You wake to another day and the chatter of children can already be heard. You feel the weight of responsibility and breathe a quick prayer for strength and help for another busy day.
You smile as you greet your children, trying to overlook the spill of toys already spread across the room. A quick hug and it’s time to begin the day.
How can you try to get “ahead” as you move through the morning? Here are a few ideas which may help you control the happy chaos of several young ones!
1) Keep a plastic box in your refrigerator to use as a special snack drawer for your children each day. Prepare snacks of carrots, string cheese, celery, yogurt, applesauce and mini-water bottles. Less mess, happier children and a rested, relaxed mother are worth the effort of preparing snacks ahead of time.
Here is my list of 31 Days of Healthy Snacks.
Preparing snacks ahead of time saves prep and clean up time later and minimizes low blood sugar tantrums in children!
Instead of giving your children treats that are sugary and edible, make the healthy snacks seem more special by allowing your children to have a picnic under the table with a flashlight or by hiding their snacks in the house and letting them hunt for them!
2)If you have mostly young children, loosely plan your day around “events” so your child has a sense of routine. For example; breakfast time, reading time, walk time, lunch time, nap time, pick up the house time, Daddy time, dinner time.
Make sure that you schedule rest time into the day for everyone (including you). Require children of all ages to find something quiet to do while you and the little ones lay down and listen to the quiet. This kind of rest requires discipline to accomplish but it is worth it!
You may have meals at slightly different times each day but you can try to keep the order of events the same. A young child feels secure knowing that after breakfast will be reading time and then, after that (eventually) will be lunch time. Routine also helps mom keep track of her time!
3)Children love looking forward to Sunday when there is something special planned especially for them.
Create a little bag or box full of items to be used only on Sunday to make Sunday special. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if your children grew up to look forward to Sunday? A special Sunday box is one way to help that happen…hospitality is another way (I think I feel another post coming on :-).
Include in the Sunday box crayons and a small notebook, toys and a nutritious snack. These don’t have to cost money if you use your creativity and items found around the house (our three year old daughter loved playing with an old perfume bottle of mine).
Change some of the contents of the bag every week so there is always something to look forward to on the Lord’s Day. For more helpful hints about making a day of worship special each week read Helpful Hints for a Holy Day.
4)If you struggle in an area of your life as you strive to build your family, pray for wisdom and skill. Look for another woman who seems to do well in an area where you need to grow. Observe others and ask for help. All of us have areas of strength and weakness and we can learn from one another.
5)Remember that marriage and family life is a process. It will not be neat, tidy and predictable because we are loving and growing with other people. Seek God and His wisdom.
If you have heard your kids laugh, have hugged and kissed and welcomed your husband home, you’ve done a good job!