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Here are 7 genius tips to create a stress-free morning routine for kids, plus free routine charts and our favorite organizational tools for successful mornings.
A good day starts with a good beginning, but once the school year begins, the mornings usually become super stressful.
Getting kids dressed, fed, and ready in the mornings is no small task. And for families with kids who have trouble following a schedule, finding things, or coping with a jarring alarm clock, the mad dash from morning wake-up to leaving for school can be extra stressful.
But with a few simple strategies and tools, you can make your stressful mornings more enjoyable and give both yourself and your child a great start to your day.
So if you find yourself exhausted each day from having to manage your child’s morning routine, try these 7 genius ways to create a stress-free morning routine for kids (and yourself!).
7 Ways To Create A Morning Routine For Kids
1. Prepare the Night Before
Any task you can do the evening before will help your family get out the door easier in the morning. Here are a few things you can work into your evening routine:
- Prepare breakfast the night before – Set the breakfast table right after dinner. This will save you at least a couple of minutes in the morning.
- Pack lunches – If possible, you should also prep lunch meals and snacks the night before, and let kids in on the decision making process by offering two choices.
- Pack backpacks – If you only can do one thing the night before, do this. Making sure that the backpack is ready to go will prevent you from having to run back into the house to gather any last-minute items you forgot to pack.
- Pick out clothes – If your kids insist on picking out their own clothes, then let them. But do it the night before.
Have you tried the Daily Activity Organizer? Such a lifesaver! On one side are six large shelves labeled with the days of the week – genius!
Check the weather report and set each day of the week’s outfit in the little pouches.
No more looking for clothes the morning of!
2. Wake Up Before Your Kids
In our minds, it makes sense to get ready while our kids do. But this usually only adds extra stress to our already busy mornings.
Set a goal to wake up a bit earlier, shower, and get yourself ready before waking up the kids.
If you can wake up 30-40 minutes earlier than your kids, you can even squeeze in some self-care in the mornings. Meditate, work out, read or simply enjoy a cup of coffee.
Whatever it is that you love doing, can you imagine a better way to start your days than making time for just that?
3. Stay Organized
Designate spots for school supplies, sports gear, coats, and jackets to ensure a smooth morning routine and save precious time when you’re getting ready.
By having a designated spot for each item, your child always knows where to look for things when you’re halfway out the door.
Purchase bins, containers, and hooks that can be assigned for each person in the family is the best way to keep everything organized and in one place.
You can even create a master command center where all school-related stuff, like backpacks, lunch boxes, lunch money, and permission slips are stored and prepped.
Plastic containers or labeled baskets can keep items within easy view, which makes looking for things in the morning simpler.
On the topic of staying organized, have you downloaded the free Cozi app?
Cozi is the must-have organizer for families. It helps coordinate and communicate everyone’s schedules and activities, track grocery lists, manage to-do lists, plan ahead for dinner, and keep the whole family on the same page!
Download Cozi here – it’s free!
4. Avoid Screen Time
I used to put my kids in front of the TV while I took a shower and got dressed in the morning. But this always ended with power struggles as it was time to turn off the screen and eat breakfast.
When we started avoiding technology in the morning, I noticed that we had less screaming and crying and that our morning routines ran smoother.
Exposure to screens in the morning before school also exhausts a child’s attention, making them less able to acquire knowledge and learn for the rest of their school day (source).
So by avoiding technology in the morning helps set kids up for success. Save screen time for the afternoon when chores and schoolwork are complete.
5. Use a Timer
Tired of telling your child that you have to leave in five minutes? This Time Timer will be a morning game-changer!
This visual timer helps to make time more visible and will help teach your child how to manage time and the importance of being on time.
Set the timer for however many minutes are suitable to complete a task. The time left shows in red and as the time counts down, the red area gets smaller and smaller.
A timer is a great tool for toddlers, preschoolers, and even grade-schoolers for morning routines, but also for screen time limits, studying, turn-taking, chores… you name it!
6. Use Routine Cards
If your child is struggling with transitions and has a hard time going from eating breakfast to brushing their teeth to heading out the door, then you might benefit from using routine cards.
Children, like the rest of us, handle change best if it is expected. They need to have predictable routines in place to feel safe and to develop a sense of mastery in handling their lives.
When you have good routines in place, both you and the kids know what to expect which makes daily life runs smoother.
Routine cards are visual cues used to represent different parts of our day and can help your child know what to expect from their day.
The cards feature a picture and a label explaining the routine to give children visual cues as to what to expect from their day. Not only does this allow children to be independent in their routines (like getting ready in the morning or their after school routine), it also gives them confidence as they’re able to see “what’s next” and help them prepare for the next activity which takes away any anxieties and a lot of questions.
Tired of reminding your kids to complete simple basic tasks throughout the day? These Editable Routine Cards will help your child visualize their daily routines and will help you free yourself from power struggles, yelling, and nagging.
The cards will help your child know all the steps in the routine and in which order to follow.
Simply print out these printable routine cards, cut, place them in the desired order, put where your child can best see, and follow the routine.
The cards are customizable so you can create any routine for your child.
7. Remain Calm
It’s easy to snap at a cranky child who refuses to put their shoes on, especially if you’re late or stressed. But we can’t expect our kids to be efficient and happy if we’re screaming at them, and the only thing they’re learning is that it’s ok to yell when they’re frustrated.
The calmer you are, the more responsive your child will be. Instead of getting angry at bad behavior, focus on rewarding good behavior.
“Good job putting your jacket on is far more helpful than “Hurry up and put your jacket on”.
It is our job as parents to help our children through situations and if we get anxious and angry, the situation is only compounded.
To harness the power of positive thinking, use morning affirmation as part of your morning routine.
Countless studies show that daily affirmations can reduce stress and anxiety, bolstering confidence and revitalize overall feelings of happiness.
Affirmations are positive statements that can help you to overcome self-sabotaging and negative thoughts. When you repeat them often, you’ll start to believe them and make positive changes.
In a short period of time, you’ll go from believing the negative self-talk to feeling encouraged and inspired.
These daily affirmation cards will help you become happier and more relaxed, stop stressing over your imperfections and help you feel like a good mom again.
If you want to start using affirmations, check out our 30 Affirmation Cards that can help Transform your thoughts and create the reality you want!
As you practice your new morning routine, remember to pause and notice your family’s efforts in overcoming their early morning hurdles.
When you create a routine and stick to it every single day, it will soon become second nature.
Don’t forget to give yourself a high five from time to time. You’re doing an awesome job mama!