A stress-free morning routine sounds like a dream, right?
No more screaming…
Or, at least that’s the hope.
When my first child was 2 months old I vividly remember preparing to go back to work and the stressful feeling that consumed me. I was overwhelmed trying to figure out how I was going to create enough time to work out, make dinner, spend time with her and my husband, keep a clean house, oh man you name it.
Once I started getting into a morning routine I realized there were so many things I could be doing to make our morning go smoother. An added challenge for me was that my husband worked out of town, so he would leave before my daughter was even awake. For my own sanity, I needed to implement ways to make it run smoother and be less stressful because I never wanted to have a morning with the word “hurry” in it.
Don’t get me wrong, there are still those mornings where we get off of routine and I’m frazzled. We are human! However, these are the ways we keep our mornings as peaceful as possible and they also enable us to enjoy them!
1. Bake weekly breakfasts on Sunday.
2. Allow your kids to wake up slowly.
How you wake up typically sets the tone for your whole day.
I love slowly waking up to the sun or a mid-level alarm and taking my time to get out of bed, so I can only assume children like the same thing.
Our kids each have a white noise machine that is on all night. We go into their rooms about 20 minutes before they need to be up, turn those off, and open their doors. We continue getting ourselves ready until they are awake. The hallway light is on which allows only a little light in so they can slowly wake up. As you can imagine, their moods are much better and they are more cooperative! Who wouldn’t want to start their day in such a peaceful way?
3. Have a sock bin by the door.
Living in a two-story home, this tip has literally saved my sanity. I cannot tell you how many mornings I would put my toddlers on the entry bench to get their shoes on only to realize I never put socks on them. A simple, annoying, and all too common occurrence that needed to be remedied. We remodeled our entryway a few years ago and in doing so we put a cubby in for each of us with a basket and shoe drawer. I added an extra basket space for laundry supplies, but little did I know it would become our sock basket!
Once the socks are washed and dried, I put about 5 pair per child in that basket. Having them right there when I need them is a relief. It is such a simple thing but it sure makes the morning routine run super smooth!
4. Set alarms on your phone for things you cannot forget.
If we need to remember something from the refrigerator, I place a sticky note on the fridge that states what we need to grab it. However, if I do not trust the sticky note approach (which is more often than not) I put a reminder in our calendar with an alarm that is set to go off before we leave the house.
We set alarms for:
- Lunchboxes (refrigerator snacks/drinks)
- Dress up days
- Snow gear
- Classroom snacks for snack days
- Gym shoes
- Book orders
5. Lay out their clothes the night before.
You’ve heard it before, but it helps more than I ever thought it would. If you have a toddler with a mind of her own like I do, this means picking out two outfits and putting them on her dresser. The next morning she gets to pick her favorite between them. It gives her a little bit of control, and eliminates an unnecessary argument. Who doesn’t want to eliminate those from their morning routine?
6. Pack their bags and lunch the night before.
After the kids are in bed each night we clean the kitchen and prep their school bag. We put their blankets, water bottles, diapers, or whatever else they may need in the bag. Then, it’s ready to be picked up as we head out the door the next morning.
7. Develop a handshake to say goodbye
Walking out the door while your child is crying is one of the hardest things to do. Being late for work, well that is not acceptable either. I was determined to find a solution.
We created our own handshake. I let my daughter have input in what we should do and let her know this was our special handshake to say goodbye. She knew that when we did it, I would be leaving right after. This works about 90% of the time because it creates a fun and peaceful way to say goodbye.
Our handshake is knuckles, shaking them like they’re going to explode, then they explode and it turns into a wave. We make exploding noises and say “bye-bye” and she always smiles.
Now that she is 4 she likes showing the handshake off to her friends and it is pretty adorable. She has also attempted to teach her 2-year-old brother how to do it.
After our handshake I also repeat a line from one of her favorite books:
I am always here
to which she finishes with
even if I’m not right here
Knox, my two-year-old son, has always been so laid back. He typically says goodbye easily as long as you prioritize a big hug and kiss, and don’t forget eye contact, his pacifier, and blanket.
He waves and smiles as you leave so I’m hoping that continues! If not I will have to pull out my creativity hat and create a new handshake.
How do you make your mornings run smoother?