Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Your Own Launch and Landing Pad

Greetings from snowy Northern Virginia! Regular, routine-driven days are a vague memory since schools have been closed since last Friday and won't reopen until Monday at the earliest. All this "free" time may be a good time to think about how your morning routine can shape your entire day. Do your mornings consist of mad dashes throughout the house looking for car keys, permission slip or library book? Is your cell phone dead? Are your children in a panic searching for their back packs, their gloves, their homework? If any of this sounds depressingly familiar, you may find the key to a less-harried morning routine is to add a launch and landing pad to your home’s most used entryway. It may be an area near your front door or, if you’re lucky, it may be a nice, big mudroom.

Simply put, a launch and landing pad is a designated area where routine items are placed upon entering your home (the landing pad) and taken upon leaving (launching you out the door). There may be a closet and ideally, the area is well-lit, includes a table, a wastebasket and hooks for bags, purses and backpacks. Each family member should have their own basket or shelf to keep small items such as keys, cell phones (an outlet and space for the charger is a big bonus) and wallets. The ability for each family member to “Grab and Go” important items is key to keeping the morning chaos to a minimum.

Depending on the ages of your children, you may want to place an “In and Out” box for them to put important papers for you to see and/or sign, or you may be the one digging through a back pack or “Friday Folder” for the must-have paperwork for the younger kids.

You can create a launch and landing pad even if you are space challenged. We live in an early-1960’s split foyer. The “foyer” consists of a 4’ x 7’ entry way with a small coat closet. I’ve created my launch and landing pad on the floor just inside one of eye-level stairway dowels. It’s unobtrusive yet very accessible for my keys, sunglasses and any other small items I need to make sure I take with me in the mornings.

For smoother, less chaotic mornings in 2010, get your family into the habit of placing important items on the landing pad when they walk in the door and, conversely, making sure that everything is in its place on the launch pad before they go to bed at night. Everyone deserves to start off their day in a confident, relaxed state of mind. That goes for you and your kids!