When your morning alarm goes off, the madness begins. Getting the entire family ready for school and getting to work on time can be quite a challenge. But with planning, practice, and patience, you can nail down a morning routine that prepares everyone in the family to take on the day.
From managing a house of little ones to getting teens out the door, keep everyone on track and stay organized with a morning schedule that works for you. In the back-to-school rush, you don’t want to forget key steps like turning off appliances or locking up properly. Stay on top of your morning game to keep your home safe and motivate your kids to have a great day.
We’ve rounded up some helpful tips to create a morning routine that encourages both positivity and productivity in the a.m. hours.
1. Set sleep goals
The most important part of establishing a morning routine for your family is the foundation it’s built on — and that foundation is sleep. It’s no surprise parents and kids alike function better when they’ve had a good night’s sleep. Sleep helps children develop both mentally and physically, so ensuring they get the amount they need should be a top priority. Because development varies at each age, your child may require more sleep than you think. Get your kids in the groove of a nighttime routine to directly benefit them — and you — in the morning.
Tips to establish healthy sleeping habits:
- Get enough sleep: Kids ages 6 to 13 need 9 to 11 hours of sleep each day while teens aged 14 to 17 need 8 to 10 hours of sleep each day. Work backward from the alarm time to make sure everyone is getting the proper amount of Z’s.
- Stick to a regular schedule: Try to keep your kids on consistent daytime and nighttime schedules to help regulate sleep. Be sure to keep this up on the weekends, too!
- Stay consistent with your routine: Help your child fall asleep by building a relaxing bedtime routine free of electronics or TV. Reading books or journaling together can be great bedtime activities.
- Set the mood for sleep: Create an ideal sleep environment by regulating the temperature and light levels of your child’s room. Test out noise machines or fans to help them fall asleep and stay asleep.
2. Get ahead the night before
Prepare what you can the night before to eliminate stress in the morning and help you sleep easy. Whether you’re packing lunches or having kids pick out their clothing for the next day, getting things ready in the evening can settle nerves and speed up your morning process. Incorporating certain tasks into the evening routine can also establish responsibility for your kids if they know what is expected of them.
Tips to prepare at night:
- Pack lunches in advance: Sandwiches, snacks, and produce can all be packed up beforehand. To offer more choices, give your kids the option to throw in some quick additional snacks in the morning.
- Assign responsibilities: Have your child lay out their clothes for the next day, tidy up their rooms and pack all of the essentials away during the evening (including getting any forms or permission slips signed!).
- Fill up the car: Anticipate possible setbacks and fill up the car with gas the night before so you won’t be in a pinch in the morning.
- Make sure everything has a place: Organization can be easy with bins, cubbies, hooks and file folders so that all of your things have a proper home. Keep keys, wallets and important documents like your car insurance stored in easy to access places.
3. Give yourself 15 minutes of "me-time"
Before your kids wake in the morning, spend some time collecting your thoughts or enjoying a cup of coffee. Take this time to get yourself ready so that when the kids are up, you can assist them without sacrificing your own routine. Set yourself up to lead your crew with a positive mindset and take the time you need to meditate or relax before the morning chaos.
Tips to make the most of your morning time:
- Sip some coffee: Some of us are less than productive before we’ve had caffeine. Fuel up for the day by enjoying a cup of joe while things are still quiet.
- Relax and recharge: Stretch, breathe or simply lie in bed and prepare for the day ahead, both mentally and physically.
- Do something you love: Whether you want to read a few pages of your book or get in a quick workout, make sure you take time to do something that makes you happy.
4. Wake up on the right side of the bed
As much as we all dread waking up, there are a few things parents can do to help kids ease into the morning. Make waking up more enjoyable by incorporating some small steps into your morning schedule. Some kids prefer to be snuggled while others like to listen to music. If your child has a hard time getting out of bed, give them something to look forward to by reminding them of a friend they’ll see or an activity they’ll do. Set the tone for the rest of the day by making sure everyone gets up in a good mood.
Tips for a positive morning routine:
- Play some tunes: Take requests and create a family playlist to boost the morning mood (dance moves always encouraged).
- Exchange positive words: Ask your child what they’re looking forward to each day and share yours as well — no matter how small.
- Connect: Hug, hold hands, or give your child verbal praise to show them affection.
5. Stick to a routine
Depending on your child’s age, they may need some extra help to make it through their morning routine. However, kids of all ages can start the day off by making their bed. This simple task encourages tidiness, organization, and discipline all at once and can trigger other tasks to fall into place.
Ideas for your kid’s morning routine:
- Make the bed: Start the day by accomplishing an easy task like making the bed.
- Practice good hygiene: Head to the bathroom for teeth, hair, and personal care.
- Get dressed: Allow your kids to pick out their own clothing — from head to toe — to promote creativity and independence.
- Feed the pet: Encourage responsibility by tasking your child to feed the family fish or give water to the dog each morning.
- Collect supplies: Backpacks, lunches, sports equipment, and house keys (for older kids) should all make it out the door.
- Take vitamins or medications: Stay strong and healthy by incorporating these into your child’s morning routine.
- Turn off all lights: This simple reminder can save energy and money while teaching kids to be aware of their surroundings.
Download the morning and evening routine printables below and have your child check off tasks as they are completed using a crayon or sticker. Alternatively, you can laminate the printables and use dry erase markers each day.
6. Fuel up with a high-protein breakfast
Even when your family is cutting it close on time, reach for a protein bar or yogurt cup to start off the day. When you have a bit more time to prep a morning meal, encourage your kids to choose from breakfast options to strengthen their decision-making skills and give them flexibility in their routine. Make sure your kids are well-hydrated before heading out the door. Being hungry or dehydrated can cause kids to not feel their best and distract them during their school day.
Tips for a healthy breakfast:
- Go with high-protein foods: Foods like eggs, deli meat, peanut butter, and yogurt are high in protein and can help kids feel full and focused.
- Limit sugary foods: Even though cereals can be a breakfast favorite among kids, they lack the fiber and protein that are needed to fuel us throughout the day.
- Offer fruits and vegetables: Bananas and apples are great breakfast options that can be paired with peanut butter or almond butter for more protein. If you have time to cook, try a sweet potato hash loaded with veggies.
Other tips to get out the door on time
If everything always went as planned, there would be no need for a morning routine. But as we all know, there will be times we lose things, oversleep, and simply can’t get it together. Just remember that your family is creating memories and spending time together in all of the craziness. So next time that shoe goes missing or homework gets left behind, take a deep breath — remember, you can handle anything.
Tips for conquering your morning routine:
- Expect delays: Build in extra time for any road bumps in your morning routine. Wake up a bit earlier or plan to leave the house ahead of schedule.
- Be flexible: Roll with the punches and rearrange as necessary. Make adjustments and remember it’s not the end of the world if everything doesn’t fall into place.
- Remain calm: You’ve got this! Show your kids that positivity goes a long way and that with each morning, you get a fresh start.
Now that you’re fully prepared to seize the day, customize your own family routine to make the most of your time together. Your home is a place of learning, loving and making memories that will outlive any stressful morning situation. While you’re preparing for the new school year, make sure you have the best home insurance possible to protect your cherished space.