You’re completely frazzled and rushing around the house. School starts in 30 minutes!
You call up the steps but you’re not even sure your kids are out of bed yet, let alone dressed.
You’re trying to get it all done. Make breakfast, sign all the paperwork/homework, pack lunches, and find that darn missing shoe. You can’t focus on one thing because it’s all coming at you at once.
The kids finally come into the kitchen and you run through your list of questions:
- Is your bag packed?
- Did you brush your teeth?
- Do you have everything you need?
- Do I need to sign anything for you?
Then, you find out one of them has a project due today that you didn’t even know about!
“We’re going to be late again!” you say, feeling defeated.
(Then, when you get home from drop-off you find their rooms a mess and the beds not made – things have GOT to change!)
Does this sound familiar to you?
These types of chaotic mornings totally sound familiar to me. When my kids were younger, we’d have to leave the house at 6:45 AM so that I could drop them off at 7 AM to make it into work on time. That morning rush was our normal routine, until one day when I got completely fed up with it.
I knew I had to do something about it.
Structuring a Stress Free Morning Routine
If these chaotic mornings are something that you’re struggling with, it is so possible to flip the script and have really nice mornings. Our mornings aren’t 100% perfect every single day, but most days now, my kids wake up, get dressed, brush their teeth, make their bed, go downstairs, empty the dishwasher, eat breakfast, and even some days, pack their own lunches. They are ready to head out the door on time! This is now their routine and what they are used to doing every morning.
It can be the norm in your house, as well. As long as you set up the routine and create a habit, it is possible.
Now, this shift didn’t happen overnight. We had to work up to this level of independence in each of our kids.
But, it’s wonderful.
Sometimes when I wake up, I come downstairs and it’s all done. All I have to do is double check everything and then we’re out the door.
What Needs to Happen
We’ve used every tool and chart under the sun. Some are really good, but they aren’t going to solve the problem. First, you need to have a solid routine to build on or it won’t work.
What actually worked for us was setting the routine with our kids and helping them stay focused. We did this by starting small-scale and working up to a full routine.
We started with a smaller routine with tasks that were age appropriate and easy for them to handle. It looked like this:
- Wake up
- Brush your teeth
- Make your bed
As they got that initial routine under control and as they got older and could shoulder more responsibility, we started to add things to the routine until we got to where we are now.
The Key to the New Routine
For our family, the key to this new routine working was empowering our kids to take charge of their wake-up instead of depending on mom to wake them up. We did this by providing them each with an alarm clock. We don’t do screens in their bedrooms, so we went with old school alarm clocks.
Then, we let them determine their wake-up time. We did this by giving them a time that they had to be downstairs and ready to go to school. Then, we worked backwards based on how long each task in the routine would take them.
Get A Head Start on Things
The other change in our morning routine that made the biggest difference in getting out the door on time was setting up as much as we could the night before. We began to discuss and set up lots of things the night before. We’re talking backpack packed up, lunches packed, clothing picked out, and even deciding what we’d have for breakfast. All planned out for the next morning before we even went to bed. That way, we didn’t spend time on the morning being indecisive.