Wednesday, 17 December 2014
Rise and Shine
People often ask how we manage (on the whole actually, but a particular query is how things go in the mornings!) My eldest two went to early years school for a couple of years and I actually found it more stressful and anxious back then; trying to get the correct items of clothing on (and trying not to be caught out by fundraising non-uniform or Christmas jumper days)... putting up packed lunches and making sure we had them... gathering up all the right pieces of homework and reading books... PE kits in the correct school bags... instruments for the day... babies bundled up and strapped into the pram/buggy... making sure they had their dinner money and remembering if they needed extra money for the regular fundraising or charity days or book fairs... remembering if today was the special reading breakfast I had to attend with the siblings or the trip out or parents' evening or the parents' curriculum briefing... trying to be pleasant to neighbours and familiar faces who stopped to greet us and chat and worrying about getting there on time... worrying that I was leaving my small children in the care of people I did not truly know...
So, as for tips on how to make mornings easier... I will have to bite my tongue on the major thing we expelled from our lives which makes our mornings run more smoothly!
Our morning routine evolved as each of the children came along and as they all grew. It pretty much always included, give or take a few mornings, some radio to help it along. I do not mean pounding music, bombastic voices and caffeine-fuelled (surely!) japes... that stuff would give me a headache to start the day with, and it doesn't really create the sort of atmosphere that sets the kids for a good day of learning and interacting with each other. We went through a phase when my first children were very little of CBeebies Radio until they grew and it since became podcasts which I cannot warm to as much. But ever since, we have used the fabulous....
It has original stories, classic novels and tales, fairy tales, children's poetry and rhymes, and bible stories. It is free but you can donate to the website. My children love listening to a Storynory first thing. It starts things off calmly as they all troop into the family room, some sleepy and some full of beans! It allows all of us to come around to the day nicely together. There is plenty of time for running around outdoors after morning lessons to run off steam, then there will be time for calming down again ready to start in the afternoon.
We all have around an hour (depending on when each of us tumbles or bounces out of bed) of free time including the Storynory time. I like to read the previous day's Daily Focus email which often gives me a much-needed kick-start - I try to avoid reading the news until later in the day as it sets me off in the wrong temper. Then breakfast gets going and a quick tidy before starting the day, hopefully (though not all of us or always!) bright-eyed and bushy-tailed by 9am! A big help is to keep breakfast simple on most days... cereal or a big plate of toast and the fruit bowl out for the children to help themselves; tidying as we go and keeping work to a minimum also plays a major part in our sanity!