If you’re like most parents, you want your morning routine to be as stress-free as possible. Juggling kids, breakfast, and getting out the door on time can be challenging. But with a little bit of planning and preparation, it’s definitely doable! This blog post will share 17 tips for a stress-free morning routine with kids of any age. So whether your kiddos are toddlers or teenagers, read on for some helpful advice!
17 Tips for a Stress-Free Morning Routine With Kids – No Matter How Busy You Are
It’s no secret that mornings can be hectic, especially if you have kids. But with a little bit of planning and preparation, you can make your mornings run smoothly. Here are our top tips.
Tip #1: Prioritize Sleep
This may sound too obvious to mention, but read on anyway. One of the best ways to make mornings less chaotic is to make sure everyone in the family is getting enough sleep. This means having a flexible, but predictable bedtime and sticking to it as much as appropriately possible. Of course, sleep habits and routines will change, especially if your kids are in the baby or toddler stage. But this doesn’t mean that you still can’t prioritize sleep and rest while encouraging your kids to do the same! If your kids are resistant to going to bed at first, try implementing a quiet time in the hour leading up to bedtime. This can be a time for them to wind down with some calm activities like reading, stretching, or journaling. This can also work for teens and adults, too – we’re all human and it can be especially difficult for adults to settle in for the night because of everything on our minds.
Having tools like the Sunrise Alarm Clock (mentioned below) that also mimics a sunset can be very helpful in getting everyone to wind down and cue sleepiness. Don’t forget to establish some predictable systems and bedtime routines, too, like getting in pajamas, turning off screens, closing curtains, reading, and so on.
Tip #2: Get Up Early
Depending on the season of life you’re in, getting up earlier can be a really good strategy for you and your family. If you want to avoid the morning rush, getting up just ten minutes earlier (whether just you or your whole family) can be really helpful. This will give you some time to yourself before the craziness begins if you need alone time or to give your kids a few extra minutes to wake up and move around, too. You can use this time to enjoy a cup of coffee, read the news, or just take a few deep breaths, or spend some quality time with your kids so their connection cup is full for the day. Trust us, it will make a world of difference.
Tip #3: Prepare the Night Before
One of the best ways to make mornings less stressful is to prepare the night before. For example, you can start by laying out clothes, packing bags, and setting out breakfast items. Think about what typically gets in your way the most and seems the most time-consuming. Then find some ways to make that task easier, more enjoyable, or maybe even do without it altogether. Whatever you can do to make the morning go more smoothly, do it! And don’t forget to ask for your children’s input, too! They have their own struggles and maybe even ideas for making things run more smoothly.
Tip #4: Wake Up Yourself and Your Kids Slowly
If your kids are still young, try not to wake them up too abruptly. Instead, slowly turn on the lights and start talking to them in a soft voice. This will help them wake up gradually and be less grumpy in the morning. There are even alarm clocks that turn on a light slowly to resemble the sun rising and encourage easier wake-up times, such as this Sunrise Alarm Clock on Amazon. And yes, these tips apply to you, too!
Tip #5: Eat a Healthy Breakfast
A healthy breakfast is essential for both kids and adults. A nutritious breakfast will give you the energy you need to get through the morning and will set everyone up for success throughout the day. Having a good meal first thing not only means you will be giving your body nutrients to get through the day energywise, but it’s also important for things like focus, stable moods, and more.
If you’re short on time, try quick and easy recipes that you can prepare the night before, like overnight oats or smoothies. There are also plenty of quick and easy breakfast options that you can make in the morning, or even freeze ahead and reheat that don’t taste like leftovers. You might need to experiment with some recipes and techniques, but when you find the right ones they will save so much time and energy. If you have picky eaters in the family, try to have a variety of breakfast foods available so that everyone can find something they like. And if your kids are old enough, involve them in the breakfast-making process so they can learn how to make healthy choices for themselves. While you’re at it, start the day off right and make it quality time as a family before everyone heads out for the day.
Tip #6: Get Moving
Exercise is a great way to reduce stress and get your day started on the right foot. Even just a few minutes of movement will help you feel more energized and ready to tackle the day. Whether you walk on the treadmill or march in place while you brush your teeth, just a few minutes of movement can make a huge difference in how you feel. Along the same lines are things like stretching, Yoga, and so forth. Not only is it good for you, but it will help you wake up and feel less groggy. You can also encourage your kids to do age-appropriate exercises or stretches, too.
Tip #7: Make a Schedule
If your mornings are always chaotic, try making a schedule. This will help you keep track of what needs to be done and when. Plus, it will give both you and your kids a sense of structure and routine, which can ease anxiety and overwhelm. There are all sorts of ways to make a schedule, from using a whiteboard or chalkboard to creating a digital one on your computer or phone. Find what works best for you and your family and stick to it as much as possible.
Tip #8: Set Realistic Time Limits and Expectations
One of the worst things you can do is try to do too much in the morning, whether you schedule too much or just set your mindset up with expectations that are too high. This will only lead to frustration and stress, for you and your kids. Instead, set a time limit for each task. For example, give yourself 20 minutes to wash your face, get dressed, put on your makeup, and so on. You’ll probably need to readjust your time limits and expectations as you figure out that some things naturally take longer than others, so just try to be flexible and understanding. This applies to what your child is and isn’t capable of, as well. Ask them what they struggle with when getting ready and how you can help or how they can make it easier on themselves.
Tip #9: Get Dressed First Thing
Get everyone dressed before breakfast. This may seem like a no-brainer, but it can really help to avoid the morning rush. If everyone is dressed and ready to go before sitting down to eat, you can avoid the hassle of trying to get everyone out the door on time while also dealing with breakfast. Plus, it’s one less thing you have to worry about after breakfast.
Tip #10: Spend Quality Time Together As A Family
Do some sort of activity as a family before everyone goes their separate ways. This can be something as simple as reading a book together or taking a walk around the block or even having breakfast at the table and talking about what everyone has going on that day. It’s a great way to start the day off on a positive note, feel grounded and less anxious, and feel connected to each other before everyone heads out the door.
Tip #11: Gather Essential Items The Night Before
Make sure you have everything you need for the day before you leave the house. This includes your keys, wallet, phone, charger, work materials, school supplies, etc. Having a designated spot for your things can help, as well as making a list of what you need to bring with you each day. That way, you can just grab your things and go without having to waste time looking for them.
Tip #12: Limit Screen Time
Set a limit on-screen time in the morning, including yourself. This will help everyone feel more present and less distracted as they start their day. It can be difficult to break the habit of looking at our phones first thing in the morning, but it’s worth it to put them away and focus on our families and ourselves. You can even make it a rule that everyone has to put their phones away during breakfast or while getting ready for the day.
Tip #13: Schedule In Self-Care For Everyone In The Family
Don’t forget to take care of yourself, too. Mornings can be hectic, but it’s important to make time for yourself, even if it’s just a few minutes. Whether it’s taking a shower, eating breakfast, or reading the news, make sure you do something that makes you feel good before starting your day. If you’re feeling rushed and frazzled, it will only make the rest of the day that much harder. And yes, your children benefit from their own versions of self-care and alone time, too! Kids can experience a lot of stress at school and daycare, and just like parents, they need time to rest and recharge.
Tip #14: Have Systems In Place
Encourage your kids to help out with morning chores such as making their beds, getting dressed, brushing teeth, and packing school bags. When you figure out what their strengths are, you can then establish systems around them that are then repeated every morning. You can even make a game out of it to see who can get ready the fastest!
It goes without saying, but they need to be age-appropriate. For example, toddlers can help with simple tasks like putting their pajamas in the laundry basket or setting the table for breakfast. Older kids can be in charge of getting themselves dressed and brushing their teeth while you focus on getting the younger ones ready. And teens can help with things like making breakfast or packing lunch. Of course, you can also set up simple systems for yourself, too. For example, starting a load of dishes or laundry before you look at your phone or get dressed.
Establishing simple, yet helpful systems for everyone in the family will help everyone know what they need to do and help the morning run more smoothly while encouraging a healthier family culture where everyone contributes. And like any other routine, it eases anxiety and decision fatigue for everyone.
Tip #15: Don’t forget to Breathe
This might sound silly, but it’s easy to forget to breathe properly when we’re feeling overwhelmed. But trust us, it’s important to stop and smell the roses. Take a few moments to yourself to relax and breathe deeply. This will help you feel calmer and more focused. You can take it a step further and practice just a couple of minutes of mindful activities, like mediation or deep breathing exercises. The great thing about mindful practices is they are often adaptable and can be done with other activities, like doing dishes or eating. Like most of the things on this list, you can encourage your kids to do the same so they experience the same benefits!
Tip #16: Reward Yourself and Your Kids
After a long morning of getting everyone out the door, you and your kids deserve a reward! Whether it’s a cup of coffee, a piece of chocolate, or just a few minutes to yourself, everyone deserves a little reward. Life can be mundane and sometimes all it takes to feel better is a simple gesture or small delight.
Tip #17: Have Fun!
Remember, mornings don’t have to be stressful. If you can find ways to make them fun and more peaceful, everyone will be in a better mood the entire day. There will always be something going on, so why not make the best of it?!! Crank up the music, dance around the kitchen, and enjoy your time with your family and the small things.
By following these tips, you should be able to create a morning routine that works for you and your family. Just remember to be flexible, as things will inevitably come up that throw off the schedule. And don’t forget to have patience and grace for yourself and your kids, as everyone is learning and adjusting. Creating a morning routine is a process, but it’s so worth it to have a few peaceful and stress-free moments each day.