The Morning Rush

I’ve seen a lot of really great blogs and articles lately encouraging parents to slow down, enjoy watching your kids smell the roses and resist hurrying your child. That’s really neat in theory and I do love this philosophy. I recognize that my three-year-old has no sense of time and no internal feelings of urgency yet. I’d bet a large percentage of adult anxiety stems from feelings regarding time and I sure wouldn’t want this to be something my kids are worried about at this age.

“Children think not of what is past, nor what is to come, but enjoy the present time, which few of us do.”– Jean de La Bruyère

We’ve been so lucky to have my parents up from Florida and living in our neighborhood for the last 6 months. It’s made our lives so much easier to have my mother taking care of our infant daughter at our home, allowing us to save money and have only one drop off and pickup. But now that they’re heading back home I’ll need to get into a new morning routine and get a three-year-old, a baby and myself out the door by 6:45am, five days a week. My husband leaves for work around the time I’ll get the kids up so any help from him is really out of the question. Just like the anxiety of going back to work did 6 months ago, this is what is consuming me these days. How will I ever deliver my children to their respective schools dressed and fed and still get to work by 8am? How will it be getting the three year old out of the car, into the 9-month old’s daycare for drop off and then back in the car to go to her school? And it’s wintertime! In reality, the going back to work anxiety was WAY worse than the actual going back to work ended up being. I hope it’s the same with this transition as well.

I went to an amazing seminar at my daughter’s school a few weeks ago (Montessori for Practical Life) and one of the things they stressed is that if a child can do something themselves, you should let them do it (unless they ask for help). I want to empower her to do things by herself, but sometimes it’s just so much more efficient for me to do them for her! It’s so hard to be patient while you’re watching her count out exactly three squares of toilet paper or when she’s trying to get that last little bit of toothpaste out of the tube. I’ve been working on phrases I’ll try to use to ease her into the next phase of our morning routine without losing my cool. It’s tough. We recently switched things up so she gets dressed, goes potty and brushes teeth before breakfast. And if there’s not enough time we’ll just take a small breakfast in the car. It’s not a punishment, but if we run out of time, that’s just how it is.

We have a super cool, big, gigantic whale (at the kids’ museum) on our way to school and sometimes I promise to drive her into the driveway to see it if she will cooperate and keep moving in the morning – whatever works right? What works to keep your kids on track in the mornings? Do you have any easy, car friendly breakfast ideas for me? Are you successful at hurrying without hurrying? I’m guessing I’m not the only mom who’s struggling with this.


6 thoughts on “The Morning Rush

  1. Right now i have it admittedly easy because the nanny comes to our house just as I am leaving and takes over the morning routine where I left off. Next year, we will be without a nanny and will have two kids in two different schools. I’m already stressing about it. My husband also leaves before the routine starts.

    What works for me is having as much done the night before as possible. All clothes picked out, all lunches packed, coffee ready to go in the pot, sometimes I’ll even have my breakfast ready and in the fridge. Sometimes the planning works, sometimes it backfires. I consider my morning a success if I’ve left for work on time and the kids have been fed and dressed by the time I leave. That rarely happens.

    As for car breakfast: granola bars, banana or apple, all fruit roll ups, and smoothies would all travel nicely.


  2. First of all, good luck with your transition. I’m sure you’ll nail it!
    To answer your question about car friendly breakfast ideas, I have found that anything in a wrap is good and limits the crumbs. My boys like egg wraps (warm up the tortilla in a frying pan on the stove for ~15 secs each side, microwave an egg for ~45 secs or until cooked, put some cheese on the egg, put it in tortilla, wrap and go), or peanut butter and jelly, cream cheese and jelly, etc. I like Natures Promise whole wheat tortillas from Stop&Shop. Seem a little healthier, but who knows.


  3. While it’s not a fool proof solution I made a chart that has pictures of a shirt, pants, toothbrush, shoes, bowl of cereal and a backpack. I slipped it into a clear sleeve and gave him a dry erase marker. Every day we grab the chart to look at what else he needs to do and put an x through it once it’s done. It’s his responsibility to do all that stuff and only after it’s done (and before we need to leave) can he do other things- like play, read books etc. It doesn’t always make it faster but it does allow him to accomplish something and take ownership with some aspects of his morning routine. And it keeps me from nagging. Instead I just hand him the chart and a marker and we can talk through what he’s already done.


    1. As I was ready your article – the thing that came to mind was the picture system of what needs to be done each morning. When I got to the bottom, I saw Colleen’s note with basically the same strategy. The other thing I found worked with Matthew was an incentive if he got done ahead of schedule that he had time to do what he wanted to do. He was a bit older, but it’s along the line of the stopping to see the whale. What does your child find motivational.


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