I started this post literally a decade ago. I thought I had morning routines down to a science. I wanted to share with you all how I distressed my family’s school morning routine. Couldn’t we all use a less stressful morning getting everyone ready and out the door?!
Then my son was diagnosed with type one diabetes in 3rd grade. Once my son was diagnosed with type one diabetes, I snickered at this post because everything was turned upside down in our world. STRESS was a full-time family member as we learned to count carbs, measure, and inject needles of insulin into my son at breakfast (and every time he ate anything).
We did our best to make school mornings run smoothly but I was in no position to give advice. Once we graduated to an insulin pump, we had the stress of changing insulin pumps at random times, including right before the bus would come as it would never fail! It was stressful.
Right about that time, my daughter was in 3rd grade and she too was diagnosed with type one diabetes. Everything was doubled. All the needles, carb counting, blood sugar measuring, infusion sites, sending extra supplies to school, making sure there was a low-carb option for lunch if either child was running a higher than normal blood sugar the night before, sleepless nights in which I had my eyes barely open some mornings as I went through the morning routine, etc, etc, etc. What did I know about a stress-free morning before school???!?!
With the added pressures of type one diabetes, I HAD to implement a better morning routine! I learn new ways every day to destress my family’s morning routine. I found myself rushing my kids too much, leaving them (and me) frustrated before the bus even made it to our house! This is what we do:
Get ready the night before
Do as much as you can the night before! Even 10 minutes the night before will lower the stress level by a LOT!
- Pack bookbags with homework, library books, snack, lunch money, forms, etc
- Clothing – lay out clothing for kids and yourself, set out shoes, coats, boots by the door – nothing is more frustrating than searching for shoes while the bus is pulling up!
- Pack lunches for everyone the night before – parents included if you work outside the home. For type one diabetics, this means writing out the carbs per item as you pack and sticking that note in the lunch box.
- Prep for breakfast. If your child is going to have eggs in the morning, lay out the skillet and spatula on the stove, plate, fork, and cup on the counter. All you have to do is crack the eggs and pour milk in the cup in the morning!
I blog about sleep often, probably because I don’t get nearly enough as a mom of two children with type one diabetes, I’m up on average 2-3 times a night taking care of low or high blood sugars. Sleep is vital to everyone at every age. Get kids to sleep early so they get the recommended sleep they need based on their age and personality.
- Implement a bedtime routine as early as when they are babies
- Set your alarm to allow everyone enough time to get ready, avoid hitting the snooze
- Turn off electronics 2 hours before bedtime
- Take phones away at least 1 hour before bedtime – place them in the hall if your child has no self-control
Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. It is proven to help kids with better grades and attention at school too.
- Plan a breakfast for your kids that have high levels of good fat, fiber and protein to make them feel fuller longer. I love these egg cups because they are packed with protein and vegetables, plus they can be made ahead of time and just popped in the microwave for a quick, hot breakfast.
- Never skip breakfast even if you are in a hurry, grab a healthy fruit and oat bar instead.
Time your morning routine out. If the bus comes at 7am and it takes your child 30 minutes to get ready then don’t wake up at 6:30, allow for delays and get up at 6:15 so you aren’t rushed.
- If you know you have 1 child takes longer to wake up then get them up earlier than other children.
- Schedule the bathroom time out per child so there is no fighting – child 1 eats first while child 2 gets ready first, etc.
- If it is a special dress-up day at school, get up a little earlier to get ready!
- If it’s going to snow and your driving your child to school, get up earlier to clear the car and allow for slippery roads.
You don’t know what kind of day your child will have at school. Give them the best start with encouragement and love. Wish them luck on the quiz. Tell them to be awesome! Give them a kiss and a hug before they walk out the door – no matter what age they are. Tell them you love them before they head out the door. Kids need to know and feel loved and safe at home. Let me know that they can do anything and that you’ll be there for them no matter what!
My family isn’t perfect but we have found a way to make school mornings run more smoothly – even with the added work of type one diabetes. Diabetes isn’t going anywhere – yet, we are still praying for a cure – but we have learned how to manage type one diabetes and the added time it can take in the morning. You’ll have hiccups in your life and not every morning will be stress-free and perfect. However, planning ahead will make your school mornings run more smoothly. It takes a little prep work and forethought but it’s well worth it to send your child to school in the morning relaxed and not stressed out about rushing to get ready in the morning. The better start that we can give our kids to their day, the better. Over the years, I’ve put all these practices into play and it’s make our mornings a lot less stressful!