How to Create More “Good” Mornings for Your Family

father waking up sleeping daughter
Photo by Ketut Subiyanto on

Mornings can be the most stressful point in your day when you have kids, but they are also one of the most important times of the day. You want to start your children’s day off on the right foot and you also don’t want to start your day out with frustration. It can be very difficult to do this when you have multiple kids!

Having four kids, all in different age groups, I found myself getting frustrated every morning. On top of that, we were constantly running late and rushing. It wasn’t until recently that I realized I had to change our morning routine. That’s right, you need a routine and one that works! After I changed our routine and found one that worked, our mornings became a lot less stressful.

Here are some things that you can try and most of it actually starts the day before! Remember that it will not happen overnight, and new routines take adjustment. So, give your littles, and yourself, time to adjust to change. Don’t be afraid to change it up until you find what works. When something works for your family, take note and stick with it.

The Night Before

bags lined up on counter
  1. Lay out clothes for the next day. Even if your kids wear uniforms or like to pick their own clothes. Make sure that you lay the clothes out the night before, including SHOES! Shoes can be the most frustrating part of the morning because you can never find them. Make sure all shoes are ready to go at the door and I even tuck their socks inside. I will also say I, personally, do not pick out their clothes for the whole week because kids change their minds too much. Lastly, don’t forget to lay out your own clothes.
  2. Prepare the bags. Whether it is a diaper bag, office bag, or a backpack. Make sure they are cleaned out, you have looked at all “papers”, plugged in computers, and repacked them for the next day. That way you just have to grab them and head out the door.
  3. Make the lunches, snacks, and water bottles. If you have to prepare food like lunches or snacks, prepare them the night before so they are ready to go. I like to put lunch boxes on top of the bag and just put the food in the fridge. That way I don’t forget the lunches in the fridge. I try not to pack cold snacks and just put a snack directly in each bag (the same pocket every time so the kids know where theirs is) and then I fill all the water bottles.
  4. Get them to bed on time. Part of it, is not having grumpy kids in the morning. If your kids get enough sleep and are well rested, the morning will go a lot smoother. I promise. I can tell a drastic difference on nights when my kids go to bed late or don’t sleep well. So have a great bedtime routine that gets the kids to bed on time and sleeping well.
  5. Have your car keys ready. This one is on you. Make sure your keys are in your bag or hanging on their hook. Basically, know where they are and have them ready to go. There is nothing worse than not being able to find your keys when you need to leave.
  6. Make sure you have gas. If you drive them somewhere, make sure you have gas in your car. Nobody wants to stop at the gas station during the drop off routine or on the way to work. I mean, unless that IS a part of your routine.
shoes lined up

The Morning Routine

child in bed
  1. Wake up before the kids. This gives you a little time to get yourself ready and gives you a moment for yourself.
  2. Wake up the kids gently. Don’t just come in loudly or shake them. Kids need to ease into the day. With our older son, I give him three gentle wake ups before I get firm. I know it is going to take him time to get moving. With our younger kids, they have a multicolored LED light that we got them. It is on red while they sleep and when I go in to wake them, I put it on blue. Then, I gently tell them it is time to get up.
  3. Give a little snuggle time. For younger kids, giving them a minute to snuggle in the morning is a wonderful thing. It really changes their mood. With our younger daughter she likes to lay on me while I help her with her socks and pants.
  4. Provide an easy breakfast. In our house cereal is a winner. I am able to do the kids hair while they eat their cereal and watch a show (see the next point). But bars, fruits, cheeses, and things like toast are all easy. Just make sure it is not full of sugar. That allows them to get something in their belly and isn’t super hard on you.
  5. Let them do something they love. When you incorporate something they love into the routine they are more likely to be positive. For this reason, I now gave in to 10 minutes of “show” time while they eat breakfast. While some disagree with screen time in the morning, I have found that this one change made all the difference for us. You can try other things like toy time, books, or dancing. Just a few minutes of whatever they love.
  6. Clean them up. After they eat, you can add in things like brushing teeth, wiping their face, or doing their hair.
  7. Go potty. Make sure to remind all kids to use the potty before you leave the house. We have been in the car drop off line when a kid suddenly needs to poop! Not a fun scenario. Make sure you go too!
  8. Don’t forget the bags. If they are old enough, start making them grab their own bag. If not, load up! Make sure you get all the bags and lunches.
child eating cereal while watching tablet

Hopefully, this has helped you add something new to your routine or has prompted you to start one. Routine is really the key to all things with young kids. Once you have a good routine down, stick to it. It will evolve as the kids get older and there will be days that even the best routine does not work. Some mornings are just rough and that is okay. They can’t all be smooth.

-Kristy M., Mommy to Many


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