If you are a parent, you know how hard getting your kids ready in the mornings can be. I struggled with this for quite a while until I came up with several ways to have a stress free morning routine with kids. These small changes have made a drastic impact on our mornings and hopefully, they can for you too!
Remember the days when waking up early and dragging yourself out of bed seemed like torture? Before I became a mom, my hardest decision in the mornings before work was if I should get up and do my hair or sleep in an extra 15 minutes and just go with the messy bun. But since becoming a mom, it has become essential to find a stress free morning routine with my daughter.
What I wouldn’t do to go back those lazy easy mornings. It wasn’t long before my life became a chaotic mess of trying to make myself presentable while yelling at my daughter to please PLEASE finish her breakfast. And no, just putting food in your mouth and holding it there does NOT count as eating.
How did I become that mom that spends half the morning yelling and then cruising through the McDonalds drive through to get a last minute breakfast for my child? Is it because I just want her to stop being crabby, or is it because I just always run out of time and forget to feed her (whoops!). The world will never know.
When morning after morning proved stressful for both me and my daughter, I knew it was time for a change. I started to pinpoint the exact problems we were having in the morning and implementing simple changes. Before long, we actually started to like each other again! Ok, we always did. BUT not starting our day snapping at each other, was a huge plus.
I found 10 very simple ways to adjust our morning routine to make it stress-free for both my daughter and me. Each suggestion is very simple but can make a huge impact on your mornings with kids.
(You might also be interested in 20 Easy Ways To Be a Fun Mom)
10 Steps to a Stress-Free Morning with Kids
1. Pick out their outfit the night before… always!
In my home, getting dressed is one of the biggest stressors we go through. The older my daughter gets the more she is starting to have her own style… and the right to change her mind! So when you have a tired mom and an equally tired kid trying to select an outfit that is both stylish and appropriate to the weather outside, your chances of success are very low.
So we switched the outfit selection to the bedtime routine the night before. I have her layout everything she is going to wear, including socks, shoes, underwear, and accessories. The outfit is folded up and placed right on top of her dresser, ready to go in the morning. When she wakes up, she can go right to her dresser and get dressed without my help.
2. Have Them Get Dressed First, Before Doing Anything Else.
Part of the reason we put her outfit on her dresser, right in front of her... is because getting dressed is the first thing I want her to do. She can go to school without her teeth brushed or with her hair messy. She can get a hot lunch at school. But she absolutely cannot go to school naked! So start with the important stuff and get that out of the way first. Everything else will seem a little easier from there.
After we implemented this first step, my daughter would soon start waking up and getting dressed before she even came to see me. It almost made her proud to come to say good morning to me and see that excited look I got seeing her fully dressed. And let me tell you, that look is never staged! If the outfit is ready to go and in the same place every morning, it makes getting dressed a breeze!
3. Make Sure All Gadgets are Put Away
Tablets, phones, 3DS, Xbox… there are a million distractions surrounding kids these days. You can make it a lot easier for them to resist these distractions by removing them from their sight when they wake up. Make sure all these things are tucked away somewhere they can not see them. They will already find things to take their attention away from getting ready, so try not to add to it!
4. Practice Stretching Together or Doing a Small Exercise
A good morning stretch feels good for everybody. Get on the floor with your kids and try some morning stretches. Throw a few easy yoga poses in there you can both do and you just helped get their blood flowing. A small amount of exercise makes the body feel good and the mind calmer. It’s the same for kids too! Check this out for a few more suggestions on ways to get your kids moving!
5. Play Music
I’m not saying put on a loud pounding song and rock out. But put a little music on, whether it’s their favorite singer or just a radio station. Music helps get anyone moving around more. Kids are no different. And since they like having fun, they are more likely to get moving if they have some tunes to move around to.
6. Make a Morning Checklist
Most kids are visual learners. You can tell them something a million times but somehow they never seem to actually hear you. Make it easier for you both by making a colorful checklist of what they need to do. Create and list together and let your children help.
Have them come up with ideas of what they need to do to get ready in the mornings and write that down. Let them decorate the list, and hang it in their room. So every morning they get up, they have something fun to look at and know exactly what they need to do. And in turn, fewer things you need to yell at them for!
7. Start Making Breakfast ahead of Time.
This was the biggest time sucker in our family. It went on forever. Me making breakfast, convincing my child to eat, telling her to keep eating… and on and on. I swear I had to tell her to chew and swallow every bite she took. By the end, I was yelling and she was grumpy and 20 minutes just got wasted. 20 minutes I did not have in the first place.
I started making breakfast to-go. I would make muffins the night before or have her pick out her favorite cereal bars and juice boxes. Instead of breakfast sucking up most of our time in the morning, it became something she could eat in the car on the way to school. Why didn’t I think of that sooner?
8. Save Screen Time for When They are READY
By screen time, I mean put on PBS or Disney Channel for them to watch. Keep the other electronics away! But if they can get ready… and I mean completely get ready… then reward them with a little screen time until its time to go. The promise for a few minutes of the Disney Channel has made my daughter hustle as I’ve never seen.
Just be careful and make sure they really are ready or you will be back at square one. Teeth brushed, shoes are on, the backpack is ready… then and only then do they earn that screen time!
9. Get Yourself Ready FIRST!
Seems selfish doesn’t it? Ha! You ever hear that saying “Cleaning your house with kids around is like brushing your teeth while eating Oreos”? Getting ready while also trying to get your kids ready is nearly impossible. Even if it means waking up a bit earlier, I promise you will actually save time.
Get yourself completely ready so that when it’s time to wake the kids up, you can patiently help them and not try to do several things at once.
10. Remember Not to Sweat the Small Stuff.
This tip I still have to remind myself of all the time. It’s ok if my daughter’s hair isn’t perfect. It’s not the end of the world if her clothes don’t match perfectly. If she got herself ready, is on time, and happy… there’s not much else that should matter.
Remind yourself of what’s important. A perfectly manicured child… or a morning where both of you are happy and starting your day with smiles?
The possibility of a stress-free morning is real!
There are several simple ways to change up your mornings to make it more peaceful for everyone. Starting your day off late and irritated sets the wrong tone for the entire day in front of you. I can’t tell you how many times I would drop my daughter off at school both of us in bad moods and barely even be saying goodbye to each other.
After changing things up and implementing these strategies, we now have much easier mornings for both of us. We almost look picturesque saying goodbye, hugging, and wishing each other a great day!