5 Top Tips For An Easy Morning Routine for Busy Families
I think every busy family has had plenty of hectic mornings. (Am I right, or am I right?) It seems no matter how much planning and preparation goes into getting everyone ready, mornings always end up with someone missing a shoe, or crying over having to wear clothes (hello 1.5 year old, I’m talking to you). Fran from Let’s Study Music has come to the rescue. She outlines her top five tips to create an easy morning routine for busy families.
Fran is a busy mum of two and wife of one.
She’s a reluctant teacher, dedicated blogger, bubbly bassoonist, and a tea addict.
Fran’s favourite times are spent with her seven-year-old piano-playing princess, her 13-year-old kickboxing drummer, and her insomniac husband.
She tells me if they had a family motto it would be something like….‘It’s a bit messy in here, let’s go out exploring instead’.
Morning Routines for Families That Just Don’t Do “The Night Before”
How do I get my family organised on a weekday morning?
The most common advice that I have heard and read is to start the routine the night before. By making packed lunches, getting shoes and bags out and laying out clothes the night before, apparently your morning will run more smoothly. However, in our house we just can’t seem to achieve that.
My daughter’s bedroom isn’t large enough to lay out her uniform anywhere, and if I choose clothes the night before for myself I always end up changing my mind in the morning anyway!
I have tried to make packed lunches the night before too, but who wants to eat sandwich that’s been crusting up in the fridge all night? So I gave up with the whole ‘night-before’ routine and adapted these five top tips for an easy morning routine instead.
1.Get Up Before Your Kids Do
There’s surely nothing worse than opening your eyes to find a small person staring at you from approximately 10 centimeters (two inches) away.
Clearly, that is not a relaxing start to your day, and will invariably cause a lingering bad mood.
An easy way to avoid this is to preempt your child by setting your alarm for half an hour before their normal waking time. When your alarm goes off, try to jump out of bed immediately. Resist hitting the snooze button, and start the day with an energetic leap out of bed. (I find this easier to do if my alarm clock is the opposite side of the room, to be honest.)
In this golden half hour there is a plethora of things you could do. Sit and enjoy a cup of tea while you read the news headlines. If it’s a sunny day why not take a glass of water out to the garden or balcony and get some fresh air? Or, take the opportunity to do a 15 minute workout or yoga routine – the ultimate way to wake yourself up and energise for the day. You’ll still time to have a shower and not be rushed. It’s also a great time to fit in a kegels workout.
2. Waking Your Kids Up
If you are in the lucky position where your kids no longer arise spontaneously in the predawn hours, then you will need to decide when to wake them up. My advice would be always to wake them up far earlier than you think is necessary.
If you have to wake them up in order to get to school on time, it means that they are not naturally ready to wake up, and this in turn means you will meet with resistance. It is likely that you will have to return at 10 minute intervals for a fair while.
The upside of this irritating need to walk up and down the stairs, with ever increasing threats of what you will do to them if they don’t get up, is that you can do the little jobs like making packed lunches, setting the table, making breakfast, putting the slow cooker on for dinner or just emptying the dishwasher. Another positive is that you will ultimately be able to tickle them beyond reason and have a lovely laughing start to the day.
Implementing an evening routine (to get everyone to sleep at a reasonable time, not to get lunches made and clothes set out) can help your morning wake ups go more smoothly, too.
3. Consistent Routine
Children of all ages need routine.
It makes them feel safe and secure to know what is going to happen and what is expected of them. If they are well aware of what should be happening, it is also much easier to parent them if you have clear and set rules and expectations.
You may find it easier to organise yourself and your family if you have visual reminders. Have a whiteboard in the kitchen with the morning routine, or use kitchen timers to remind yourself or your child when to move on to the next activity.
4. Give Everyone A Job
Many families are so busy in the morning that it can easily become chaotic and therefore stressful.
The last thing anyone needs in the morning is to be shooing children out of the way, or for arguments to break out between you. By giving everyone a set job or responsibility your morning can run smoothly.
Think about the order in which you each have to leave the house. People leaving earliest should have the first jobs, such as laying the table or setting school bags out, whilst later leavers could clear the table and close the house windows.
Make a list of everything that needs doing, then assign it. If your morning is busy then just keep to the essential tasks and get the kids to help each other. You can clear toys, wipe up worktops and make beds later in the day if it makes your morning easier.
Essential jobs that we get done in the morning are:
- Eat breakfast
- Clear table
- Get dressed
- Brush hair
- Make lunches
- Get equipment for the day – school bags, shoes, keys, phone, bus money.
5. Eat Together
Eating breakfast is important.
As a secondary school teacher I encounter teenagers every day who have not had breakfast, or have drunk 2 litres of coke and a eaten a sharing pack of crisps on the way to school. Consequently they are either half asleep and grumpy, or completely hyper. They cannot concentrate and it affects their general behaviour.
Breakfast is so important that many schools run breakfast clubs or give out free fruit in the mornings because generally kids who eat in the morning have more energy, are healthier during the day, and do better in school. Skipping breakfast can throw off your body’s routine of fasting and eating.
An easy way to monitor what your children are eating and drinking is to eat breakfast together.
Make sure you only offer sensible foods for breakfast, such as healthy cereals, toast, or fruit. If you have the time or inclination then try some scrambled eggs or pancakes. Protein rich breakfasts will fill your children up for longer and enable them to focus right through to lunch time.
Having a meal plan can help ensure you have all the necessary breakfast foods available each morning.
Also ensure your child is drinking enough. Encourage them to have a pint of water with their breakfast. Not only will this help fill them up but it is also vital in maintaining their bodily functions such as digestion and circulation.
Health reasons aside, starting the day together is a nice thing to do! You can chat about the day ahead, remind each other about clubs and activities, and take the time to check that you are all healthy, happy, and raring to go.
Enjoy Relaxed Mornings With Your Family
The morning doesn’t have to be a chaotic hour of rushing around. Switch off Netflix and go to bed earlier so that you can get up earlier and give yourself more time.
Make morning a family time and start the day relaxed.
What does your family do to conquer morning chaos? Let me know in the comments.