Need to revamp your mom morning routine with kids? I did too. After being stressed all the time, I decided to cultivate a more peaceful morning vibe, and so far it’s working.
My mom morning routine with kids has never been something I structured much. I am a very go with the flow kind of mom who follows my children’s lead so that I am creating their routines and schedules around where they are in their development and preferences.
So when I decided to make some slight changes to what we were doing in the mornings, I didn’t make and big sweeping changes that would shake my children’s sense of security and rhythm.
Instead, I focused on myself. While my kids are part of my mom morning routine, I didn’t start us on this routine with them in mind, but rather with me in mind.
Because a happy mom is a happy family, and a less stressed mom means more fun for kids. If I’m more at peace from the start of the day, then I’m less likely to turn into a mom monster by bedtime.
Let me walk you through some of the most important aspects of my routine. These are the things that are game-changers to me that lead to more peaceful mornings with my kids. (And we still get all the things we need done!)
And just a couple disclaimers. First, I have added affiliate links to this post, so if you want to check out a product I love and purchase through my link, I get a small commission at no cost to you.
Also, this is our ideal morning. This happens about half the time. The other half things go off the rails. So don’t think I am perfect and have it all together every single day. That just isn’t true. Many days, I’m a hot mess.
Self-Care Comes First
I might do a quick diaper check on my twins when we first wake up in the morning and get downstairs, but once I’m sure there won’t be any poop or pee leaking around my house, I focus on myself for just a few minutes.
First, I turn on my light therapy lamp. It’s currently the week of Halloween here in the Northeast US, and as we get deeper in fall, approaching winter, the days are shorter. In fact, some mornings we wake up and it’s still dark out.
I tend to fall victim to seasonal affective disorder, and so getting my light lamp on right away is part of what I’m doing to help combat it this year. The rest of my morning self-care routine is in an attempt to stave it off as well as just my general propensity to fall into depressive cycles no matter the season.
Once the lamp is on, I grab a full glass of water and my vitamins. I make sure to drink the entire glass so I can kick off the day hydrated. There are tons of benefits to starting your day with water instead of coffee right away, and I can vouch that they are true from my anecdotal experience.
The vitamins I’m currently taking are a prenatal (because I’m still nursing), Vitamin D, Vitamin B Complex, and Calcium Magnesium. I explain why I chose these vitamins in this blog post.
Only after I do these things, do I start making my coffee.
I used to use a Keurig, but I hated all the waste it created, both financially and environmentally. For a while, I used the reusable cups that fit into the Keurig. I was able to make that work, but I didn’t LOVE it.
Eventually, I made the switch to french press coffee, and OMG my life is so much better. The process of making the coffee, from putting the kettle on the stove and hearing it whistle when it’s ready to the smell of the freshly ground beans just feels luxurious.
The Keurig was very utilitarian, and that’s cool, but the french press just makes me feel like my coffee is special. Not to mention, it is the most delicious coffee you can make.
So what have the kids been doing while I’ve been doing my little self-care mom morning routine? Playing!
If all went well the night before, which is an odds of about 50/50, then the living room and kitchen are mostly tidy and they can dive into re-messifying it.
An empty space with toys displayed on the shelf (Montessori style) is super enticing to my kids, and for the most part, they can entertain themselves for pretty long stretches. Of course, I am literally in the same room with them so they are not “alone,” but they are playing independently (or with each other).
An important note on the toys. 97% of the toys we have are quiet. They make NO noise. I tend to favor wooden or eco-friendly toys when possible, though we still have a good bit of plastic toys as well.
Beyond the fact that quiet toys mean more peaceful mornings with kids, it also allows them to use their own imagination and creativity much more than other toys.
Some days we do our self-care routine and playtime in silence. No TV or anything except the occasional squeal of a playing kid. Most days though, I turn on Spotify on a Disney playlist and we rock out to some tunes.
When one of my kids is sick or it was a really rough night I will turn an actual show or YouTube on TV, but I really avoid this in the morning.
My kids are generally in the best moods in the morning and happiest to play quietly without any additional entertainment or complaint. The goal for me is to keep the TV off (besides music) until afternoon when my daughter can watch something as my twins nap.
After I finish the self-care part of my mom morning routine with kids, I start getting breakfast ready for the kids while they play.
We go through phases of what we eat for breakfast. We had a good month or two there when we had pancakes for breakfast nearly every single day. Made from scratch no less!
My daughter usually helps me in the kitchen whether that is with measuring and mixing up pancakes, making popcorn in the airpopper, or even cutting up the fruit with a crinkle cutter!
She is 4, turning 5 soon, and food preparation is an essential part of her homeschool/preschool. I like to focus on practical skills, art, and play right now.
Once breakfast is ready I call them all into the kitchen area and I sing them a little morning song that my boys love. This is the song. It just seems to be like the official start of the day. We are totally awake and ready to start the day with some delicious food.
More Me Time
I do intermittent fasting, so I don’t usually eat breakfast with the kids. I do the 16:8 method, which basically means I stop eating around 7-8pm at night and then skip breakfast and have my first meal around 11-12pm.
My main reason for this is that I just feel better when I don’t eat breakfast doing and am not usually hungry for breakfast. I also have found it helps with the couple patches of psoriasis I have.
I’m not a nutritionist or recommending everyone do this, it is just what seems to make me feel the best and have the most energy. Instead of eating, I get to drinking my coffee and having some quiet time to myself as the kids dig in. Though I am flexible here. If my husband wakes up before me and makes his famous chocolate chip pancakes or cinnamon sugar donuts, you bet I’ll be indulging!
At this point, I’ll usually do some work, read the news, even read a book, or do some budgeting. Whatever catches my attention that morning. Sometimes I even set a 5-minute timer and clean up the living room if we didn’t get to it the night before.
But this isn’t supposed to be hardcore work time. I do get stuff done a lot, but it’s at my own pace and as I feel like it. Sometimes that means sitting with my coffee and scrolling Instagram, and sometimes it means wiping down every surface in the kitchen, sweeping the floor and mopping. I go with how I feel.
Time to Go Outside
I am really committed to getting my kids outside every day that I can. We don’t get out for long periods every single day, but my goal is to be out 3 hours a day! To get 3 hours of outdoor play in each day means I try to get at least one of those hours in during the morning.
This one of my favorite aspects of my mom morning routine with kids.
Some experts recommend kids have at least 3 hours of undirected play outside each and every day. I am convinced of the benefits of being outside for my kids because more time outside usually means better sleep, fewer tantrums, and better appetites.
But again… this is part of my own self-care.
As much as I believe this is good for my children, I KNOW it is just as good for me. Even if it is as simple as taking what’s left of my french press out onto the back porch while the kids swing and slide on our play equipment, I feel so much more grounded and like myself when I have time outside.
If my husband is up and ready when it’s time to go outside and he doesn’t have immediate work, we go for walk as a family around the neighborhood. This is one of my favorite times. Being outside with my favorite people, and I know how lucky I am that this is my life.
Somedays we have activities or outings scheduled first thing in the morning and outdoor time has to wait. For example, on Mondays we have ballet and Thursdays my boys have speech therapy in our home. So on those days, we go outside in the afternoon.
But somedays we are able to go hiking in the woods or for walks in a park with other moms, and that is always awesome too.
For Christmas, I just got my boys some Oaki waterproof rain suits so the elements won’t be a reason for us to miss time outside.
This is a Mom Morning Routine with Kids, NOT a Schedule
So at this point in our day, we are usually starting to get towards 10-11 am, which means my twins are ready for a nap.
But I want to take a minute to note something you might have observed. I don’t have specific times that all of this goes down. Unless we have a scheduled activity or event, the mornings are very free-flowing and easy-going.
Peaceful. Calm. Relaxing… besides the occasional toddler fight over a toy.
Since each of my kids were born, I have never put them on a schedule. Instead, I follow their lead. I watch their cues and respond accordingly. We don’t feed on a schedule we feed on demand. We don’t have a scheduled time for bed, we follow cues on when they are sleepy, and we eat when they show signs of hunger.
After the first few weeks, babies will typically find their own rhythm, their own routine. Once that happens, I just adjust our life accordingly. I might try to nudge them towards one time or another as needed, maybe pushing naps a little longer by 20-30 minutes, sometimes an hour, but I try to stick to what their little bodies want to do naturally.
So many of us are not used to being able to follow our own body’s intuitive cues that we think we need to over-schedule our children’s lives too. But I’ve found when I am able to just tap into all of our needs and follow the signs our bodies give, things go so much more smoothly.
Our mornings generally begin around 6-7 am when my twins wake up. Sometimes I let them play at the foot of my bed for a little while with whatever toy I have in the room for them with some Mickey Mouse on.
If I’m super tired, I’ll let them do this for 30 minutes to an hour until I can drag my sleepy butt out of bed. I don’t really sleep during this time, just relax and try to enjoy my cozy bed a little longer.
But by no later than 7:30 usually we are downstairs and into the mom morning routine I outlined above.
To reiterate one more time, it isn’t a schedule, it’s a flowing morning routine with kids.
Just the Right Amount of Structure
The reason morning routines with kids are so nice is because kids do tend to do well with some amount of structure, as do adults. Though they also need their own time to move slowly when needed, to explore, and to just be kids.
A schedule that is too structured or too regimented can take away a lot of the whimsical and playful feeling of being a kid. Our kids grow up so fast nowadays, that if we can at least in our mornings protect this feeling of freedom, then it can go a long way.
I realize that a lot of moms out there have school drop-offs to do, work to get to, and activities scheduled every day.
So I would challenge you to consider how you can incorporate this spirit of peace and free-flowing time with your children. Is there something you can cut out? Can you focus on having one day a week, on the weekend perhaps? Can you embrace the old school tradition of a sabbath? A day of rest where you have no plans and can embrace some self-care routines and free play with the kids?
There are a ton of ways to can bring the spirit of a lazy and peaceful morning routine into your life if you think outside the box.
But back to structure.
There is ONE trick that I use to give us some structure during our morning routine.
That’s the list.
My daughter has a list of things that she needs to do every day before she can watch TV, her iPad, or before we can go do any fun activities or trips.
It’s not long, and if she focuses on it, she can be done with it within 15 minutes or so, but she can also take her time with it if she likes. Her list includes:
- Get dressed
- Brush teeth
- Change the date on the calendar
- Do a small writing assignment like a page of letter tracing
- Practice her piano
- Put any clean clothes away
- Tidy her room
Now, she is 4. I don’t expect perfection with this like putting her clothes away or cleaning her room. Sometimes I just set a timer for 4 minutes and she has to work on it for those 4 minutes and when the buzzer goes off she can be done, but it’s fun to see how much she can accomplish during that time!
And many times there are no clothes to put away and her room is still tidy, so it isn’t even a task she has to do each day. I do know these are things she is totally capable of, and I want cleaning up after herself to just be a natural part of her life. Nothing I have to cajole or bribe her to do. So it’s just part of the morning routine.
As she does her list I generally follow along with her as she does this list, which usually happens somewhere between when we have breakfast and go outside, though sometimes she starts as soon as we get up, and sometimes she waits until my twins are napping.
But most of the time I follow the same routine with the boys as what she is following on her list after they’ve finished breakfast. When she picks out her clothes, she goes into her brothers’ room and grabs them some clothes and brings them to me. I change them, brush their teeth, and we all go over the calendar together before she does her reading and piano.
While she does her reading and piano I play a game with the boys or read them a book. The morning routine with kids is pretty flexible, but I do try to get some reading for some quality time with the boys. They looove books.
What I Don’t Do
I don’t get up before my kids.
Tons of moms and experts recommend waking up early and having some time for personal development, or time to be productive. But I just can’t.
My twins are still nursing through the night and wake up around 6 am, so I would have to get about 7 hours of sleep that is interrupted at least every 2 hours through the night and wake up by 5 am to get that extra hour of time to myself in the morning.
Maybe some day it will work for me, but right now, I need the sleep more than I need anything else.
That’s why I also make sure that I have time for myself throughout the day, even if it is in short 5-minute snippets while the kids are happily playing together.
I also structure our entire life in a way that makes me happy. Of course as a mom I have to follow my kids’ needs and ensure they are happy and cared for too, but I don’t see why I shouldn’t cultivate a life that merges all of our needs into a cohesive routine that works.
It’s not perfect, and there are days when the kids take up all my time. Then there are days when I turn on Mickey Mouse all damn day so I can get a few minutes of peace. But it all evens out in the end and I have more good days than bad, and it all starts out with the mom morning routine. A routine that centers self-care even though it is a morning routine with kids.
What about you? What is part of your mom morning routine, and your morning routine with kids? Share in the comments!
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