Evening Routine Saves the Day

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Evening Routine Saves the DayMy 9-year-old daughter and I run on different clocks.  I’m go, go, go and she’s whoa, whoa, whoa. 

For example, when we ran 5ks together she was filling her pockets with chestnuts, jumping in piles of leaves, or rolling down hills.  On the other hand I was all about the clock, secretly wanting to enjoy the journey a little more like she does. 

Needless to say, when I have to get her out the door on time to meet the school bus we don’t always agree on the best plan to achieve that goal.

Our morning routines consisted of petty fights about brushing her hair, not committing to an outfit, and dilly-dallying about eating her breakfast.  We would yell and she would leave angry. 

I would stand at the door devastated, disappointed in myself for losing my cool even after a morning meditation and yoga practice. Ultimately the fear that something would happen to one of us during the day would arise.  What if the morning’s scene would be the last thing we remembered? Kind of like the last things you say to your spouse before they go on TDY or deploy, or that age-old marriage advice about not going to bed angry…you want to make sure you leave them with a positive message or feeling.

To get a handle on things, I returned to Flylady, the habits and routines fairy that taught me what I needed to know about housekeeping when I was a new bride.  I picked three things from her evening routine and added them to my daughter’s bedtime schedule.  She didn’t mind.  She usually embraces anything that will let her go to bed just a little bit later.

  1. Lay out clothes.  I have her pick out not only her clothes, but her shoes and outerwear as well.  We have been known to squabble about every single thing that goes on her body in the morning.
  2. Put things needed for the next day by the door.  I have her make a pile by the front door that includes her backpack (with homework, library books, folders, notes, flute, band book, etc.), shoes, and outerwear.  This way there is no last minute scrambling when it’s time to leave the house.  Having her put these items by the door not only saves time, but she is learning to be responsible for her own things. 
  3. Spend two minutes picking up.  She leaves things all over the house and her room is not tidy, leaving me to pick up after her.  With full days of my own, I’m having a hard time picking up after everybody.   She is a part of this household and by getting her to pick up after herself she is doing her part to keep up the house.

When she follows this routine before bed, we have peaceful mornings.  We can talk over breakfast and even have some time to review spelling words or multiplication facts.  No fights.  I can’t believe what a difference three little steps make.

What is the most stressful thing about your mornings?