Parenting Tips for a Successful Morning
Some of us are morning persons, and there are also many of us who just can’t seem to get out of bed and face the day that lies ahead. Unfortunately—no matter what your preference is—when you’re a parent you pretty much have no choice but to be an early riser.
What exactly is it that twists your arm and forces you to rise and shine? It’s the often dreaded morning routine—the part of your day when you have to get your kids up and out the door on their way to school all while trying to maintain some sense of calm.
You may not realize it, but the morning routine that comes with being a parent doesn’t have to be an absolute nightmare. At first, the morning routine will by no means be easy (and you’re bound to hit a few bumps in the road from time to time), but the morning routine can actually be mastered.
It may seem crazy that you can actually have some command over you and your kids’ morning routine—and while there are definitely ways to execute a morning routine that works—you have to remember that it isn’t all about keeping your kids under control.
When it comes down to it, the morning routine starts with you. If you make the time to get the proper head start, you’ll be more than prepared to strap in and take the wild ride.
Get up before your kids
This may sound a little painful, but you’re going to have be up and out of bed before your children (in this case, that’s what it means to get a head start). If your kids have to be at school by 7:00am or so, you’re probably going to want to begin your day at about 5:00am.
Yes, that’s definitely early, but you’re going to need some time to settle into your morning before you can take on the task of getting your kids ready for school. It’s just like with any other kind of job you have to tackle: rolling right out of bed and into a day’s work really isn’t the best way to get started. You need time to collect yourself so you can be as sharp as possible.
In the instance of getting your kids prepared for school, having a clear head is key if you want to have the least bit of control over the situation. If you’re still a bit groggy when you try to get going, you definitely won’t be able to assert yourself in the way you need.
Also, there’s the added bonus of witnessing a beautiful sunrise.
And remember, if you’re going to wake up early, you need to make sure that you’re getting the proper amount of sleep at night.
Make time for yourself
Getting up before the kids isn’t just about sitting there and waiting for chaos to begin as the fogginess of sleep begins to lift. You should use the time to do things you enjoy so that you can approach the morning routine in good spirits.
One great option to help you ease into your morning and face any potential insanity is a healthy dose of meditation or mindfulness exercises. Meditation has been shown to reduce stress, improve self-awareness, lessen anxiety, and it really just makes for a better mood.
When you think about all of the wonderful benefits of meditation as it relates to you and your children’s morning routine, it at least makes sense to try and give it a shot. You won’t be as easily angered if your children are acting combative, you’ll be less likely to have a meltdown if the routine seems to be getting out of hand and you feel as if you have no control, and you’ll have a better understanding of how you’re reacting to certain stressors and why (due to the self-awareness aspect).
You don’t have to be a meditation expert by any means, but simply doing the basics is going to work wonders. If you don’t know how to approach meditation methods, there’s plenty of literature out there to help get you started.
Meditation is perfect for the peace of mind you’ll need to handle you and your kid’s morning routine.
Getting some exercise is also a great way to ensure that you’re the ringleader of the morning routine circus.
For one, exercise keeps you in good health (you probably already knew that). Secondly, getting exercise releases endorphins—chemicals in your brain that simply make you feel good. More endorphins means less stress, and stress is exactly what you’re trying to avoid when getting your kids ready to start the day.
Maybe you could take a run or jog or bike ride around the block or a hiking trail (depending on where you live this could allow you to enjoy some nice scenery, and this definitely pairs well with a sunrise), or maybe you could even try some yoga.
In addition to the health benefits of exercise (both mental and physical), getting some exercise is going to guarantee that you’re fully awake by the time you have to start getting the kids ready.
Yes, exercise will eventually cause a little exhaustion later on in the day (just take a nap if you have the time), but the endorphins (caused by an increase in heart rate and steady blood flow) and all the body movement gives you the energy you need to get started.
Even if you don’t really have trouble getting up in the morning due to fatigue related reasons, sometimes the struggle to get out of bed simply has to do with your overall mood.
We all know that life is tough, and sometimes life can just grind you down to the point where you feel like you can’t go on. That’s where finding a little bit of inspiration comes in.
There’s tons of books out there that are meant to help inspire and remind you that while life can be hard, it’s in fact a beautiful and wondrous journey. Maybe you could try finding ones that work for you and read just a little bit each morning to help get you started.
If it’s the struggles of being a parent that are getting you down, there’s loads of inspiring parenting quotes and books out there that are bound to remind you that you have the strength to be the best parent possible.
You also might want to find parenting blogs (like this one for instance) that can offer you the advice and inspiration you might need.
And let’s not forget, reading is good for you no matter the content. If it isn’t parenting inspiration you’re looking for, just try reading a good book to get your gears moving.
If you feel you don’t have the time to read while settling into your morning (don’t forget that you shouldn’t rush anything), you can always tune into some podcasts while taking care of something else. There’s no shortage of inspirational or motivational podcasts out there (geared towards parents or not), and you can always listen to them if you decide to take the exercise route.
Podcasts coupled with exercise allows you to kill two birds with one stone. You can get your endorphins going, and you can get some healthy motivation and the fresh perspective of others as you prepare to deal with the kids.
Do some writing
Sometimes, all you need to get going is a little mental organization and a way to get your thoughts flowing freely and clearly. A great way to get your mind going in the morning is to start out with some writing. Really, you can write about anything you want; you don’t necessarily just have to write out a list of daily tasks (though that never hurts).
You can simply write about how you’re feeling (whether that be good or bad), certain aspirations you have or goals you’d like to meet, ways you feel you could improve your overall emotional health, the reasons you feel that you’re a good parent (because you definitely are), the things that bring you joy and why, the dreams you had the night before, or you could even make up some stories.
Choosing to write a little fiction is always a good idea. Not only is it fun but getting creative is always good for the mind. Remember, you don’t have to be Shakespeare or Dickens to write a good story. Just write down whatever comes to mind and see where the journey takes you.
You should also remember that writing can often be a cathartic experience. Being able to express yourself freely is always going to make you feel good, and making yourself feel good (no matter the approach) is the only way you’re going to be able to get through your kids’ morning routine with ease.
Try making some art
Writing isn’t the only creative way to get your day started. If you feel you’re up for it, maybe you could try doing a little painting or drawing. A lot of times, parents enjoy doing arts and crafts with their kids, so it makes sense that you might enjoy doing it on your own as well.
Just as is the case with writing, you don’t have to be the next Picasso to enjoy making art in the morning. If you do indeed possess great artistic talent, then this is definitely a great way to start your day, but just do a little messing around and see what happens.
The sound of music
Listening to songs that calm you down or get you going is another way to help with your morning mood. If it’s music with vocals, maybe you find inspiration in the lyrics. If you’re more instrumental music, just let the sounds wash over you and work their magic.
In this case, you’ll probably want to use headphones. Remember, you don’t want to wake up the kids too early. And don’t forget, you can always listen to your favorite music while you exercise, or even when doing some writing.
Don’t forget to eat breakfast
Getting your kids to eat breakfast in the morning is a really tough task, but you aren’t going to be able to make breakfast and sit your kids down to have a meal if you haven’t properly nourished yourself first. And remember, you’ll definitely need a little nourishment if you’re the type who likes to exercise in the morning.
A great go-to option is a smoothie. Smoothies are well-balanced, and they’re very easy to make. If you’re worried about the noise of the blasting blender waking up your kids before you’re ready to have them running around the house, just make one the night before and put it in the refrigerator.
If you don’t feel like making a smoothie, you can always just snack on some fruits and vegetables along with having a bagel or some toast.
Completing any sort of task is always made more difficult if you’re trying to get the job done on an empty stomach. You need to make sure you stay energetic and sharp for whatever the day brings you, and a happy stomach is going to guarantee that you’re more productive.
Helpful tips for a smooth morning routine
As you’ve probably already figured out, a good morning routine starts with you taking care of yourself first. Yes, the routine is centered around your children, but you have to make sure you’re ready to take on the challenge before you jump in.
So, now that you know what to do for yourself, here’s a few things you might want to try once the rodeo starts (or even just a little bit before).
Pack lunches the night before
On the evening before, you and your kids should assemble their school lunches so you don’t have to do it the morning. Talking with your kids about what they want to eat beforehand (although you do have to set some guidelines) is going to make your morning much easier.
For one, the lunches will already be prepared, and secondly there’s no fuss about what to eat.
You might also want to discuss what your kids would like to have for breakfast the night before. Again, it avoids the chaos of deciding what to eat.
Have a wardrobe prepared
You and your kids should pick out what they want to wear to school before the morning begins. Making frantic decisions is definitely a recipe for disaster when trying to get the kids ready for school, and sometimes picking out what your kids want to wear can take forever (really, this goes for adults too).
Organize school supplies
You should have your kids backpacks in the same spot every morning and ready to go with all their school supplies so you aren’t running around trying to find a math book or pens or pencils.
Make a routine chart
When you make a routine chart, your kids will have no problem understanding what needs to be done before they head off to school. You should make a chart and hang it in a place where all the kids can see that gives a clear breakdown of the routine.
The chart should include things like brushing their teeth, getting dressed, eating breakfast, having school supplies ready, etc. If you give your kids a clear visualization of how the routine should work, it’s going to make the routine run smoothly and your kids will be able to get things done without you having to look over their shoulders for the entirety of the morning.
It isn’t always about the morning routine
Yes, it’s absolutely imperative that you know how to be prepared to handle your children’s morning routine. But you should also remember that engaging in any of the aforementioned activities is going to makes you a more relaxed individual which is key to being a strong parent.
And in terms of the effectiveness of your routine, you have to make sure it stays a routine.
A strong head start begins with a healthy you
While the morning routine is definitely about getting your kids ready, it’s also about you. You’re the one who’s going to have to guide your kids through the routine, and if you’re not prepared there’s absolutely no way your kids are going to be able to follow some haphazard plan.
Really, this goes for any aspect of parenting. You have to be confident with yourself and ready to go if you’re going to take on the difficulties of parenting. But when solidifying that morning routine and making sure that everyone stays on track, remember that it’s going to fall apart if you don’t take care of yourself first.