere to be in the a.m. Whether you need to get to work, want to get to the gym bright and earlyor just to get the kids to school on time, the morning rush has to be tackled and conquered.

If you are the mom of the house, chances are that you are responsible for not just getting yourself done, but the rest of the family as well- a task easier said than done. Here are some tips for getting your family ready on time in the mornings calmly and without leaving you frazzled.

1. Get a good night's sleep (if you can).

I must admit that I am guilty of neglecting this one. My kids are poor sleepers and this means I do not get much sleep, but if you can get your eight hours in then you are far more likely to wake up on time. If you are the type of person who does not wake up when the alarm first goes, set it a few minutes earlier. 
Enforce childrens' bedtimes strictly so that they are not too tired to get up on time in the morning.
2. Make lunches the night before.
I prepare lunches just before bedtime and refrigerate. This is a huge time saver in the morning.
3. Clothing
Deciding what to wear in the morning takes up more time than you might think. Pick out clothes for the whole family the night before and leave the ironed out clothes out for the next morning. (Make a mental note of plan B outfits if the weather turns out different to anticipated).
 If your kids insist on picking out their own clothing (and do not wear school uniforms), make sure that your selection meets their approval. Do not forget to include underwear, socks and shoes as there is nothing that can slow things down like finding that one missing shoe at the last minute.
4. Pack in advance
Pack all school and work bags the night before and do a check that nothing has been forgotten. Pre-package lunch money for each day at the beginning of the week. Leave all the odds and ends that family members will need at the doorway out. This includes any extra-mural equipment, gym clothes, laptop bags, umbrellas and such.
5. Breakfast
If you eat breakfast as a family, set the table for breakfast the night before. Cereals, etc can be left covered, on the breakfast table, for easy access. If you eat foods that can be prepared beforehand, do so (for example my children love warm oatmeal so I prepare enough for three days a time and then refrigerate and just heat up and add milk when needed).
Put coffee and water in the coffee machine the night before so you just need to switch it on in the morning (or if you have a fancy one with a timer, use it).
6. Plan your route
Explore different routes to wherever you be in the morning until you find the one that works best. In Jozi morning traffic, the shortest route is often not the fastest route.
7. Be bathroom savvy.
Make sure everything you need in the bathroom in the morning is easily accessible. If family members need to share bathrooms, have an informal schedule as to who gets to go when.
8. Desperate times...
If you are really pressed for time, consider showering the night before (men can shave then night before too!)
9. The kids need to hurry too!
This is the most important one. As anyone with children knows, despite your best efforts, a day-dreaming or moody child can derail your plans of being on time. Here's how to keep them on track:
  • Have a structured morning routine. This helps children feel secure and keep things on track.
  • If you need to force them out of bed, cuddles and tickles are more likely to get your child to co-operate with you than screaming and shouting.
  • Keep them focused on the task by rewarding them for getting dressed quickly.
  •  Assign tasks like getting dressed alone or making cereal to children who are old enough. Give them a checklist with pictures of all the tasks that need to be completed, eg. brush teeth, get dressed, brush hair, eat breakfast.
  •  On those moody days when kids seem to be moving in reverse gear, fantasy play might be the best way forward (eg. in our house 'lets get the princess ready for the ball' is a favourite).
  • Enforce a no toys and no television rule during this crucial time window.
  • Have competitions to see who can get dressed or have breakfast the fastest. Use a stopwatch and let them try to beat their own best times.
  • Examine your own attitude. If you are flustered or moody in the morning, things are more likely to spiral out of control than if you handle the morning rush calmly and methodically.
Do you have any secret tips in your arsenal? We would love if you share them with us.