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:
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.
Are you ready to say goodbye to chaotic mornings once and for all? It’s time to set up some positive systems in your home! Grab our totally FREE Family Chore and Money System Action Guide and we will walk you through the step-by-step process of designing, implementing, and sticking to a plan that works for your family.
How do your mornings feel? Do you wake up relaxed and ready to take on the day? No? I didn’t think so.
Let’s get to the bottom of this. Have you ever asked yourself why? Why don’t your mornings feel good? Why don’t your mornings run smoothly? And why don’t you have time to enjoy your breakfast, fit in a workout, or chat calmly with your kids?
I think I know the answer. Are you ready for it? I think it’s because your family doesn’t have a strong morning routine. Or if you do, I bet you don’t stick to it.
Are you unsure as to if your family needs a morning routine? Let me help you out…
Here are 3 Signs Your Family Needs a Smooth Morning Routine
You Can’t Stop Yelling
I’m sure you’ve heard the phrase, “Woke up on the wrong side of the bed.” But, how often do you feel that way? I’m talking waking up super irritable, snapping at your partner and kids, and walking around your house yelling.
You yell to get your kids out of bed, you yell to get your kids to eat more quickly, you yell to get the kids out the door. So. Much. Yelling. No wonder you woke up grumpy – I’d be grumpy, too if I knew that’s what I had to look forward to.
You and/or Your Kids Can’t Find Things or Leave Important Things at Home
Picture this, you pull up to the school and the kids are ready to pile out of your car when one of them realizes they never grabbed their lunch. Or how about this, you arrive home after school drop off to find your child’s homework on the kitchen counter. Or, you pull up to the office after you drop the kids off, go to hop out of the car and realize you completely forgot your laptop.
Do these scenarios happen often? Maybe more often than you’re proud to admit? If you’re nodding YES – you need a morning routine.
Once You Drop Your Kids Off, You Need Time to Calm Down
Now, how long does it take you to bounce back after morning drop-off? You know, how much time passes before your heart rate returns to normal and you can get your brain focused on what you need to do that day? 5 minutes? Maybe longer?
Do you need to do something to separate your mind and your day from all of that morning chaos? Like go for a walk, workout, take a shower, or just close your eyes and count to 10?
If you’ve got a morning routine that is working, you won’t need time to decompress before jumping into your day.
What We Did to Tame Our Morning Mania
I’m proud to say that my family has a functional and smooth morning routine. But, it wasn’t always that way. I used to spend my mornings yelling at the kids and forgetting things at the house. By the time we were all set, I felt drained. And it wasn’t even 8 AM yet!
We knew we couldn’t keep going like we were. Something needed to change. So, we enlisted the help of a professional. That help came in the form of a survival guide from Positive Parenting Solutions called Taming Morning Mania.
This survival guide equipped us with five simple and practical tools we needed to get our mornings under control. We got to the root of what was causing the chaos in our mornings and we were able to develop a functional morning routine that was unique to our family’s schedule and needs.
What Our Routine Looks Like Now
Now, I’m proud to say our morning runs super smoothly. No yelling, no forgetting things, no feeling drained before the day even begins. We made a few simple changes to our routine, thanks to the Taming Morning Mania survival guide we got from our friends at Positive Parenting Solutions.
We implemented 3 big changes in our mornings. Now, we make decisions the night before, we put our kids in charge of their own wake-up, and we established a backpack ready zone in our living room. If you’d like the full scoop on what our morning routine looks like and how it works for us, check out this blog post.
If you’d like support setting up your own family morning routine, let’s chat about 1:1 coaching and I’ll help you set up systems and routines that will work for your unique family. Looking for more info on the Taming Morning Mania program through Positive Parenting Solutions? Check this out!
There was a time when I spent every morning constantly stressed out. I was desperately trying to get the kids out the door and to school on time so that I could get to work on time.⠀
It seemed like the more I nagged and reminded them to get ready and get their butts downstairs to eat so we could leave for school, the more they dilly-dallied in their rooms. Then when they did get downstairs, we butted heads trying to figure out what they wanted to eat for breakfast and lunch. So, of course we always ended up rushing out the door with food in their hands.⠀⠀
One day I was just simply fed up. I told my husband, “That’s it! I’m tired of this. We need to figure out a way to stop this madness every morning.” And that’s when I sat down and thought about what exactly I could do or change to make our morning routines less hectic. So I created a family morning routine/system and “laid down the law”. We’ve made a lot of tweaks along the way but we’ve kept with it and seen great improvements!
These are the main changes we made to streamline our family morning routine and teach our kids more responsibility:
Make decisions the night before
We discuss breakfast and lunch the night before each school day so we don’t waste any time in the morning. If possible, we even pack lunches and prep breakfast the night before. This eliminates any wasted time in the morning from indecision. If they have decided they want something different by the time morning comes, they are sure about it before speaking up.
We used to waste so much time going back and forth in the morning deciding what each kid felt like eating for breakfast and what we should pack for lunch. Those days are gone now because it is all set in stone before they go to bed the night before. This simple routine modification has saved us so much time and stress in the morning!
Put your kids in charge of their own wake up
Another minor change we made with major impact was putting our kids in charge of their own wake up. We set an expectation time that everyone is to be downstairs. In our house, that’s 7 AM.
Our kids now set their alarms for the time they select that will allow them to be downstairs on time. I like giving them the ability to choose what time they set their alarm for. This gives them both a sense of responsibility and control over their situation.
If your kids are on the older side and have a cell phone, they can use the alarm on their device. We choose not to allow devices in our kids’ rooms, so they set old fashioned alarm clocks for themselves! If your kids are younger, you can always use a clock radio or even wind-up alarm clock and you can assist them with setting it each night. It can also be fun to take your kids to choose their own alarm clock. If you let them pick out their own alarm clock it can help to build excitement.
Even if your kids are young, I would recommend getting them involved in deciding how many minutes they will need to get downstairs on time and what time to set the alarm for.
Create a backpack ready zone in your home
Another simple shift that has saved us loads of time in the morning is not running all over the place to find our stuff! We used to race all over every morning looking for books, note books, items for certain days of school, lunch boxes, and water bottles to shove in our backpacks. It was inevitable that something was lost, we forgot things, and we ended up running late.
Now, we have a designated backpack ready zone. For us, this zone is in our living room on a shelf right near their homework station. It’s convenient for our kids that their backpacks “live” in close proximity to their desks, where they do their homework each evening. Instead of racing to find everything they need in the morning when we are in a time crunch, they now find it all before they even go to bed the night before when we are under far less stress to get out of the door.
Each morning, my kids grab their backpack from its “home” and move it to our designated zone in the kitchen. This is where they pack their backpack with their lunch, water bottle, and any last minute items they don’t want to forget.
For your family, you are going to want to make sure your designated zone is in an area that works for you and your routine. Make sure the backpack zone is visible, easy for your kids to reach, and close to your exit location. This might be your kitchen, entryway, or mudroom. Get your kids involved in choosing and setting up your backpack ready zone. This will make them more likely to stick to the system. Wherever it is for you, just make sure it is easy!⠀
Thanks to these simple changes, my kids now rush me out the door instead of the other way around! To help set up your own plan for your family morning routine, grab our completely FREE Family Chore and Money System Action Guide, here. You can also hop over to Facebook and watch me walk through how to use it, here. If you’d like even more support, let’s chat about 1:1 coaching and I’ll help you set up systems and routines that will work for your unique family.⠀