Confession. There have been many mornings our family has experienced chaos as we struggled to start our day without stress. Yet I knew that developing a solid morning routine was exactly what we needed to go from a time of chaos to a time of calm. (Can anyone else relate?)
Finding a morning routine that cuts the chaos and actually is a positive way to start the day doesn’t have to be difficult. After we experienced a TOUGH morning transition as the kids went back to school, I knew I needed to make some serious changes to stop the chaos for good.
I used the questions below to think through each step of our morning and discover where our typical break down occurs.
Best questions to help you create a thriving morning routine
- What time do I need to be out the door or what time does my morning routine need to be complete?
- What are my major responsibilities in the morning?
- How much time does each person need to get up, ready, and fed?
- What supplies need to be packed for each person for the day?
- What can I do at night or on the weekend to save time during the morning?
- How much buffer of extra time should I give myself in case chaos happens? (It sure will, too!)
I encourage you to use these questions as a guide as you start processing what needs to happen in your home each morning.
Once you know the specifics of who needs to be where by what time (and preferably after a drama free morning), it’s time to dive into some practical ways you put your morning routine on auto-pilot.
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9 Simple Ways to Save Time in the Morning
Now that you’ve determined the specifics that need to happen each morning, use these time savers to trim time off your morning routine.
Having a loose plan of the flow of events will take the stress off planning and decision making while you’re still groggy.
Plus, discussing expectations with the family helps you all to get on the same page, too.
When you’re first getting started tweaking your morning routine, don’t try to do too much. Just choose a few items from this list and implement others as time goes on. Once your routine is on auto-pilot, you’ll be amazed at how easily you can tweak and add more of these time savers.
Lay all clothes out the night before (including yours)
This takes the guess work out of what the kids will wear the next day and you’ll be able to spot any wrinkles or stains in advance. Don’t forget to lay out every piece of the outfit, including socks and shoes, too!
If you really want to get ahead, have outfits for the weekdays ready to go by Sunday night so you don’t have to think about all week.
Bathe at night and use dry shampoo for touch ups in the morning as needed
This is a lifesaver for us, and we find that a good bath before bed helps our kids unwind, too! Plus, by not washing my hair in the mornings, I’m saving a ton of valuable time each day.
Know how each member of the house will fix their hair each day
Do you have kids who love funky hair and to experiment with fun hairstyles? Knowing how they will style their hair the next morning is a huge time saver and teaches them to think through their routine, too.
Stagger your wake-up times
Getting up before my kids is essential for our routine to work well. It allows me to quietly have coffee and stay consistent in my Bible study routine. On weekday mornings, I’m up about 20-30 minutes before my kids and save an in-depth Bible study for the weekends.
Then, I chose my slowest eater to get up next. He needs extra time to eat and then take his medicine on a timely basis.
Once he’s settled and has been up for about 20 minutes, I get my daughter up and start the routine with her.
Plus, this gives us each a few minutes to wake up and get used to the day before see each other all at once.
Set general time limits for morning tasks
While this doesn’t have to be extreme, having a general time limit for each morning task helps kids see their time boundaries. If they know breakfast lasts about 20 minutes and they’re moving super slow, they know there may not be time to finish if they don’t hurry.
It’s helped my kids a great deal to know about how much time we spend on each task and what time we need to move on to the next one to stay on time.
Meal prep all food in advance (including breakfast)
It takes forever to pack lunches…doesn’t it?
While I haven’t always been consistent with meal prep for breakfast and lunches, when I do, our mornings run so much smoother!
And meal prep doesn’t have to be fancy or an all day affair, either! Here’s some simple ways to make it slide effortlessly into your busy schedule:
- Separate kid’s snacks when you first buy the bag of food (it’s so handy to just grab snacks and go!)
- Use the Instant Pot to make food in advance (oatmeal, breakfast casserole, food for lunches)
- Freeze kids sandwiches in advance and take it out of the night before to defrost for the next day
- Teach school age kids to make their own lunches and have them pack their own the night before
- Create a meal plan rotation of what you’ll eat for breakfast and lunches on given days
We have certain foods we don’t make on school mornings, but either meal prep them or save them for the weekend. Setting boundaries on what will be cooked each day for breakfast also saves a great deal of time!
Let each child pick out their own alarm clock to wake them
There are so many kid-friendly alarm clocks that help your child learn how to get up on their own. This takes the pressure off you, and helps your child learn responsibility in the process.
Discuss your expectations and create a morning schedule
Often, chaos happens because no one really knows what is going on and isn’t sure what to do next. When we needed to tweak our morning routine, we discussed the expectations with the kids up front.
We were clear on when they could get out of bed, what they could do once they were dressed, and how we expected their behavior to be.
Then, we created a simple schedule with our morning routine and put it where everyone could see it. If you have younger kids, use a picture schedule to help them know what task is next. Getting everyone on the same page can be a game changer for sure!
For me, I found using a Christian planner to track our routines (and easily tweak them!) helped me prep my day and know exactly what was happening at a certain time.
Have all bags packed and ready to go in a convenient place
No matter where you’re headed in the morning, having all bags packed and ready to go is a blessing. There’s no last minute scrambling for keys, homework, or shoes if everything is packed and organized the night before.
No matter what your morning routine looks like now, it can get better! Implementing just a few of these ideas into your mornings can help you cut the chaos and have a drama-free morning. That’s a win in my book!