Avoid Early Morning Stress

It's 6:30 a.m. and the "rise and shine" song bellows through the house as the little squeaks and groans respond to the early morning alarm.

It's time to get the little one's ready for school/daycare and make sure they are properly dressed and fed before running out the door. You can either fly by the seat of your pants and hope that everything is taken care of, or you can follow a few simple steps to make your mornings fun and stress-free.courtesy:ehow.com

> Get out clothing the night before: For babies, make sure you have all of their diapering items available and ready for use. For toddlers, get out their entire outfit including socks and shoes and stack them neatly in a place where you will dress them first thing. For your older children, encourage them (well...make them) get out their own clothes, shoes, and socks for the next day. This will help teach them responsibility and show them how to plan. It is critical that each sock and each shoe be located the night before because these lost items seem to be the major culprit when it comes to frenzied morning chaos. Keep the television off until all children are fully dressed and ready. Without fail, the TV slows morning activities to a screeching halt, so keep it off until all kids are fully dressed.

> Prepare breakfast the night before: For babies, get the formula and bottles ready for quick early morning preparation and have prepared any bottles that need to go to daycare. Get these prepared bottles into the diaper bag along with other necessary items for the babysitter, and it will all be ready to go with you as you walk out the door. For the older kids, have their breakfast ready the night before the extent that you can. It is wise to get out bowls, spoons and even pour the cereal into the bowls the night before. Once the kids are completely dressed, they can find the milk, and pour it onto their own cereal and you can spend the time enjoying them and talking to them about their upcoming day.

> Homework: Set a rule that all homework must be done immediately after school so that there aren't any last minute efforts at 7:25 a.m. the next day to finish up. Make sure the kids have all necessary paperwork and assignments in their backpacks before bed, and then have the kids put them in a convenient place so they aren't frantically searching for it in the morning.

> Bond: Spend the mornings bonding with your kids as opposed to participating a daily scavenger hunt for necessary items that always seem to evaporate when you are in a hurry. It is well worth it!

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