The Daycare Drop-Off – Getting Kids Out the Door Without Losing Your Sanity
As the mama of six children between the ages of three and twelve, I know the challenges of getting little people out the door in the morning. I often describe organizing children as “herding cats”. Working mamas have hectic mornings which are often a blur of breakfast cereal and backpacks. By the time kiddos have eaten, been dressed and dropped off at daycare, the working mama arrives at work feeling as though she’s already put in a full day– yet it’s just beginning! Avoid that feeling by making a few changes that will take the chaos out of your morning!
1) Organization starts with you:
– Have everything organized the night before: backpacks ready to go, cereal on the table, clothes laid out. If I’m tired at night and my little voice tells me to procrastinate doing a task until the morning, I quickly shush that voice and do what needs to get done.
– Divide and conquer! Make sure you and your partner have divided up duties and communicated them with each other to make for peaceful mornings…you know, the kind of mornings when you’re not barking orders at each other and the kids.
– Working moms have the extra hassle of actually having to get out the door looking professional and put together. Get ready before your kids wake up, but stay in your robe until the very last minute. It’s a great way to avoid arriving at work and noticing baby vomit on your suit jacket.
2) Train kids to be independent:
Sometimes it is just easier to do things for the kiddos – we know that if we do the job, it will be done quickly, efficiently and without mess. But this is short-term thinking. If you take the time to train and encourage kids to be independent, it will be your best investment. Patience is required, but there are great tools out there that can assist you. I use the Ready, Set, Go Board with my little ones so they can manage their morning routines. The picture icons are perfect for pre-readers and children feel pretty darn good about themselves when they have big kid responsibilities.
3) Organize their “stuff”:
Being the co-founder of Mabel’s Labels is probably a good indicator that I like kids’ belongings to be organized. Parents love saving time by not having to search out a missing running shoe, pair of mittens or sippy cup. Once labeled, these items inevitably get found and put in the appropriate backpack or cubbie by staff members and caregivers. Parents save money by not having to replace lost items and it’s never too early to start teaching children stewardship over their belongings!
Hopefully a few of these tips will help you arrive at your office ready to face the workday with energy – and removing as much morning chaos as humanly possible makes for a positive start of the day for every family member!
Julie Cole is the Co-founder of Mabel’s Labels Inc. (www.mabel.ca) and the proud mom of six. You can read her blogs at www.mabelhood.com and www.thebabymachine.com. Follow her on twitter: @juliecole