My toddler has started getting up earlier, and that means I get up earlier too. It’s kind of thrown my mornings into disarray, and I’m working on getting things back on track. This six step morning routine is the ideal that I’m working towards.
Mornings can be so stressful when your routine gets disrupted. Don’t you hate the feeling of scrambling to get showered, pick an outfit, and get the kids ready to go? Me. TOO. And it’s even worse when you’re scrambling while running on too little sleep.
Liz over at Feelgood Style shared a handful of good morning mood boosters, and they’re a great foundation for a morning routine. I used her ideas as a jumping-off point to build a morning routine that feels doable for me. Think of my list below as the same for you. What works for my family may not work for yours. Use the ideas that appeal to you and start setting your own morning routine that meets your needs.
Finding the Morning Routine that Works for YOU
Before settling on a morning routine, I think it’s important to be honest with yourself. For example, my whole family is terrible at getting up early. My son is my alarm clock, because I need sleep. There is no waking up early and getting things done before my kid gets up. In fact, I need sleep so much that my morning routine actually begins the night before.
If you’ve got kids, giving them little tasks during your morning routine is a great way to spend some time together while still getting everyone ready for the day. My 20-month-old helps with the coffee and with smoothie-making. He also helps me feed the dog and wipe his highchair tray when he’s done eating.
The trick is treating these activities as mini games, not chores and focusing on what they can do. My son feels proud when he helps pour Jenna’s food into her bowl or put the filter into the coffee pot, and those little moments leave us both in a good mood at the start of the day. He’s not super great yet at carrying her bowl without spilling it or at pouring water into the coffee pot, so I don’t press him to do those things. Setting him up to succeed keeps our morning routine fun.
For me, a good morning routine isn’t just one that gets us out the door. It sets us all up for a great day. I want a routine that’s energizing and gratifying. This is what works for my family.
6-Step Morning Routine
1. Leave as little to the morning as possible.
I lay out my outfit for the next day, pack my son’s lunch for day care, and load up his diaper bag and my laptop bag in the evenings.
All of those little things mean that I don’t have to get up earlier or scramble in the mornings. If possible, I even shower in the evenings, so I don’t have to worry about it in the morning. It’s totally worth setting aside time in the evening for that extra sleep or less stress at the start of the next day.
2. Go to bed at a reasonable time.
Confession: I am binging on Gilmore Girls on Netflix right now. I would stay up to the wee hours watching Rory and Lorelai, and lately I have been! But when I cut myself off around 10:30 or 11 and go to bed, it makes a big difference the next morning. The best mornings are ones where you wake up feeling well-rested, right?
3. Perk up those senses.
Yep, I lifted this idea right from Liz. She uses Dr. Bronner’s peppermint soap to wake up, and that’s a great idea! I find the coconut smell from my new favorite DIY eye cream helps me wake up a bit, and massaging it on wakes up my sleepy eyes.
4. A little bit of exercise.
Before I had a kid, I went on runs 4-5 mornings a week. Now that my baby is my alarm clock, my runs have disappeared. Right now, I get a little movement in just chasing my toddler around the house, but I’d like to start taking him and my dog, Jenna, for walks in the morning. I think a little morning walk around the block would be good for all of us. Maybe my husband can join us, too!
5. Eat and drink.
My son usually has oatmeal in the mornings while my husband and I sip coffee, and then we make a green smoothie together. My toddler loves helping me put ingredients into the blender and tearing greens into pieces, then pressing the button to turn the blender on.
Liz mentions moderation when it comes to coffee, and I wish that I could say I do that. There’s actually a lot of conflicting research about how much is too much coffee, and I tend to fall on the “lots of coffee” end of the spectrum. If you’re trying to cut back on the caffeine, though, Andrea shared some great coffee alternatives to start your morning. It’s all about finding what works for you!
6. Get dressed and get out.
Since you laid out those clothes and work stuff the night before, getting dressed should be a breeze, especially if you showered the night before. My son and I sit on the bathroom floor together and brush our teeth. Then I get dressed, dress him, and we’re out the door.
My morning routine might sound a little bit idyllic, especially for one that includes a toddler. I promise that it’s not. Those steps above are an ideal morning. Some days, my kid spills the dog food all over the floor. Some nights I still stay up too late watching Gilmore Girls or working and wake up dragging. And that exercise thing is definitely a work in progress. Flexibility is an important part of any morning routine. When things go wrong, don’t beat yourself up!
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