10 Tips for Establishing a Flexible Morning Routine

Whether your kids are back at school or virtually learning at home, setting and maintaining a morning routine can be an important component to a successful day. 

From toddler tantrums and packing your kids’ lunches to teenagers sleeping through their alarm, there is no shortage of obstacles you might face in the morning. 

By establishing a solid morning routine, you can turn your chaotic mornings into a pleasant and enjoyable experience for not just yourself, but your entire family. At the very least, it might help prevent you from running late to your morning meetings or activities.

Here are our favorite tip for establishing a successful morning routine:

1. Master a Night Routine First (With a Good Night’s Sleep)

You can’t have a successful morning routine without mastering your night routine first, and this all starts with a good night’s sleep. Everyone in your family, including yourself, should have a reasonable and age-appropriate bedtime. While it doesn’t have to be strict, it should still be something everyone maintains as closely as possible, especially kids.

Did you know that experts recommend seven to nine hours of sleep per night for adults? This range of sleep is considered a marker of good heart health. Solid sleep gives you more energy to tackle the day and helps with healthy eating goals. For kids, sleep is critical to mental and physical development as well as meeting milestones.

Here is a breakdown of recommended sleep by age:

  • Toddlers need 12 hours of sleep a night.
  • Children aged three to six need 10 to 12 hours.
  • Children aged seven to 12 years olds need 10 to 11 hours.
  • Teenagers need around eight to nine hours.

Want to learn more about establishing healthy habits to improve your mental and physical health? Check out our blog here for 14 tips you can implement to your everyday.

2. Prepare the Night Before for a No-Rush Morning

Preparing small things the night before can go a long way to creating a “no-rush” experience in the morning. While you will not be able to prepare everything the night before, here are a few things you can prioritize:

  • Lay out outfits for yourself and kids to wear the next day; this will also help you discover any clothes that need to be washed or ironed that night.
  • Pack your kids’ lunches and prepare bottles/meals for your toddlers or babies.
  • Load the car with items that don’t need to be refrigerated such as clothes for after-school practice, backpacks, school books, etc.
  • Check the weather forecast for the next day and prepare ahead of time if rain or snow is expected.
  • Take care of household chores such as last-minute laundry, cleaning the dishes, and taking out the trash.

3. Talk With Your Kids About What’s on Their Mind

One important way to create a stress-free morning is to anticipate what is likely to cause stress. For kids, this can be anything from a big exam, a disagreement with a classmate, or feeling anxious about a big game, school activity, or project. Make a point to talk with your kids the night before about what’s on their mind, what concerns they have, or what they are looking forward to. By talking through these tough or exciting things before bed, you can help create a smoother morning with less stress.

4. Prepare and Eat a Healthy Breakfast

A nutritious breakfast not only jumpstarts your metabolism and contributes to the maintenance of a healthy weight, but it can also stimulate your mind and serve as the basis for a successful day.

No matter how busy your day might be, never skip breakfast and avoid grabbing prepackaged snacks on the way out the door. Prioritize a well-balanced breakfast that is low in processed sugar, and try to include fresh fruit, whole grains, and proteins.

Need some healthy meal and snack ideas? Check out our blog Recommended Daily Sugar Limit and Healthier Sugar Alternatives.

5. Make Mundane Morning Tasks Fun

Trying to get your energetic toddler dressed or convincing your kids to brush their teeth can be difficult. One way to motivate them in the mornings is to make these tasks engaging and fun.

Set small, age-appropriate goals for each of your kids and offer rewards for achieving those tasks. For younger kids, these rewards can be as simple as a sticker, and for older kids, it can be giving them a few minutes of screen time after their schoolwork is finished.

You can even motivate your kids to complete tasks by playing their favorite song or challenge them to see which sibling can put their shoes on the quickest. Make sure to praise your kids for doing a good job and completing each of the tasks as well.

6. Have Everyone Make Their Beds

Making your bed every morning means you have accomplished the first task of the day. In most cases, this will give you a sense of pride and will prompt you to do another task followed by another. Research from the National Sleep Foundation even shows that making your bed in the morning can equate to better rest at night because you are falling asleep in a more organized bedroom.

For kids, this small task can instill good habits early on and help them lead a more organized lifestyle. After all, it’s challenging to accomplish large tasks without tackling little things first.

7. Create a Flexible Morning Routine, Not a Rigid Schedule

A particularly important aspect of setting a successful morning routine is to not set unreasonable expectations. Keep the routine flexible and set reasonable goals; otherwise, you will wind up feeling frustrated when things don’t go to plan. 

Whether you are a parent or not, your mornings will inevitably not always go according to plan. Sometimes you or your child will not be in a good mood or you forgot to pick out your clothes the night before. You might even accidentally sleep through your alarm. Try to incorporate 15 to 30 extra minutes into your daily routine so that when things go off-kilter, you are prepared and can adjust accordingly.

8. Limit Screen Time

From kids to adults, most people enjoy scrolling their phones, watching cartoons, or playing video games, no matter what time of day. Your kids might even want to rush to do these activities and neglect to accomplish their morning tasks in the process. For younger kids, screen time can even distract them while eating their breakfast causing them to not receive the necessary nutrients for growth and development.

Consider cutting out screen time in the mornings entirely so no one is tempted, or only reward your kids with screen time when they are completely dressed and ready to go.

9. Stay Calm and Positive

When you feel the pressure of a tight schedule and daily responsibilities, it can be easy to get angry. However, it’s important to keep in mind that the more frustrated you are, the more stressed your kids or those around you will be. Yelling will only backfire, especially when it comes to younger children.

Do your best to stay calm and keep a clear mind. This positive attitude will help keep everyone else on track and prevent a domino-effect of anger and frustration. To accomplish this positive attitude, refer back to preparing the night before, getting a good night’s sleep, and setting a flexible routine.

10. Get Yourself Dressed and Ready First

Kids always come first, but when it comes to a successful morning routine, it’s important to put yourself first. Even if it requires waking up a little earlier, try to prioritize getting yourself dressed and ready for the day before focusing on the kids. This will also allow you more time to make breakfast and possibly enjoy a hot cup of coffee or tea before starting the day.

Good Habits = Good Morning Routine

By establishing good habits every day, you’ll naturally create a flexible and successful morning routine for yourself and your family. From making your bed each day to eating a healthy breakfast, you are likely to find it easier to enjoy your day and accomplish tasks.

Keep in mind that this successful routine is dependent on getting enough sleep each night. For tips on setting a sleep schedule for your kids, download our Cheat Sheet below!

How to set a solid sleep schedule for your kids