“By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail,” Ben Franklin

Well said, Ben, and that wisdom definitely applies to life with three kids; especially our morning routine.

And, I emphasize the word, “routine,” because your brain loves them, and having specific daily routines has even been proven to make you a happier person.

While I made my share of rookie mistakes with our first child, I’ve learned a few things along the way. One piece of advice I’d like to share with you is to have a morning routine. Basically do the same things each morning at the same times, and you’ll take a proactive approach to the day, instead of reacting to everything around you.

I think Ben would agree that not having a well-planned and rehearsed routine for the morning is “preparing to fail,” so, here’s my advice.

Prepare the Night Before

It’s a good idea to remember that you have the most willpower when you first wake up. If you make too many decisions in the morning, you’ll drain your brain and slow down the rest of the day.

That’s why a healthy morning routine is so important. I love anything that allows me to eliminate decision making and I bet you do too. A routine can ensure your family’s mornings run like a well-oiled machine.

Encourage your family to stay organized with some handy storage solutions, and you’ll find that the kids can easily find what they need. Anything you can do to prepare for the next day will have you feeling like a champ when you wake up.

Choose clothes for the kids (you may even want to lay out your own outfit). Make your to-do list for the day.

Prepare breakfast ahead of time (my family loves overnight oats and healthy steel-cut oatmeal). Pack school lunches, and ensure all homework has been done, and you’ve checked it.

Focus on a Healthy Breakfast

Obviously, every morning routine should include a healthy breakfast, we’ve been told this our whole lives.

Well, actually, maybe it’s not that obvious, because every day over 30 million Americans actually skip breakfast altogether.

Not only that, but millions of parents and kids are distracted and on their smartphones during the most important meal of the day. Factor in the number of people who are eating unhealthy food while running out the door, and I’d say most people start their days “preparing to fail.” Yikes!

Avoid checking social media during breakfast, and instead, try to stay in the moment. When I find that my thoughts keep wandering, I make a quick list of whatever is going through my mind on paper so I can move on.

In fact, recently I’ve added a drinking a cup of Rooibos tea to my morning routine. Not only is it good for me, but my brain loves the predictable repetition. I also drink a cup of chamomile tea at the same time every night before bed. I never said tea was sexy, but, mmm… routine is good!

Exercise

For busy parents, this can sound like a dream, but exercising first thing in the morning gets it out of the way and helps clear your mind. Exercise is great stress relief, even when the kids are stuck inside during bad weather.

If you can’t make it to the gym, there are plenty of ways that you can get some exercise to get the blood flowing. Grab a yoga mat and do some stretches. Find a quick HIIT workout on YouTube.

Actually, the most realistic option might be to just head out for a quick jog around the block and shower before the kids wake up.

Incorporating exercise into your routine will set you up to make healthier choices throughout the day, and you’ll have more time at the other end since you’ve already got that heart rate pumping.

Be Mindful

This is a big one. Actually, meditation might be the best 20 minute investment that you could possibly make each day.

Meditation improves your:

Self-awareness Impulse control Stress management Focus (the #1 trait of successful people!)  Attention Willpower Creativity

I’ve found that when I’m stressed out and aiming to stay sane throughout the day, one of the best things I can do is spend a few minutes meditating.

I just sit in a wooden chair with my back straight, close my eyes, and breath for 10 minutes, twice a day.

Studies have shown that meditation can increase your quality of life and well-being. And this can make you a more patient parent.

What’s Your Healthy Morning Routine?

What does your morning routine look like? Do you have a plan or schedule that helps you take control of the day?

I’ve discovered that when we follow our morning routine, we’re less stressed for the rest of the day. In fact, we feel like the first hour we’re awake sets the trajectory for the entire day. (If our day starts with yelling, and kids running to the bus holding a an Eggo waffle, it’s going to be an off day!)

Also, if you do have the luxury of extra time, (or a kid unexpectedly staying home sick from school) check out some of these ideas for fun ways to keep the kids entertained!

Featured Photo Courtesy: langll via pixabay