Tanya Byron is a clinical psychologist and the star of TVs House of Tiny Tearaways. She is currently working on a new Warburtons breakfast campaign to produce a breakfast book aimed at busy mums on how to survive the morning rush.
Here, Tanya talks about the importance of breakfast for our family and shares tips for mums and dads on how best to manage the morning rush.
Hi Tanya! Can you tell us why you got involved with the Warburtons campaign?
Warburtons recently did some research which revealed that while senior businessmen and women face an average of 4.2 tasks within their first hour and a quarter at work, British mums have to tackle an average of 9.8 challenges during the same period of time, from getting the kids up, sorting the family breakfast and managing the school run.
I can completely relate to this and I wasn’t at all surprised to hear that parents find the weekday breakfast period one of the most stressful and challenging parts of family life. That’s why I’m pleased to be involved in the creation of the Warburtons breakfast Book.
I like the idea of parents sharing their tips and tricks on how to survive the Breakfast rush hour and the book, Making Breakfast Easy, encourages people to do this. It contains the very best tips from across the nation on how to juggle breakfast.
Tell us your top three tips to help manage the morning rush…
- Tip 1 - Start the night before
Morning chaos can be significantly reduced by a number of jobs being done the night before. Bags can be packed, PE kits ready, lunches made, breakfast laid and clothes set out. You can go to sleep at night knowing that you have already started your morning off smoothly!
- Tip 2 - Get your head together
While we all love to sleep as long as we can, pushing the snooze button is not always helpful. I find it’s much better to wake ahead of the kids and settle your head into the day.
A ten minute period of calm (before the storm!) to wake yourself up with a delicious morning cup of tea and a slice of toast means that you are less likely to start the day feeling like you’ll never catch up.
- Tip 3 - Don't shout!
Shouting is ineffective and not a great way to start the day. If you feel your temperature rising, take a step away, a few deep breaths and think strategically - how can you cleverly and creatively turn your kids round and get the morning back in track?
Keep a copy of this guide handy – there’s tons of great advice that can help you turn chaos into calm.
What food would you recommend to give kids a healthy start to the day?
I’d always advise on wholemeal bread and it when it comes to kids, I think the loaves that combine white bread with wholemeal work really well, such as the Warburtons Half & Half.
It’s a great way of sneaking fibre into their day without them noticing.
What makes parents so good at multi-tasking?
I think the combination of practice and pressure makes parents experts in multi-tasking! Through experience, we all find and learn our own ways to manage and have little tricks up our sleeves to make things run a little smoother.
Is having a morning routine beneficial or should mums change it up now and again?
I think a morning routine is really important. A family is a team and teams work best - especially during more challenging times - when everyone knows what they are doing.
If you have a partner, look at sharing the morning tasks. With little ones, make a game of getting dressed, having breakfast, cleaning teeth etc. - use music, stories and stickers to make the tasks fun and engaging.
Older kids should be able to get themselves up and get themselves dressed and downstairs. Have morning task charts which if completed without a fuss (tick off each task when completed) leads to a small treat after school or ten minutes extra time (golden time) before bed.
Breakfast is known as the most important meal of the day, why is that?
For many reasons I suspect. Mums like to feel that their children leave the house having been fed and set up for the day – you wouldn’t want your children’s stomach rumbling in class, thinking about food rather than their schoolwork.
Dinner the night before would be the last time they would have eaten if they don’t get breakfast in and you don’t want them to be snacking on unhealthy food.
What would you say to those families who skip breakfast – is it the parent’s fault if they’re in a rush?
Skipping Breakfast isn’t great – we all need to eat at the start of every day. For those who are in a rush, you can always eat a piece of toast on the go.
One of the recipes that came out of our research was the “Egg in a cup”, it’s a really quick and simple recipe using hard boiled eggs and toast, which you can put in a cup and the kids can eat with a fork or spoon in the car.
What’s your advice for parents who have to deal with fussy eaters in the morning?
Fussy children are not uncommon; in fact, over half of mums have to make a variety of different breakfasts for fussy family members every day.
It can be like running a restaurant or a café and having to cater to everybody’s different preferences. I think that’s why toast works so well, you can top it with pretty much anything and be assured that your children are getting some wholegrain.
My favourite is bananas on toast.
Making Breakfast Easy with Warburtons is out on April 22. Copies are limited so to find out how to get your hands on one, visit www.facebook.com/warburtons from mid-April.