Optimizing our morning routine is something I’m focusing on right now in our home. Our routine was previously pretty good most days, but I’m excited to make it even better.
I am almost always the first person up in our home, so I have the opportunity to set the vibe and create the rhythm for our morning. On days I oversleep, the vibe isn’t nearly as awesome as the days I get up early, drink a cup of coffee, and get energized before the kids come downstairs.
So I polled y’all for recommendations on ways to enhance our morning routine and promised to share the responses y’all submitted. Here were the top 5 recommendations (these were all suggested many times, so you know they’ve got to be good!):
1. Set a bedtime alarm and wake up before the kids.
This is the one we struggle with the most but is the most impactful when we execute it. And it was hands down the most popular response!
I usually wake up about 20 minutes before the kids, but this week I started getting up 60-90 minutes before them…and y’all are RIGHT — it’s a game changer. I’m still trying to figure out how I want to spend my morning time, but so far it’s been a nice start to the day.
Some specific tips for waking up early:
- Set a bedtime alarm. If you have an iPhone, your recommended bedtime can be automatically calculated for you based off the hours of sleep you need, as well as what time you want to wake up. You can find this feature under the clock app.
- Put your lamp on a timer and schedule it to turn on after your alarm goes off.
- Program your coffee pot to brew your coffee 10 minutes before your alarm goes off so you wake up to the smell of coffee waiting for you!
2. Prepare as much as possible the night before.
This is probably the only tip I’m currently nailing. As part of our longtime bedtime routine we have the kids pick out their outfits for the next day. After the kids go to bed I empty out their backpacks (so I can toss artwork in the trash without getting caught) and repack them. I also complete and pack any forms, paperwork, checks, etc. they need for pre-school. Then, in the same spot every day I set aside everything that needs to go out the door in the morning — backpacks, shoes (& socks), a coffee mug and snacks for Matt to take to work, keys, sticky notes with reminders, etc. I also straighten the house. Matt and I can’t go to bed unless the kitchen is clean and the house is picked up. This is not a deep clean. We take just a few minutes to do a quick toy pick-up, flip or fold a load of laundry and I always sweep the kitchen floor up from dinner crumbs. We both really love waking up to a clean house.
3. Quiet morning hour activities and healthy habits.
I loved reading about the ways you all like to jump-start your day and am feeling very inspired by your routines! There were so many good tips submitted for how to use early morning alone time to energize your day. The most popular were to read, pray, meditate, stretch, make the bed, and workout!
The specific book recommendations I received:
- The Miracle Morning: The Not-So-Obvious Secret Guaranteed to Transform Your Life (Before 8AM)
- The One Year Praying through the Bible for Your Kids: A Daily Devotional for Parents
- Habits of the Household: Practicing the Story of God in Everyday Family Rhythms
- The Daily Stoic: 366 Meditations on Wisdom, Perseverance, and the Art of Living
- She Reads Truth Bible Reading Plans
- The Optimal Morning Routine (This is NOT a book, it’s a YouTube video. I wasn’t sure where to include this in my post, but it’s SO very insightful and I would highly recommend giving it a listen.)
4. Replace TV with music.
I love this tip so much and it’s one that we try to do as often as possible! We’ve also found replacing tv with music in the morning is WAY better for us — less distractions, no arguments over what to watch and there’s more conversation over breakfast.
My favorite submission around this was actually an excellent song recommendation: Good Morning by Mandisa! I’m working on a “Good Morning” playlist and added it — the kids LOVE it!
5. Create a morning routine for the kids.
Establishing a good morning routine for the kids has been super helpful for us so I thought I’d share what ours looks like. (Disclaimer: I am not claiming this routine is perfect, it’s just what works for us. And it’s taken the entire school year to establish our routine to the point that I’m not constantly coaching/nagging them through every step). It also really helps that the kids are getting older (7.5 & 8.5) and are able to do more for themselves too.
Kids Routine: Both kids know they each need to complete their “5 Things” every morning once they come downstairs (dressed & teeth brushed): 1. Thomas puts an eye patch on to wear for an hour and Caroline is supposed to brush her hair (this is still a challenging part of our routine as Caroline fights me pretty hard on helping her with her hair). 2. Put their dishes in the sink after breakfast. 3. Put an ice pack in their lunchbox and pack their backpack. 4. Fill their water bottle for school and put in backpack. 5. Put on their watches and shoes. Once all of that is done, they can go outside and play until it’s time to head to the bus stop.
Thank you all so much for taking the time to share your morning routine tips!! I hope this post was helpful to you. And if you think of another thing that has helped optimize your home in the morning, please share in the comments!