How long can it take to do hair?

OK.  Both my wifey and I work full time and we’ve come to an arrangement where I do the “morning shift” and she’ll do the “afternoon shift”.  Basically what this means is that my morning duties are to get the girls out of bed, ensure they get dressed and beautify, have breakfast, check their school bags and lunches and send them to school.

Easy right?

The thing I’m struggling with is how long it takes for the “get dressed and beautify” part of all of this.  My girls are only 7 and 9 but they can take aaggggeeesss to do this part.  I mean, it’s really just put your clothes on, brush hair, brush teeth, wipe face, etc right?  For a boy, changing is simple, just wack your clothes on – doesn’t matter if it’s pulled up right.  Hair?  No problems.  For me I just run some product through it and 10 seconds later I’m done.

But for my girls, especially T, the most time is spent brushing and doing hair.  Arrghhh..  the hair!! Making sure it’s absolutely neat and fashionable and not so functional.  There’s heaps of decisions to make like looking for a pretty hair clip or hair band that is within the school rules but individual and pretty at the same time.  Then there’s the hair style – they’ll experiment with a few ways of tieing it all up – one pony tail, or two.  Today, do they want the pony tails to be to the side, back, high or low.  Maybe it should be a head band today.  Or maybe plaited in which case they call on Daddy.   Even if it’s plaited, should we tie the ends individually, or together.  Or french (which I can’t do well, if at all!)

And that’s all after it’s been brushed nicely to start with.  No wonder we’re late for school nearly every morning!

It used to be easier when they were little kids and I did their hair for them.  Or maybe..

Anyway, I’ve been experimenting with many ways to speed up the morning routine and have these tips that have worked to some degree:

* Get up earlier!  Yes this seems the most common sense way of not running out of time in the morning. Unfortunately being night owls, even I find it hard to wake up early, let alone the kids.  With both of us working full time, the evening is our main family time.

* Do the hair first!  A strategy from my project manager experience, do the hardest and longest tasks first.  Unfortunately, this sometimes makes T think she has more time to do her hair.

* Do hair at a certain time each morning.  I have a mini agenda each morning – like we have to leave the house at x:xx exactly.  So working backwards, hair should be done by x:xx – Y minutes in the morning.

* Ensure that there is enough equipment!  By this I mean, hair brushes, hair clips, ties, etc.  There is also a balance in teaching kids to look after the hair brushes themselves and putting it away in the right place after using it, but for a while we had only 1 large hair brush between the two girls and this caused major holdups.

* Get hands on – yep, learn how your daughters do their hair.  Learn to plait, braid, tie pony tails.  I’m no expert, but definitely better than before!  Plus, it gets me involved with the girls..   and be able to monitor their head for lice!

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