Okay, I’m going to be real with you. I am not a morning person, nor am I a natural early riser. I have to force myself to get up when the alarm goes off. Sometimes it takes all of my will power not to push snooze. The only thing that can make my morning worse is a chaotic rat race to get out the door. That’s why having a family morning routine is crucial for calm and streamlined mornings in our house.
When my toddler started daycare, I knew I had to step up my morning routine game. When she was being watched in-home by my mother-in-law or a nanny, I took the easy way out and pretty much skipped a morning routine for her all together. I know, that sounds super crappy and lazy of me, but I never said I was perfect. I would pass her off, still in her pajamas, as I scurried out the door.
Oh, how times have changed. These days, we have a much more structured family morning routine. It’s not perfect, and some mornings are a little more rough around the edges, but overall we’ve got our morning routine down. Now that we’ve seemed to have found our secret sauce, I want to share with you some tips and tricks that helped us form a manageable and realistic family morning routine.
5 Tips For A Manageable & Realistic Family Morning Routine
1. Start At Night
The most important part of our family morning routine doesn’t actually happen in the morning. Confused? Let me explain. My most powerful weapon against hectic mornings is a productive evening. It didn’t take long for me to realize that utilizing even just 30 minutes of my evening for some simple prep work would make for a smoother morning. My husband and I came up with a few action items we could complete each night to make our mornings easier.
For your household, evaluate what tasks can be tackled at night so that you have less to do in the morning. Try some of these:
- Prep and set your coffee maker to automatically brew just before your alarm goes off. If you don’t have a coffee maker with a timer, it’s time to make the switch. They are pretty inexpensive these days, and this simple task saves me five minutes of groggy coffee prep in the morning.
- Lay out your clothes for the next day. This is particularly effective if every family member is laying out their clothes, dad included. If your little ones are still too young to pick out outfits that are acceptable for going out in public, do this task with them.
- Prep breakfast and pack lunches for the next day. If you’re feeling really ambitious, consider trying Sunday meal prep for the whole week. You can try my free printable weekly meal planner here!
- Pack backpacks and briefcases. Make sure the kids have everything they need for school ready to go the night before. This step can also ensure no homework assignments or projects get forgotten or left behind. I also like to pack my laptop bag at night so that I’m not scrambling and searching for my planner, charging cord, or favorite pen.
2. Ask (Or Insist) For Help
Notice the title of this post reads “family morning routine”, and not simply “morning routine”. That’s on purpose. The morning routine should not rest solely on your shoulders, mama. Instead, get help from the whole family. Making it a family morning routine will take some of the daily stress off you, which makes you a happier mama. So sit the family down and discuss how you can streamline your mornings as a team.
If he doesn’t already have his designated tasks, let your husband know exactly what he can do to help. My husband actually started prepping the coffee long before we established our routine. So, that’s a task that he’s naturally taken on.
Don’t forget to include the kids! Including them in the family morning routine is a great way to teach them responsibility, build their confidence, and give yourself a little bit of a break. They can pick out their outfits, make their own lunches, and pack their backpacks. If they are on the younger side, let them help in some capacity with each of these tasks.
[ If you’re hesitant to ask for help, read this! ]
3. You Snooze, You Lose
I know how underwhelming this tip must sound. You’re probably thinking, “no shit, Sherlock”. Here’s the thing though, it’s so easy to set an earlier alarm with good intentions, only to lose count of how many times you hit snooze. Yes, I’m totally guilty of this some mornings, and you know what? Any time I succumb to pushing snooze, my morning sucks. I feel rushed and hurried to get ready and get the family out the door. This leaves me feeling stressed and anxious, and overall it’s just a crappy way to start the day.
So, I’m going to say that annoying thing you’ve been told about 100 times before – don’t push snooze!
Seriously, you guys. Research shows that hitting snooze, and thus getting interrupted sleep, actually makes you more groggy and tired than you would be had you just gotten up when your alarm first went off. Remember that cheesy phrase, you snooze, you lose? I think this is what they were referring to.
Instead of setting an overly ambitious wake-up goal, hitting snooze a handful of times, and begrudgingly rolling out of bed, make a realistic plan and stick to it. Calculate exactly what time you need to wake up to give yourself enough time to get ready, do all the things, and get out the door. Set a reasonable alarm, and make a commitment to get out of bed when it goes off. The more consistent you are about waking up at that first alarm, the easier it will be to resist the snooze button.
4. Be The Early Bird
While you’re working on avoiding the old snooze button, start working on an earlier wake-up time too. I know, getting rid of snooze time and waking up earlier sounds like a complete nightmare routine that you’ll never stick to. That’s why you need to go slow. Start with kicking the snooze habit. Once you’ve broken up with the snooze button, begin adjusting your
wake-up time. Start small with an alarm 5-10 minutes earlier than you’re used to. From there work your way up your ideal time.
I’ll admit that sometimes getting up before anyone else in the house can make me feel a little resentful, but it actually provides many advantages:
- For one thing, I’m able to get myself ready for the day before my kids wake up and require my assistance. It’s so much easier to help them get ready when I’m already good to go.
- I can enjoy my coffee in peace and reflect on the upcoming day. Sometimes that may mean writing a grocery list, or jotting down a few daily goals.
- I have wiggle room to do things that may have been forgotten. There’s plenty of time to make lunches, pack backpacks, or stop for gas if need be.
- If I need to send a quick email, finish some freelance work, or complete a blogging task, I can do so without distractions.
- I can skip the old on-the-go protein bar, and instead prepare and enjoy breakfast with my family.
Your optimal wake-up time should depend on how much you want to accomplish in the morning, what time the rest of your family wakes up, and how much sleep you ideally need. If you slowly adjust your wake-up time, you’ll have a better idea of what works for you and your family morning routine.
5. Create A Simple Family Morning Routine
The key to creating a successful family morning routine you can actually stick to is simplicity. It doesn’t need to be overly complicated, or even strictly regimented.
Find a morning flow that works for your family, and try to be consistent. Do you wake, get ready, and then have breakfast together? Maybe you do coffee and breakfast before getting ready and then walk the kids to school. Experiment to find what works best in your household.
Know who does what, and when. For example, I previous explained that my husband preps the coffee machine in the evening. I warm a milk bottle for my toddler shortly after she wakes up. My husband takes the dogs potty, and I get our kid dressed. Things run more smoothly if everyone knows what to do and they just do it.
As always, remember to be kind to yourself, and your family. Even with the most well planned family morning routine, not every morning is going to be perfect. We’re all human and every family dynamic is different. Expect and accept the occasional hectic morning, and just remember that tomorrow is another day.
What does your family morning routine look like? I’d love to hear any tips or tricks you have for a smoother morning routine!
Looking for more ways to find a healthier work-life balance? Read this!