Avoiding the Morning Grumpies

Read about being a mother of 12 as our resident 'Supermom' shares her wise parenting advice.

Sometimes my household seems like a three-ring circus and mornings in particular can be hectic. Trying to get the children washed, dressed, fed, out the door on time and with lunches and book bags to boot can equal mayhem in even the most tranquil of homes. Here are some of the more helpful ideas I've discovered through the years of raising my large family of 12 children.

Ask them what they like in their lunches.
Before you do your grocery shopping, ask the children what they would like you to buy for their school lunches. If they ask for a pricey item, reassure them that although it's not in the budget this week, you will keep an eye out for sales. They will feel so good when you finally buy that item for them. As they take the special lunch to school they will walk out the door with a smile, knowing that you thought about them. That's the best start to the day any child can have.

Pick out school clothes at night.
Make sure your child has clean clothes (socks included!) so mornings don't include panic about how they will look and, er, smell. Picking out school clothes at night is par for the course, but I find that it's difficult to keep it going for long. You might take time after school to discuss how to match clothes to make good-looking outfits.

Give your child a special shelf for school books.
Give your child a special shelf for school books, notebooks, and school-related paraphernalia. Affix his schedule to the fridge and help him check to make sure he has everything he needs for that day in his book bag.

If they can't eat in the morning, offer them hot cocoa.
Some kids have a hard time eating much in the mornings, so pack a plentiful lunch. Children who don't like to eat can often be tempted with a drink of milk or hot cocoa.

Brushing teeth with mint toothpaste boosts energy!
Scientists have proven that the smell of mint has an energizing effect. Make sure your child brushes his teeth with a pea sized amount (a larger amount can be poisonous!) of mint-flavored toothpaste.

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