Finding Your Morning Routine
Whether you’re a new parent or juggling two or more little ones, mornings are often the busiest time of day! Regardless of the stage they’re at, adopting a few key habits helps start the day off smoothly. With little ones who need to get dressed, fed and ready for drop off, a morning routine with kids is an essential ingredient to the family flow. As you prep for a new fall schedule, keep these 5 ways to create a baby morning routine or toddler morning routine in mind.
5 Ways to Create a Morning Routine With Kids
Littles are creatures of habit who thrive on structure and routine. There may be more on your plate pre-coffee than before you had kids - but there’s no reason you can’t master the morning routine with a few of our tips. Here are 5 ways to embrace a morning routine with kids, stay on schedule and get your littles up and out the door easier:
- Prepare the night before. Do whatever you can after your littles go to sleep so you have more time in the morning. Prep lunch, pull out clothing options for your little one (check the weather forecast!) and have breakfast ready to go. It helps to organize all the things your littles need in the same spot every day so you don’t forget anything. Especially if you’re more of a night owl, make use of evenings and create a special “for tomorrow” storage area where you sort what to pack for daycare or school. Set aside grab-and-go items your little one needs in on the go accessories like pouches that will streamline packing bags even more.
- Wake up before your little. Give yourself at least 30 minutes to get dressed, have a coffee and pack your own essentials in the car. If you’re ready to go yourself, there’s less pressure to rush and you’ll feel mentally set for the day ahead. Preparing for preschool should include a shift toward a fall schedule for sleep, too. If you’re returning to work after baby, creating a baby morning routine can simplify this season of change for you and your whole family.
- Keep calm. Your energy is contagious so if you start to feel frantic and overwhelmed, your little ones may follow your lead. The best bet for a no-meltdown-morning is to keep yourself focused and on task. Get down on the same level as your little one and tell them calmly what you need them to do. Set a timer and explain that when the timer goes off, we have to switch to the next activity or be ready to get into the car.
- Create a morning routine chart. For a baby morning routine or toddler morning routine, use a picture chart to lay out the simple tasks that have to be done: brush your teeth, get dressed, eat breakfast, pack a bag and so on. You can also use toddler flash cards to get your little one involved in the order of the morning routine with kids. Go through the steps with them, empower them to do what they can on their own (depending on their age) and get them excited about mornings.
Connect with your little. Just like at bedtime when the speed of the day slows to gradually set the stage for sleep, a morning routine with kids needs the right pace. Taking the time to be emotionally aware and present alongside your little can make the toddler morning routine a breeze. Spend a few minutes snuggling and breathing mindfully together, choose a positive affirmation to repeat when they wake up, build positive associations through the senses like gentle music and scents that promote a peaceful start to the day (citrus like grapefruit or orange are great options).
Set your little ones up for the day ahead by creating a toddler morning routine with structure and consistency. Since a morning routine with kids can improve self-regulation skills, your little ones will be better prepared to face challenges that come up throughout the day. Clear instructions and following the same schedule every day adds a sense of trust and safety to your little one’s morning. We hope these ideas empower you to follow a toddler morning routine as your little one prepares to shift from summer camp to school this fall!
Frequently Asked Questions
Greet them with a hug and a kiss. Take time to snuggle and read together before getting up. Ask them what they dreamed about and what they are excited about for the day at school. Using soothing music like classical to slowly wake them or rubbing their backs to tell them it’s time to wake up will signal the start of the day.
Since the sensory system can be highly sensitive in the morning, be careful how you wake up your kids. If you startle them awake or use a loud alarm clock, it can send their nervous system into fight or flight mode. Wake up slowly, keep noise to a minimum and come into their room with a soft voice. Make sure your little one goes to sleep at the ideal time to get enough rest for their age.
There are a lot of moving parts to getting a family with young kids out the door in the morning. With a lot of multi-tasking and different personalities to manage, the morning can be a challenging time. If your kids have behavioral or learning disabilities like ADHD, following instructions, focusing on what tasks need to be done or maintaining emotional balance can be difficult. Remember to reach out to your support system or healthcare provider for resources if you need!