I recently read a blog post that really spoke to me. It was this one – The Day I Stopped Saying Hurry Up by Hands Free Mama. As I was reading this post all I could hear was my own voice barking, ‘Hurry Up!,’ as sometime during the last few months I had fallen into the trap of hurrying us through our morning routine. There are all sorts of reasons this had happened but upon reflection I realised that in our case many of those reasons were because of my own lack of organisation and general stress levels. Sure, my girls both have mornings where they are less co-operative for whatever reason, but much of our angst was my reactions rather than their behaviour. And as I suggested in my Dealing with Attitude post, changing your own response as the adult in the situation often results in a powerful effect on the behaviour of your beloved, smaller family members.
The other thing I realised was that my ‘Hurry up!’ really wasn’t helping in any way, shape or form. We weren’t getting anywhere any faster, and we would all just end up leaving the house a lot grumpier than was necessary.
So I banned myself from saying ‘Hurry up!’
When I shared Hands Free Mama’s post with my Facebook community one question that I was asked was how I was avoiding saying ‘hurry up,’ especially when we had to be somewhere time sensitive.
Now I certainly don’t have all of the answers (in fact, many of the other community members shared their great ideas, some of which I have also included below) but this is what is working for us so far.
- Just the act of making a commitment to avoid saying, ‘Hurry up,’ has made me more mindful of my general mood and stress level. This self awareness means I often find myself taking a breath and reminding myself that I have a choice in how to respond whenever I am feeling frustrated.
- Where I have struggled to prepare the night before because once the girls are in bed I work before collapsing exhausted into bed (usually just an hour or so before my small girl’s first wake up for the night if I am lucky), I have incorporated a few small shifts into our evening routine that are making a difference to the morning. These include making sure Immy’s complete uniform is laid out, that her diary and anything else that can be pre-packed is dealt with and in her bag, and asking Immy what she wants in her lunch box the following day. Although I am not packing her lunch in the evening it does mean I don’t have to wait on her to get a response in the morning, especially if she is sleeping in or wakes grumpy.
- I am trying to be up and at least mostly ready myself before the girls wake up.
- In the mornings I typically check my emails and social media accounts first thing. Now, if I oversleep it has to wait as the computer goes off and the phone away once the girls are awake and stay that way until the school run is done.
- I am using incentives, reminding Immy that if she gets ready without distraction that she will have time for a little play before we leave.
- I know I have mentioned them before, but our routine cards (which are printable if you are interested in a copy of your own) continue to be a really effective way to keep Immy on track with a whole lot less angst. The cards relevant to the morning routine hang on our bathroom door in the order that they need to be completed and they serve as a great reminder of what needs to happen next.
- I am faking it til I make it, being overly cheery, singing and laughing, adding in a bit of slapstick comedy or a joke or two to keep things light, which really seems to be helping.
When I asked on Facebook for the community members’ top tips for getting out the door as smoothly as possible, these were some of the more creative responses;
- Jess: I set two alarms on my phone with different ‘songs’. The first to go off is the “10 minutes to go” alarm. This usually gets my daughter moving if she’s having a slow morning as she knows the second “ready or not” alarm means we’re leaving whether she’s ready or not. She’s been to school with messy, unbrushed hair once, and she’s eaten breakfast in the car a couple of times but she’s NEVER turned up at school in pyjamas so I’m calling it a successful system. It really helped me to stress less in the morning and put the responsibility back on to her to be ready for her day.
- Lilly: Giving the kids warning, at least twice, and then setting them a task a minute or two before “Sam can you put your shoes on before we go” “Amelie would you like to bring the book or are you putting it away?” I also lose it a little with the time it takes to move to the car but ‘missions’ for them seems to help me seem less like a headless chook.
- Kirsty: We have some success with ‘shops’.. The girls go to the clothes shop to get dressed, the shoe shop for shoes and the the taxi queue for the car. Plus the cafe (for brekky), the hairdresser and the beauty salon (clean teeth and wash face).
- Amanda: We made a game style chart for the girls to work through each morning. This was a great way to get them in the routine of doing all the things needed to get out the door. You choose a marker, start at the bottom and move your way as you do the routine. When you get to the GO space you’re ready to go.
I would love to hear your ideas. What are your top tips for getting out of the door on time, that don’t involve ‘hurry up!’?