Morning routines are everything when it comes to getting out the door without letting the morning madness get to you. And, let’s face it. From your alarm clock waking you up at the crack of dawn to making sure your kiddos are fed and out the door on time, things can get stressful.
However, with a little planning, and a solid morning routine, you can transform how your family handles the morning rush. Read on because we’re sharing 7 tips on how to establish a morning routine for kids that may set the tone for a more positive and productive day.
1. It All Starts with Sleep
While we may be talking about morning routines, a seamless morning routine really all starts with how your kid’s slept the night before (and you too!) Hitting the hay earlier and setting your little ones up for a solid night’s sleep is the number one step to hit the ground running with a much smoother morning routine.
Think about it this way. When your child is overtired, nothing seems to run smoothly, right? So, make sleep a priority.
As a general rule of thumb, The Sleep Foundation says that toddlers (ages 1-2) need 11-14 hours of sleep. Preschoolers (ages 3-5) need 10-13 hours of sleep, school-aged children (ages 6-13) require 9-11 hours, and teenagers (ages 14-17) should be getting 8-10 hours each night.
Here are a few tips to help establish a better evening routine to set your whole family up for a smoother morning.
Have a predictable evening routine.
Try using noise machines to block out outside noise.
Consider using blackout curtains to set the tone for sleep.
Get the kids into bed early enough to make sure they are getting the amount of sleep their growing bodies need.
2. Plan Ahead
Planning is key to avoiding chaos, so consider planning ahead a bit before your busy morning starts. If you can carve our just ten minutes to plan ahead the night before, you will feel so much less stressed when the morning rolls around. Have lunches to pack? Try getting everything out and ready to go the night before. Need to pick out clothes for the kiddos? Try setting those out the night before.
Crossing just a few things off of your to-do the night before will ultimately save you tons of time during the morning rush.
3. Claim Your Own Power Half Hour
If you can manage it, try waking up just a little earlier than the rest of the house, and get some “me time” in! Make the first half-hour of your day your power half-hour to focus on you. Pour yourself a cup of coffee and enjoy it while it’s actually still hot. Listen to your favorite podcast, or roll out your yoga mat and get a quick yoga flow in. Doing something for yourself before you dive into your morning routine will help you feel more centered. Hint: A more centered parent equals a smoother morning!
4. Ease into That Wakeup Call
Think about how you feel when your blaring alarm clock goes off at the crack of dawn. For many of us, we dread that wakeup call. So, ease into your little one’s wakeup call. If they have a hard time rolling out of bed in the morning, ease into it. Try playing some gentle music, lay in bed with them for a few minutes talking about the plans for the day, or simply offer a hug and some positive words to help your kid’s wake up on the right side of the bed.
5. Get Your Children Involved in the Routine
If your children are old enough, consider getting them involved in the morning routine. This will help foster some independence, but also make them more excited about waking up and diving right into the morning routine.
Consider making a routine chart of what everyone is responsible for each morning, and everyone gets to check their tasks off when they are complete. This example from The Zebra includes a printable morning and routine chart for your family to help them get out of the house on time.
6. Get Nourished
Setting the tone for a productive day also starts with nourishing the body. Kiddos (and adults) need something wholesome that’s rich in protein and healthy fat to stabilize blood sugar and help kids stay full until lunchtime. So, consider offering things like eggs with a side of fruit and a piece of toast with mashed avocado or almond butter. Or, on the days you’re in a rush, blend up a kid-approved smoothie.
7. Be Flexible
As parents, it may seem like we’re always having to bend and flex. Our kid’s needs are ever-changing, and being able to be flexible in your morning routine is just another way to challenge that inner parent patience we all have to muster up. Being flexible when things don’t go exactly as planned will help you bounce right back, instead of letting the morning rush get the best of the entire house. Just remember that not all is lost if your morning routine is slightly thrown off track. Just roll with it!
A Sample Morning Routine for Kids
Want to see what a sample morning routine put into real-time looks like? Here’s an example of a morning routine that can be tweaked to work for you.
The Night Before
8:00 PM: Light’s out for kiddos
8:30 PM: Lay clothes out, get lunch ready
5:30 AM: Parent power half hour
6:00 AM: Kiddos gentle wake-up call
6:30 AM: Morning schedule
7:00 AM: Enjoy a nourishing breakfast
7:30 AM: Out the door for a positive and productive day!
With a solid morning routine, you will quickly see just how powerful they can be for getting out the door and seizing the day.