Anyone with kids will tell you that sometimes mornings can be chaotic. Having a blended family with five kids and two businesses to run can make mornings overwhelming with the amount of lunches to prep, messes to clean up, and crabby kids to deal with.
Instead of leaning into the anxiety every morning, I set out to work on a morning routine that worked for my family. It took some time, but we’ve been doing this for long enough now that I actually look forward to mornings with my kids, rather than feeling anxious about what the morning would bring.
Changing routine and creating a new habit in a household of seven people can seem daunting, but give yourself some grace and remember that it takes 30 days to create a habit. Here are some things that I’ve incorporated into our routine, maybe you’ll find something to work for you!
The Night Before
Believe it or not, the secret to a smooth morning comes from how you end your previous day. By preparing as much as you can before you go to bed, you’re actually doing your future self a favor by not having to do as much first thing in the morning.
- Trust me when I say that prepping lunches the night before will change everything. I work with my kids and my husband on what we’d like to eat per week, while keeping it fun and healthy. Before starting this routine, packing lunches was always done in a rush and I often forgot to make something for myself and my husband. Now, everyone feels good about their lunches – especially me!
- I’m the kind of person who sleeps better knowing that there’s no mess to wake up to in the morning. After dinner and lunch prep, my husband and I quickly tackle cleaning the kitchen. This way we wake up with no dishes to do or counters to clean, it really sets us up to have a great day!
- One of the tasks I assign to my children is to have them pick out their outfits the night before. This makes even the grumpiest kid’s morning a little easier, that way they can get dressed and not worry about mismatched socks or inside-out shirts. My husband and I also lay out our clothes at night to have one less thing to worry about in the morning.
- With our busy schedules, sometimes small tasks like laundry can get away from us. I hate having piles of dirty clothes in every room of the house, so before dinner, I collect the dirty laundry from every room, separate it, and then start a load in the washer before I go to bed. In the morning, I’ll change it over to the dryer and start a new load if needed, this makes laundry less of a chore and more of a routine.
- If you know me, you know how much I love my lists. It’s the best way for me to stay organized and not get overwhelmed with small tasks that need to be done. I always like to write a list of things to do that morning and keep the Post-It on my mirror so I can look at it and visualize it during my mornings. It makes each day more approachable, and helps ensure that I don’t forget anything!
- No kid likes to clean up their toys, so we try to make it more fun. Each night we alternate who gets to pick the music and then we blast music, dance, sing, all while cleaning up their toys. This helps get any extra energy they may have out and makes an otherwise boring task seem more fun!
- While the kids are finishing cleaning, I take a moment to set up breakfast in the kitchen. I’ll put out bowls for cereal on the table, a cutting board for fresh fruit in the morning, and I’ll even prepare overnight oats for my husband and I. This small step the night before really helps make waking up at 6:30am with five kids even easier!
- In my experience, there’s nothing worse than getting a sleepy kid to take a shower first thing in the morning. We set up a nighttime bath and shower routine with the kids so there’s less of a fight and they can wake up feeling refreshed!
Phew, after writing all of that out it seems like there are a lot of steps to set yourself up for a successful morning. Don’t worry, you can make small changes over time to ensure you have a smooth morning, and adjust to fit your family’s needs. The best part is that once the kids are in bed, you have the rest of the evening to relax!
First and foremost, I am not a morning person. I hit that snooze button more than I should, much to the annoyance of my husband. But once we settled into our nightly routine, I’m finding waking up in the morning even easier. Here’s how I start each day to make it easier on myself, and my family!
- It may seem silly, but I keep my diffuser on my bedside table. I always turn it on first thing in the morning, with a timer for it to turn off after thirty minutes. This way I can set my mood for the day with whatever oils I’m needing to help start my day. I also try to remember to set an intention when I turn it on – even if that intention is to get out of bed.
- Sometimes I get caught up with small annoyances throughout my day. It used to weigh heavily on my heart, but now I set my intention for the day and think of something I’m grateful for. Recognizing gratitude first thing in the morning is a great way to remain focused and something to repeat to yourself throughout the day.
- I always drink a glass of warm water right after getting dressed, sometimes I add some fresh lemon to help keep hydrated. If you do add lemon to your water, wait at least 30 minutes to brush your teeth because it can soften your enamel. (This tip is sponsored by my husband, the dentist!)
- I like to then go wake my kids up gently with a kiss, hug, or small cuddle. Letting them know they’re safe first thing in the morning is huge for me, and this is an easy way to do it. They know what to do right after waking up – they get dressed, eat breakfast, and we’re ready to rock and roll for an easy morning!
- While my kids are getting dressed, I always check that their backpacks are ready to go and that all of the permission slips are signed. This makes it easier to just grab and go when it’s time to walk out the door.
- The best part about preparing everything the night before is that I get to sit back and enjoy the morning with my kids. I can hear what they’re excited for that day or talk about the dreams they had overnight. All the heavy lifting was done last night, so we can all take a breath and enjoy today.
- One of my favorite parts of our morning is after breakfast we join hands and say a prayer as a family. Normally this is led by my husband, but sometimes the kids prefer to lead us in prayer. It’s a gentle way to ease into the day!
- Before walking out the door, I always make sure the kids have lip balm on their lips and essential oils on their wrists. Smelling the oils throughout the day can help them if they feel anxious, plus it’s a soft reminder of home.
- Once we’re in the car, we always say “Today’s going to be a great day!” as a family. But don’t worry if one of your kids isn’t in the mood for this affirmation, we all have our days. Never force your kid to say something just because it’s part of your routine, there’s always tomorrow.
- The biggest difference I’ve made in my morning routine is not looking at my phone first until I’ve got myself and my kids set up for the day. I always make my kids top priority over technology, especially since it seems to rule my life. That email or social media post can wait, but those precious moments with my kids are fleeting.
Once we get home, the nightly routine begins again. The kids know to put their jackets away, place their masks in the dirty bin to be washed, wash their hands, and empty their lunch boxes. From there, we just repeat what we did the night before.
It seems busy, and like a lot of steps, but I promise that you’ll thank yourself for making some changes to your routine. It’s okay if your life still feels chaotic, as long as it’s a little more organized. While it takes 30 days to create and retain a habit, and if it benefits yourself and your family it will be worth it!