If you’ve ever wondered how to make make your morning routine with kids easier, you’re in good company
A couple years back, I spent every morning stressed out and barking orders at my kids in my race against the clock. As a working mom with 4 kids 5 and under, I felt that running late and frantic mornings were just inevitable.
But then it dawned on me how stressed-out mornings and being late for school was affecting my kids. And I decided there needed to be a change.
HOW DO YOU MAKE MORNINGS EASIER WITH KIDS?
When you’re in the thick of raising kids, crazy mornings can feel unavoidable. But the truth is that by implementing a few key changes, you can completely transform your mornings.
And I will show you how.
But before you go through the following 6 secrets of a calm morning routine with kids, keep in mind that you shouldn’t try and do everything at once.
If you try and do ALL THE THINGS, you’ll just set yourself up to fail. Because making lots of changes at once isn’t very sustainable.
Instead, focus on ONE thing that you’d like to implement right away. Preferably, pick the thing that seems easiest to implement or the thing that you feel will make the biggest difference in your mornings.
Then, once you make that a habit in your morning routine, add on another.
And once that becomes a habit, move onto the next daily habit. Rinse and repeat. This is how you create a solid routine.
RELATED: 5 Simple Tricks for a Tear-Free Bedtime Routine
6 IDEAS FOR A STRESS-FREE MORNING ROUTINE WITH KIDS
Here are the 6 strategies that’ll transform your morning routine with kids.
1) Start the Night Before
the kind of morning your have is determined by the kind of evening you had the day before. Having a great evening routine that prepares you for the next day is going to make all the difference when your head pops off the pillow in the morning.
Plus, preparing the night before ensures that you can rest easy knowing that you’re ready for the next day.
A great time to do all the following things is just before you start your children’s bedtime routine. Preparing for the next day will help signal that we’re wrapping up the day and it’s time to wind down.
Here are a few things you should consider building into your evening routine:
Lay out clothes
On school days, my kids are not usually joyful and energetic risers. (Sadly, we’re not natural morning people.)
Which can make picking out clothes a drawn out process. Their brains are just not ready for those kinds of decisions.
However, once I started having them pick out their clothes the night before, mornings become much smoother without having to make choices about what to wear.
You can even make life SUPER easy by having your kids set aside outfits for the entire week and then storing them in this hanging closet shelf.
(Thats what my kids currently use)
You can also use mini drawers or closet shelf space, if you have it.
But this strategy is not just for your kids. Laying out your clothes will also help you as you prepare for your day.
Since I workout nearly every morning, each night I lay out my workout clothes. Not only does this help me get going in the mornings, but putting on workout clothes makes it that much more likely that I will actually workout.
Plan bedtime deliberately
If you or your kids are not getting enough sleep, mornings are going to rough no matter how you slice it. Kids generally need at least 10-12 hours of sleep (see sleep requirements for various ages). And you need 7-9. Stick to a bedtime that ensures enough sleep.
Committing to getting at least 8 hours of sleep a night has had such a positive difference on my life. I’m naturally happier and more energetic during the day. Which means I accomplish way more everyday.
Get backpacks as prepared as possible for school the next day. If you drive to school, you could even stick them in your car!
If you pack lunches for your kids, putting them together the night before can save a lot of time in the morning. For help easily throwing together great lunched, check out How to Quickly Pack Healthy School Lunches
2) Wake up Before your Kids
When you wake up to a hungry child demanding breakfast, you wake up 2 steps behind and risk being grumpy. You’re groggy and haven’t even hit the restroom, yet you feel the need to get food made and get your kids ready.
Even if it’s just 15 minutes earlier, waking up before your kids will completely change the tone of your mornings.
It allows you to prepare for the day and center yourself before your kids wake up and the day kicks into high gear.
Here’s the bare minimum of what you should do:
- Get dressed
- Drink a big glass of water (wakes your body up and boosts energy)
- Make a list of what you need to get done that day (unless you did that the night before!)
If you have time, these practices really set you up for a successful day:
- Pray/Meditate (you can start with these short guided meditations)
- Read something uplifting/inspiring
Personally, my happiest and most productive days are when I wake up at least and hour before my kids. For more on creating an awesome mom morning routine, check out this post on how to makeover your morning before your kids are up.
Or start the free 5-day Morning Makeover Challenge! In it, you’ll create a quick, yet powerful morning routine that sets you up for an awesome day.
3) Make Breakfast Ahead of Time
You want your kids to have a solid breakfast, but there’s not always time to prepare a nice meal. By meal prepping breakfast foods, you can simply pop pumpkin pancakes or whole grain blueberry protein muffins in the microwave and get breakfast on the table in a couple of minutes.
Here are the 7 healthy make-ahead breakfast recipes that I rely on for easy mornings.
4) Create a Buffer Time
With kids, there will always be unexpected disasters. Potty accidents, spilled milk, tantrums, vomit…all to be expected in mom life.
Problem is that we don’t always plan for the mini daily disasters when we calculate how much time we need to get ready.
We always need a bit more time.
Planning buffer time has been super effective in creating a happy home in the mornings, despite the inevitable accidents that arise.
Where before any kind of delay would set me off since we were always running late, knowing I have extra time keeps me calm and happy. Which in turn helps my kids stay calm and happy.
5) Use Routine Charts
Kids need visual reminders of expectations. Which is why routine charts are so effective in helping kids build healthy daily habits and learn responsibility.
A morning routine chart can establish tasks that the child must do in the morning to get ready which may include:
- brush teeth
- get dressed
- pack lunch
- pack backpack
- unload dishwasher
- put shoes on (seriously, the hardest part of our morning)
I have found time and again that creating charts and checklists are very effective in keeping kids on task. It gives them clear reminders and directions.
Check out these 15 Free Chore Chart Printables to help you get started or download the morning routine chart for kids below.
6) Identify Problem Zones
Pinpointing exactly where your family struggles in the morning goes a long way to creating a calm and happy morning routine with kids.
Once you pinpoint the problem, you can devise a solution
Ask yourself: Where do we consistently hit roadblocks in the mornings?
The following can give you some ideas for solutions to common problems.
|Kids struggle to get dressed||Lay out clothes the night before.|
|Don’t have time to make breakfast||Take away the hassle by getting easy breakfast foods like cereal or breakfast bars. Or meal prep breakfast food.|
|Consistently late in the morning||Wake up a little earlier.|
|Kids get upset when you wake them up||First, make sure they’re getting enough sleep. Then get them an alarm clock so you don’t have to wake them anymore.|
OUR MORING ROUTINE PROBLEM ZONE
For us, I found that we had a hard time getting everyone loaded in the car to get to school on time. It seemed that no matter what I did, that last push to get everyone into the car felt like herding cats.
Despite creating buffer zones and waking up earlier, the struggle to get out the door remained the same.
And despite my best efforts, after 10 minutes of loading the little ones and trying to coax my school-aged kids in the car, I would inevitably lose it and start yelling.
Then I realized exactly what our issue was.
When I would announce that it was time to load the van, suddenly hair would need to be brushed, socks put on, and shoes need to be found.
Once I recognized that the problem was that my children struggled to get themselves 100% ready ahead of time, I instituted a new rule: To sit at the table for breakfast, you must be 100% ready (shoes on, hair fixed).
This changed everything.
I didn’t have to prod and remind my kids to get ready. I simply reminded the of the rule: we need to be 100% ready when we sit to eat breakfast.
CREATE YOUR STRESS-FREE MORNING ROUTINE WITH KIDS
Your mornings don’t have to be hectic and stressful. Even if you have small kids. With these 6 strategies, you can create a calm morning routine with kids. Which will set you up for a happy and productive day.
You’ve got this, mama!
You may also like…
Free Printable Daily Routine Chart for Kids
13 Ways to Get Kids Excited About Chores
Asia Rosario says
These are great tips! I’m on my own in the morning (my husband starts at 4:30am) so it can be challenging. I do find that on the days I am able to wake up well before my kids ( still working on being consistent), the mornings do go smoother when I’ve had time to not rush to get myself ready and enjoy my cup of coffee in peace.
Latoya Nealy says
I am a mother of 4 kids and this article was very much helpful in so many ways. Simply gives you the idea of ho much better you can start making things easier for yourself and kids also. I love this ❤️ Thank you for sharing this with us mothers
You’re so welcome, Latoya! Glad it was helpful 🙂