Allow your children to decide what they want for breakfast. Picture: flickr.com

Marchelle Abrahams enlists a group of experts to ensure your morning rush runs smoothly.

A mother's work is never done and the worst part of every mom’s day is the morning routine. It's a mad rush ironing school uniforms, making sure the children brush their teeth and eat breakfast, and that’s before you’ve even left the house.

Wouldn’t it be nice to just wake up without the nagging feeling that you’ve forgotten something very important?

Mommy, relax! We’ve enlisted a group of experts to ensure your morning rush runs smoothly.

Survival juice

Someone once called coffee a liquid hug for your brain. East Coast Radio DJ Jane Linley-Thomas can attest to this. The mom of three confesses that her morning doesn’t start until her first cup. “The alarm clock goes off at 5.30am, but I don’t move until hubby brings me coffee,” she quips.

The lesson here? Invest in a good coffee machine with a timer to ensure your caffeine fix.

Plan ahead

“In a perfect world your children wake up, get dressed, brush teeth, eat their breakfast and pack their lunches,” says parenting expert and remedial therapist Lee Koetser. Unless you’re good with bribes and big on yelling, this isn’t going to happen.

Koetser suggests planning ahead. “Pack school lunches the night before and get their school clothes ready.”

Don’t be afraid to ask for help

Sometimes we are so caught up in the madness that we don’t ask for help. Linley-Thomas says her live-in domestic is a godsend - she packs the kids’ lunches as well as help out where she can.

Breakfast is served

Allow your children to decide what they want for breakfast, says Koetser. She suggests that by giving them two options you are still in control of their eating habits while letting them have the final say.

Quick and easy

“Adding more substance to your breakfast could mean energy until lunch time, no snacks needed,” advises Gabriel Eksteen, a dietitian with the Heart and Stroke Foundation South Africa.

A bowl of oats is still a powerful breakfast, and only needs 3 minutes in the microwave. Add a tablespoon sunflower seeds for more protein and fat, and scatter raisins or a chopped fruit for sweetness.

Prepare in advance and take out school clothes the night before. Picture: Max Pixel

Quality time

It’s hard to set time aside for the family to share a moment, but Linley-Thomas believes morning quality time is a must.

“We sit around the breakfast table, brushing hair and doing a number of different things.”

She finds something therapeutic in the chaos before the school run starts.

Alleviate anxiety

Sometimes the morning chaos is due to anxiety. The key is to lessen your children’s fear, advises Koetser. Use the drive to school to discuss with them anything they’re excited or anxious about.

The key here is routine. Even if you don’t get it right the first couple of tries, just keep calm and reach for another cup of coffee.

Healthy snack ideas for families on the go
By Gabriel Eksteen, registered dietician

Dip it

You probably have the ingredients for this healthy dip already - peanut butter and plain yoghurt in a 1 to 3 ratio. Add a pinch of cinnamon if you like, then dip carrots, apples, pears or even strawberries in it. Sounds strange until you try it.

Spread it

Hummus is another healthy dip that also doubles as a spread. As long as you keep some tahini (sesame paste, use 1 tbsp.) in the fridge and a tin of chickpeas in the pantry, it’s easy to whip up in less than 10 minutes. Blend while adding lemon juice, oil, salt and spices like cumin to taste.

Mixed nuts or seeds, yoghurt and fresh fruit are a great option for snacks on the go. Picture: Max Pixel

Pack it

Grabbing something at home before you rush off avoids buying something unhealthy at the corner store or school tuckshop. Think mixed nuts or seeds, yoghurt and fresh fruit. Invest in a few leak-proof plastic containers to carry snacks in your work bag or school backpack.

Milk it

Heading home after gym or sports practice and supper is still hours away? Chocolate milk is the perfect post workout drink for any age. Dissolve pure cocoa in a little hot water and fill up with milk so you can control the sugar, or add a sweetener.


* Visit www.heartfoundation.co.za for more details