I’ve been reading up on morning routines, you know the ones. ‘How to wake up happy’ and ’10 things productive people do in the morning’. And the main thing that struck me, NONE of them have been written by a Mum, they can’t have been. Who actually has time and space, not to mention quiet, to meditate first thing, to write, or run a mile. And if you do manage these things, please tell me how? If it includes getting up at 4am so I can get up before my early wakers, it isn’t going to work.
For most of us I know mornings are chaotic, fraught and probably not the best way to be starting our day. So for those of us who think we are winning at life when we just about make it to the school gate on time, what can we do to make our mornings happier?
I should start with a disclaimer that I have only recently been doing these things, hence my usual chaotic, grumpy mornings. However I thought the summer holidays would be the best time to start and try out what will be our new routine at the start of the new school year.
Preparation is key
Sort out everyone’s outfits/uniform the night before including underwear, so there are no kids shouting, “where are my socks?”. Older kids can help get their own clothes ready for the morning and don’t forget to check the weather forecast.
Make sure you make any packed lunches the night before too as this is a real time killer in the morning.
Start with a tasty breakfast together
I don’t think we ever sit in the mornings and have breakfast together, unless we are on holiday which is a bit sad really. I make the kids breakfast and then spend the time they are eating getting myself or other things ready. But if I have all the clothes ready for everyone and no packed lunches to make, I should have time to sit and eat with them.
Whilst trialing our new routine we’ve been enjoying sitting together to have breakfast and I’ve realised the little chat opportunities I have been missing out on. Our favourite breakfast to have together is a heaped teaspoon of Nutella on bread – you only need a 15g portion per person as a quick and delicious way to spread a little happiness at breakfast.
Get some chores done
I always feel better in the mornings if I get a job done straight away. It might be as simple as unpacking the dishwasher, or putting on a load of washing. I use a planner that has a section for ‘one job I must complete before others’ in this I put down the job I’m least looking forward to, or the one that is most urgent. But I will also put down a household job and start my day off on a positive feeling.
The kids have things to do to help in the morning too, like making their beds.
Create a routine and stick to it
For a routine to become a habit it needs to be repeated. So for happier mornings you can’t skip a step or the routine won’t work. I’m looking at you, the one who will skip their breakfast (yes I mean me).
Make sure your kids know the routine, i.e. get up, make bed, get dressed, eat breakfast, brush teeth. Then they can have time to play whilst you finish getting yourself ready, safe in the knowledge that everything and everyone is good to go.
I have been dreading the back to school but now I have started our little calmer, happier morning routine I know it isn’t going to be so bad!