How did your morning routine go today? Were you all out of the house on time, or was it a miracle you made it out at all?
The experts tell us how important the start of the day is, and that it can affect our mood and productivity for the rest of the day. Getting enough sleep is obviously the most important factor. Having a good routine in place, especially when you have kids, is also key.
So what constitutes a good morning routine? Here are a few tips that may help your mornings run a little more smoothly.
Write a schedule
Work out how much time you need to complete each task. Be realistic about how long things take you and your child / children. If they need 15 minutes to get dressed, they won’t suddenly be able to do it in five. Then, when you draft your schedule, you’ll have a much better chance of actually sticking to it.
I know, for example, that Ethan spends up to 30 minutes eating breakfast. He is a very slow eater, just like me, and I know how important a good breakfast is to both of us. So I schedule breakfast from 7.30-8am.
Preparation is key for a smooth-running morning routine
Get as much ready as humanly possible the evening before. Make packed lunches, prepare outfits (for you and the kids), pack school bags, and get your own bag / work stuff ready.
We also set the breakfast table the night before, including getting all the cereals out, so we can come downstairs in the morning and tuck straight in.
Get up (and go to bed) early enough
Now you know your schedule and how long your routine realistically takes, make sure you’re getting out of bed early enough. This is tough if it means you need to set your alarm a little earlier, but you will feel much less stressed if you’re not feeling behind schedule as soon as you wake.
It may mean you need to get to bed a little earlier too. Sleep is so important – if you struggle to get a good night’s sleep, you can read our sleep tips here.
If you find it tricky getting yourself ready while having kids hanging off your legs, you could try getting up 20 minutes before them, so you have some time to get ready in peace before the whirlwind begins.
I’ve started to do this and it works much better. It’s nice because it gives Ethan and I a little bit of time together before breakfast, rather than me jumping straight into the shower.
Betsy Brown Braun, a child development and behavioural specialist, and author, points out that your child has just spent all night on their own, which means they are likely to be quite needy for you in the morning.
If you can manage to schedule in just a small amount of time to spend together first thing, you may find they’re a bit more willing to get themselves ready as a result.
Include buffer time
Always include some buffer time, you never know what might happen to derail your schedule!
In theory, we should have plenty of time. Ethan is always up at 7am On The Dot, but unfortunately he has really mastered the art of faffing about. If everything runs smoothly and Ethan behaves, it’s fine and we are ready in time, but it takes just one small blip and suddenly we are rushing and stressed.
This morning it was, “I don’t want to go to school Mummy, I’m too tired.” I know the feeling kiddo, but we have no choice. Somehow I managed to coax him out of the house just about on time, and he probably only complained about 50 more times during our short drive to school.
So it’s a good idea to include ten minutes of buffer time in your schedule, to deal with unexpected problems / whining / meltdowns.
Find the one thing that wakes you up and makes you feel alert
Many experts suggest exercise is really helpful in getting you mentally and physically ready for the day. I’m not a morning person and I would find it really difficult to get up earlier than I do to fit this in to my schedule. If you can find the discipline to get up and do this though, it is the best way to wake up your mind and body.
A hot shower works wonders for me, and I always feel better for it. As a mum, I’ve had to perfect the art of showering in under two minutes, but I still find it wakes me up.
I also need tea. My current fave is ‘Clean n green’ from teapigs, a feel-good tea to help you detox in the morning. I feel really refreshed and cleansed after drinking this, and it puts me in the right mindset for work and getting on with my day.
So find that special something that wakes you up and makes you feel alert. Whether it’s a coffee, or ten minutes of yoga, make sure you find time for it in your schedule.
What does your morning routine look like?
I love hearing about other people’s morning routines. Please share your tips below so we can all have less stressful mornings and happier, more productive days.