How To Have A Stress-Free Morning Routine With Kids
I’m pretty sure that the hour between wake up and school drop off is every parents’ nemesis. Truly, it’s chaos. Sometimes it seems like the morning routine just never works. In the end, everyone is thrown into the van with a store-bought muffin, half dressed and shipped off. And you end up at work still feeling an adrenaline rush, frustrated and most likely starving. Sound familiar?
I’m not stranger to a crazy morning routine! Sometimes, getting the girls out of the house on time is the bane of my existence. Getting my two-year-old dressed is the equivalent of wrestling an alligator and the baby screams the whole time because she wants to be picked up.
Then, once we arrive at pre-school, all the other little girls’ hair is in cute braids or pigtails and mine is… well, this:
So, as I attempt to gather her crazy (non-brushed) curls into a horrifically messy ponytail I can’t help but laugh.
The truth is, you’ve got to pick your battles. And my daughters’ hair isn’t one of them.
The hours before school are crazy, for everyone! But there are some steps you can take to make them a bit more stress free.
For my girls, they do much better with a little calm down time in the morning and less rushing. Even if it means me waking them a half hour earlier.
It took us a while to find our perfect morning routine on school days, but we’ve got it down now. Believe it or not, we actually do a workout before we ship off to school and those days tend to be the easiest ones! We need to leave the house by 7:45am so it’s no easy feat, but it works for us.
In the past six months we’ve tried a lot of different things but regardless there’s been a few tricks that worked no matter what. These tricks allowed for a smooth, stress free morning routine in which we left the house without me wanting to rip my hair out – win.
So many people will tell you to chose clothes the night before. And this may work for yourself or the baby, but it most definitely does not work for a two-year-old.
Since my “work clothes” are pretty easy (workout clothes) I can get dressed in under five minutes. For my toddler it’s a bit different.
What I do instead is allow her to hang out in her jammies for a bit and then I present her two of each item (two undies, two pants, to shirts etc.) and ask her which she wants to wear.
Giving her the choice gives us far less tantrums! Sometimes she attempts to run away instead of getting dressed and I let her. I find ignoring this makes it easier. While I work out she gradually gets dressed and plays.
Quick Mom Morning Hack: Keep a brush in the car. At least get to school then worry about hair. It’s getting out of the house that’s hard!
I may not care about my daughters’ hair going to school, I do try and brush it but I damn well care what she eats for breakfast!
No matter how rushed we are, sugary cereal, pop tarts or timmies muffins aren’t an option for me.
Instead, I plan this the night before (you can check out these make ahead breakfast recipes here). We alternate between four things on school mornings:
- Overnight oats
- Homemade cereal and berries
- Chia pudding
Everything (save the smoothie) is made in advance and in the fridge. This way I know they’re getting a healthy start no matter how rushed we are.
For us it’s not so much about homework yet as it is extra clothes, school blanket, stuffies etc. All of this is packed the night before and put in the van. Seriously, in. the. Van.
This way I don’t even have to think about having everything.
In the wintertime, there are extra mittens, a hat and snow pants in the van also. Just in case. In summer, it’s sun hats and sunscreen.
While I would love to say I’m always on the ball of this, I’m not. Which is why having a little emergency stash in the van helps.
But put the backpack in there the nigh before. That way, you know no one has gone in and grabbed something and nothing is missing.
Get Up Ten Minutes Earlier Than Your Kids
I know you all hate to read this one. I like to sleep as long as possible also. But suck it up and roll out of bed. #sorrynotsorry
These ten minutes (just ten minutes!) give you time to grab coffee, check your phone, pee and brush your teeth.
They are well worth it to save on the morning routine chaos.
Keep Filled Water Bottles In The Fridge
I am a crazy person about water and keeping hydrated (read my tips to boost your water intake!). Which means forgetting water bottles just can’t happen.
For me, if they’re already filled and right next to our breakfast when I wake up, it’s only natural to grab them.
Never forget the water!
Keep It Simple
Truthfully, we don’t have a whole lot to do when it comes to morning time aside from eat breakfast, get dressed and get going.
We do like to read a few books before breakfast and get in a workout but those are both negotiable.
In terms of the extras, plan for them: take your showers at night so you just have to straighten/brush hair. Get up a few minutes earlier if you’re makeup person (I’m not).
The simpler you keep it, the easier it will be. Figure out what’s negotiable in the morning (messy hair don’t care!) and what’s not. Then workout your morning routine around that.
Below is kind of how our mornings breakdown, with a few tips and notes in there!
6am House Wake Up
6-6:20 Reading/Coffee/Morning Play
6:40 Get Dressed/Organized (clothes, dishes etc.)
7:30 Get ready to leave (I swap clothes, get jackets, change a bum etc.)
Notes: sometimes my two-year-old sleeps in until six thirty ish. On those days I let her sleep and she eats her breakfast in the gym while I work out
It can definitely get hectic but that’s the jist of it. Some days we get dressed in the studio between sets and other days we have time to clean up dishes, empty the dishwasher etc. We make it work.
Don’t forget to pin these tips for a stress-free morning routine!
Coming off summer and into the back to school chaos can cause a lot of chaos and stress in the mornings. But with a little planning, prioritizing and thinking ahead it’s possible to create a somewhat stress-free morning routine. Pick your battles, have a few back up plans and make back to school life a little easier.