Unfortunately, unlike the title implies, we are late more frequently than I would like to admit. At least these days I can blame it on the kids 🙂 But of course there are times when being late is not just rude, but also causes stress and strive. Every school day, I need to get myself and my 3 year-old daughter ready and out the door, in a reasonable amount of time. For the first few month of the school year, mornings were stressful and it seemed that the later we were, the slower my daughter moved. And that of course meant that as my stress level rose, my patience diminished. That in return meant my daughter slowed down even more. It got to the point that something had to give: we either had to get up another 30 minutes earlier OR figure out a way to eliminate/reduce some of the stress. And since I like my sleep, we tried to figure out a way to remove some of the morning stressers.
The List: pinpointing our trouble-spot
In order to figure out how to fix the problem, we decided to write down a list of all the things that needed to happen in the morning and look at how each item could get us off track on our way out the door. In no particular order, here are the things that I (my daughter) needs to do to get out of the house in the morning.
- pack lunch
- get dressed
- eat breakfast
- brush teeth
- grab backpack
Of the items on the list, it was #2 that was most unpredictable for us. My daughter has very particular ideas about what she will wear and the ensuing arguments could derail an entire morning (No, you cannot wear a tank top dress when it’s freezing outside!?!). Fortunately, once we recognized that’s where things were going wrong, we were able to come up with a simple strategy to fix the issue. In our case, the first thing we tried was a simple change in our routine. Instead of trying to choose an outfit in the morning, we now pick the outfit at bedtime. Such a simple tweak, yet it has dramatically improved our mornings. Now mornings are not perfect, but the fights about the outfits have mostly disappeared. Now if she could just be trusted to pack her own lunch…
If you have a routine or task that isn’t working as well as you would like, consider making a list of the essential components. Sometimes just writing out such a list will allow you to pinpoint where things are going wrong. A simple tweak or change could make a big impact.