Short Answer – In the hectic rush to get out the door, a solid morning routine is your best friend! Make it a habit to prep anything that can be done ahead of time the night before, and get the kids in and out of bed at a consistent time.

Do weekday mornings leave you feeling frazzled?  You’re not alone! Getting the kids up and out the door on time, especially if you’ve also got to get yourself to work, can make any parent a little bit crazy.  But it doesn’t have to be this way! When it comes to rocking your mornings, building an effective AM and PM routine for the kids can transform the experience from harried to happy.  

We spoke to a group of moms that have nailed their morning routine, and we quickly noticed some common strategies among them. Today, we share their secrets to early morning success so that you too can get to work and school on time…sanity intact. Check out these great (mom-approved) tips for taking back your mornings and making them work for you.  

#1 Start Before School Does

Bedtimes and schedules can get a little lax over the summer break. You can’t really expect kids to get up early and into a new routine on their first day back. Ease into it, and start getting the kids up and practicing their morning routine at least 2 weeks before the school year begins. By the time their first day rolls around, they’ll be old pros at this!

#2 Get Yourself Up First

We know it’s rough, but if you want your kids to be up and organized in the morning you need to model that behavior yourself. Set your alarm at least 30 minutes ahead of theirs so you can get up, dressed, and centered before you wake them up.

Kids can sense if you’re rushed, stressed or anxious in the morning and it makes them more apt to slow down in protest. So do like the flight attendant always tells you, put on your own oxygen mask first, before helping the kids with theirs.

#3 Capitalize On “The Night Before”

Anything that can be done the night before, should be done the night before. This is the #1 trick of moms that have it together in the morning. Have your kids choose and lay-out their clothes, shoes, jackets, etc. to make getting dressed a no-brainer. Make lunches, have everyone take baths, sign permission slips, check homework and pack backpacks before going to bed. This will cut down frantic searching for missing shoes or books in the morning and get you out the door on time.

#4 Build Launch Pads

Here’s a great tip to add to your morning routine. Create a dedicated space for each child to organize all their “night before” items so everyone knows exactly where to go to start their day. It can be a box, basket, shelf, or container… whatever works best for you. In it set out all the stuff the kids need to take with them; lunches, lunch money, backpacks, permission slips, show and tell items, sports equipment…ANYTHING that needs to make it into the classroom, goes on the launch pad the night before. Come morning, it’s just grab and go!

#5 Create A Standardized Bedtime Routine

All this packing and prepping that’s happening the night before? You don’t have to do it alone. Get kids involved and build them into the routine. They can be assigned different tasks based on their ages, but develop a set pattern for each child and hold them to it.  

Kids can be responsible to lay-out clothes, pack up books, take baths, brush teeth, get in bed… etc.  You can even write out  a checklist to make it easier to remember (or use symbols for younger kids). And the MOST important part? Make sure the prep action is happening at the same time nightly so kids get in bed at a consistent time every night. Children need LOTS of sleep. One of the biggest reasons they drag in the am is because they didn’t get enough shut-eye at night, so be sure it’s lights out early.

#6 Relax

Or in other words, be the calm you wish to see in the world. Once you’re up and ready, take a few deep breaths and center yourself so you can be present for your kids. Like we mentioned earlier, kids can feel your anxiety and if they think you’re rushing around not paying attention to them and their needs, they will slow down even more to get your attention back. So breathe and be present.

#7 Start With Connection

When kids go to sleep they are all alone. It is probably the longest period of time they feel disconnected from you, so naturally they may be a little more needy in the morning. Plan for this and spend the first five minutes of the day snuggling, talking and reconnecting with each child. Taking a few minutes first thing calms them down and prevents attention seeking outbursts later on.

You’ve got one at night, now build one for the mornings. Get the kids up at the SAME time each day and have them do the same steps in the same order to keep things moving. Getting dressed is generally one of activities that slows kids down, so you might want to move that one up higher in the list. A routine could look something like this; Wake up, bathroom, get dressed, come to breakfast, brush teeth, grab bags, head to door. Having kids dress before breakfast may get them into their clothes faster.

Morning Routine
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#8 Plan Breakfast

Decide what you’ll be eating the night before and have the ingredients ready to go. Some moms swear by a breakfast schedule such as oatmeal M/W, Eggs Tu/Th, and waffles on Friday…. But whatever you decide to do make sure it’s planned out ahead.

#9 Carpool Karaoke

Make a CD of your kids favorite upbeat songs and keep it in the car to play on the ride to school. They’ll be energized by the positive music and ready to take on the day!

#10 Aim To Leave Early

Whatever time you absolutely need to leave the house by….aim to leave 15 minutes earlier than that. If you make it there a little early? Awesome! No one ever got in trouble for being a early to school or work. 

But if something goes wrong (and with kids that’s likely) you have the 5 extra minutes you need to search for a lost shoe or clean up spilled orange juice. We know it’s hard to set the alarm 15 minutes earlier, but it will pay off in spades when everyone gets where they need to be on time and happy. It’s a morning routine trick on time moms swear by.