Before I pick back up with the planning series, I thought I’d share a few quick tips that we use during our morning routine to make things go a little bit smoother!
If there’s anything I dislike more than rushing around in the morning, it’s rushing around with a toddler in the morning! Although there are only a handful of days when I absolutely need to be out the door by a certain time, we still inevitably find ourselves scrambling to do that one last thing before we head out. [Side note: If you haven’t read my other posts, Mike stays home with Ellie and we’re a one car family, so we have some flexibility in terms of time, but I do rely on Mike to drop me off at the train station.] Today I’m sharing some of the things that help us get out of the house in one piece in the morning.
Wear a robe. Toddlers are messy, especially when eating. They can sense if you’re wearing clothes that you don’t want to get dirty! Ellie loves giving me a great big hug and rubbing her (usually food covered) face into my clothes. Love the hug, don’t love having to change my outfit. Put on a robe and my clothes stay clean (see pic of my current robe above)! This also works for anyone who might be a little clumsy with their food (*cough* *cough* me!). I have spilled food on myself countless times and my robe has saved me from an outfit change.
Get everything ready the night before. Lay out your clothes, get your bag packed, get your lunch packed/ready to go, etc. This goes for everyone in the house, not just the person going to work.
Pick out a few clothing choices for your toddler. Instead of letting Ellie loose in her closet, we find it helpful to pick out a few options. This gives her a choice while also preventing her from pulling every single item of clothing out of the drawers (not saying this won’t happen anyway, but it at least reduces the chance!).
Don’t have other clothes in view when getting your toddler dressed. If your kid loves to play with clothes or has very particular opinions about what to wear, don’t get them dressed where they can see their clothes! When we get Ellie ready in the kitchen vs. her bedroom, things go oh so much better! When we get her dressed in her bedroom she will inevitably find something else that she wants to wear and will pitch a fit until we do an outfit change.
Check public transit (or traffic). There have been a handful of times where I’ve gotten to the train station only to find out they are running shuttle buses because there’s a mechanical issue... not a huge deal but it can potentially make a difference in being late vs. on time for a meeting. Or there was another time where they switched up the departure times on me (I didn’t ride the train all summer) so I missed the train by a minute and was late for our program’s orientation, oops!
Eat! This goes for you and your kid. We are big breakfast people... eggs, sweet potatoes, broccoli, smoothie, sometimes toast. Ellie can go from miserable to wonderful in a matter of minutes after we get food in her in the morning. Food makes a huge difference in all of our moods in the morning (Mike and I included)!
Bring books for the car ride. Often the last thing Ellie wants to do is take a break from playing to drop me off at the train station. “Bribing” her into the car with books can be a helpful way to get her in the car.
Keep your plans to yourself. Ellie does not like it if we mention what she and Mike are doing after they drop me off... for example if Mike is planning to hit up story time and we mention it to Ellie (thinking she’ll get excited) she’ll emphatically scream, “NO!” So we don’t say anything and they drop me off and go to the library and she’s fine. Ah, toddlers! Just don’t talk about your plans, or really anything at all, and you’ll be fine!
Pad your schedule like woah. Always!
Repeat your morning mantra before you leave the house. For me it’s... Phone. Wallet. Keys. Whatever your essentials are, repeat them to yourself before you leave the house and make sure you physically see or touch them before you leave. I figure if I have these three things I can either get back into the house (or my office) to get what I need, or drive/walk/transit back to where I need to go, or call somebody, or buy whatever it is I’m missing.
Portable potty. If you have a toddler who is potty trained and you don’t have a potty in your car or that you can carry with you in a bag, get one! It’s not as much of a necessity now that Ellie is a bit more seasoned, but our little potty has come in handy SO much since we did potty training this past summer.
If you work from home, have a transition activity. If you work at home (like I sometimes do), I find that having some sort of transition activity to signify the start of work is helpful. Some suggestions: meditation, taking a quick walk, getting all of the clutter out of your head with free writing... just something to signify the end of home time and the beginning of work time, I’m all about boundaries!
Time yourself. It’s always helpful to know exactly how long it takes you to get ready and out the door in the morning. Time yourself so you have a sense for how long it takes you and then adjust your schedule accordingly.
What helps you make it through the morning in one piece?