4 Steps to a Better Morning Routine

Improve your family's morning routine

4 Steps to a Better Morning Routine

Editor’s note: This column was originally published in 2016. The author is now a mother of three (the toddler mentioned below has become a big kid!) and still uses these tips for better mornings. 

I am not a morning person, and I never have been. 

I’m a hit-the-snooze-button-for-an-hour kind of girl who prefers not to engage in serious conversations before 10 a.m. and will probably have the words “I’m late!” engraved on my tombstone. My friends assured me that having a baby would change everything, and I would miraculously become more cheerful, organized and on-time, even in the early hours of the day. 

Unfortunately, when I entered the world of parenting, that wasn’t the case for me. Most mornings in my home are a little chaotic. 

The day I was approached with the idea of writing a blog post about morning routines, I had just finished sending my mom a text in which I vented about all the ways I was failing as a mom that morning. 

And so, after shedding a tear or two, I decided to channel my inner Annie Anderson and take on this writing assignment as a personal challenge to improve my morning routine in 10 days. I read about the habits of successful working parents, and then I went to work to implement new ways to make mornings a little less stressful for my family. 

Here’s what I learned:

  • Prepare as much as possible the night before. In full disclosure, this is something I’ve always been good at doing, so it wasn’t new to my routine. However, I made a point to be consistent in preparing everything the night before. When Cate was an infant, these nightly tasks included making bottles, sterilizing pump parts and refreshing the diaper bag. Now, we pack lunches and refresh her diaper bag, including packing her snacks and a fresh sippy cup of water (we have a long commute). We pick out our outfits for the following day, and we think about any activities that need to be done after school and work the next day so we have what we need (e.g., extra snacks, leotards or  a stroller). I leave all bags by the door so I don’t forget anything in the morning, and as a fail-safe measure, I post a checklist on the door as one final reminder of the must-haves as I’m walking out to the car.
  • Wake up 15 to 30 minutes earlier. This is no easy task for someone with five different alarms. However, I tried waking up 15 minutes earlier and found there was a huge difference in how much more relaxed our morning routine was. I now get out of bed 30 minutes earlier and can enjoy some playtime with Cate, which has made our commute more pleasant. Apparently, a happy mom makes a happy baby, which means less fussing in the car. (Who knew?!)
  • Treat yourself. Do something nice for yourself in the morning. For me, it’s enjoying a cup of coffee and avocado toast — without interruption — while I scroll through social media. This simple “reward” did wonders to motivate me to wake up earlier. As with most moms I know, it’s hard to find time to do something for yourself, so I’ve enjoyed making this my first priority of the day.
  • Take care of you.With so many other demands on our time, I know this sounds impossible. I made a goal to exercise for 30 minutes at least three days each week, and I have noticed that I sleep better, eat healthier and wake up more easily when I stick with it. So, I have blocked Tuesday nights, Thursday nights and Saturday mornings for my workouts, and I protect these times. During the week, I usually just do a quick run around the neighborhood after making dinner. On Saturdays, I take a class at the gym while Cate plays in their nursery, and then we either go to the park or go for a swim together. This new and enjoyable Saturday morning routine has helped us make the most of our weekend time.

There are still mornings when I struggle to get out the door on time, whether it’s because I was up all night with a teething toddler or because I just want to snuggle with my sleeping tot for 15 more minutes. However, these four simple parenting tips have been easy to do and have made a positive impact on how we start each day. If you’re looking to simplify and de-stress your own morning routine, give them a try.

For more parenting help, check out:

Find a Primrose School Near You

Inspire a lifelong love of learning. Contact your local Primrose to schedule a tour.

Find A School