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Getting ready in the morning can be a challenge for parents and children alike. With everyone having different schedules and preferences, it can be difficult to coordinate and streamline a morning routine. However, with a few hacks and tips and some good morning routine ideas(from yours truly), the entire family can make getting ready in the morning a breeze.

Effective Morning Routine For Busy Parents

The K.I.S.S. Principle

I speak about this on my ‘about us‘ page. Back in College, my professor used to say Keep It Short and Simple, K.I.S.S. But I put a ‘Simply’ twist on it with Kind, Involved, Super-fun, and Sage. That’s my style! I use this not only in these morning routine ideas but also in my fathering method, simply.

Mornings are awesome! I wrote about it in many of my previous articles. I love mornings with a passion, and I’m trying to pass this down to my son. Granted, he’s only 7, but so far so good. He loves mornings(knock on wood) and I hope he continues. 

But, we are not perfect and there are always things to do in the morning before we all leave the house. Fortunately, his school is only a 6-minute walk from home. Many Korean neighborhoods were constructed with the kids and schools in mind, thus giving the parents and kids extreme convenience in going to and from their schools.

Here are a few morning routine ideas that I use to get us ready and going. I try to keep things at a slow pace so as not to give my son the impression that we are rushed or late. A morning rush is a BIG no-no! The morning ‘mood’ will dictate most of the day’s mood.’ So, don’t be ‘that’ guy that wakes up on the proverbial side of the damn bed. Make your new day awesome. 

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ideas for morning routine. Light bulb on post it note

Create a Morning Schedule

Establishing the best morning routine for your family will ensure the day starts as smoothly as possible. A routine will help everyone know what to expect and can make the morning less stressful. Parents can create a routine by making a checklist of tasks that need to be completed in the morning, such as getting dressed, brushing their teeth, eating breakfast or other chores.

Routines are the backbone of any success in life along with consistency. 

So, from Monday through Friday be consistent with your routine and things will be so much simpler for everyone in the house. Period. I don’t know what your family needs as a routine, but you do. KISS…establish these important things right here…

-Wake up Time

-Breakfast time

-Brush teeth

-Shower time(if needed)

-Dress up

-Departure time

++Hack! Put these in writing on a piece of paper on the fridge. Once the routine sets in, it gets easier. Routine!

Black man doing Yoga

Wake Up Early for Some “Me Time”

One of the most effective ways to kickstart your day is by waking up early and carving out some dedicated “me time” or “Daddy Time” before the chaos of the day begins. Set your alarm clock to wake up at least 30 minutes before your children.

This quiet time in the morning allows you to gather your thoughts, practice self-care, and set a positive tone for the rest of the day. Use this time to engage in activities that bring you joy and help you center yourself, such as meditation, yoga, reading, or exercise. Basically, getting a head start for the day ahead.

++Hack! Get your workout clothes ready the night before. 

man running on treadmill

Establish a Morning Exercise Routine

Physical activity is not only beneficial for your physical health but also plays a crucial role in boosting your mood and energy levels. Incorporating exercise into your morning routine can give you a much-needed energy boost and set a positive tone for the day.

Whether it’s a brisk walk, a yoga session, or a quick workout, find a form of exercise that you enjoy and make it a non-negotiable part of your daily routine. Include this in your ‘ME TIME”… 

If you can, head to the gym by 530am and be back home by 7 am. You can achieve all this before the kids wake up.  And, Boom…your awesomeness of a day has just begun!

Hydrate Your Body

After a night of sleep, your body needs hydration and nourishment to function optimally. Start your day by drinking a glass of water to rehydrate and kickstart your metabolism. Consider adding a slice of lemon or a splash of apple cider vinegar to enhance the detoxifying effects.

espresso shots from an above angle

Establish a Morning Ritual

Having a morning ritual can provide a sense of structure and tranquility to start your day. Consider incorporating activities that bring you joy and set a positive tone for the day. This could be enjoying a cup of coffee or tea, practicing mindfulness, or listening to uplifting music. Find what resonates with you and make it a cherished part of your morning routine. Another ME TIME a.k.a Precious Time! 

Plan Your Day the Night Before

To avoid feeling overwhelmed in the morning, take a few minutes each night to plan out your day ahead. Make a to-do list and prioritize your tasks, ensuring that you have a clear roadmap for the day. This will help you stay focused, organized, and prevent any important tasks from slipping through the cracks. By taking care of this the night before, you can wake up with a clear mind and hit the ground running.

Lay out clothes the night before

I’ve got a boy. I don’t have to make braids/ponytails or pick out a range of clothes for him. Easy stuff, for the most part. But, mornings can be hectic, so laying out clothes the night before can save time and reduce stress. 

Parents and children can choose their outfits the night before and have them ready to put on in the morning. This will eliminate the need to search for clothes in the morning and ensure that everyone is dressed and ready to go on time. This includes school backpacks, all that is needed for school, homework, and so on. Check this Hack out…

++Hack!  Purchase this hanging shoe rack from Amazon. Don’t use it for shoes, use it to prep your child’s clothes. Roll up their outfits for each day of the week and place those clothes in each opening. The top one starts as Monday and work your way down to Friday or Sunday, all up to you. 

Boom! Do this on Sunday evenings and now your kid is dressed right through Friday without wearing the same thing twice.  Awesomeness!

Minimize Digital Distractions

Oh, this is a big one for me. I’m not a screen-loving type of Daddy but I know it’s easy to get sucked into the black hole of social media and email first thing in the morning. However, constantly checking your phone or scrolling through social media can derail your productive day and create unnecessary stress.

Resist the temptation to dive into the digital world immediately upon waking up. Instead, focus on your own well-being and priorities. Set aside dedicated time later in the day to catch up on emails and social media.

corn flakes falling from above into bowl

Prep Breakfast in Advance

Food might vary widely depending on where you are in the world, but you can make this as simple as possible. Breakfast is an important meal, but it can also be time-consuming to prepare. It’s also the biggest part of these morning routine ideas.

Parents and children can save time by preparing a nutritious breakfast in advance. This can be done by making overnight oats, baking muffins or breakfast bars, or preparing a smoothie the night before. Having breakfast ready to go in the morning will make it easier for everyone to start the day.

We eat eggs daily with toast, oatmeal, Korean bread, rice, or potatoes and we include fruits as well. We do the same menu a few times a week, so we know what to expect. 

++Hack! Get the utensils/cups/plates ready on the dining table the night before. This will save a little time. If you’re having cereal, get the cereal boxes out the night before and set them on the table. The only thing you’ll need to do is get the milk out in the morning and prep the other stuff as needed. 

Cold Oatmeal

++Hack! Make some cold oatmeal the night before. That’s good for the kids as well as the parents. Soak some dry oatmeal in some milk overnight. The next morning the oats will be soft. You can add honey or brown sugar and fruits. For the fit dads out there, you can add a scoop of protein to the mixture. 

Another way to incorporate these morning routine ideas for breakfast is to keep things plain and boring. Yes, I said that! You can make the same menu every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday and have a separate menu and Tuesday and Thursday as well. Simplified!

Delegate and Share Responsibilities

As a busy parent, it’s crucial to recognize that you don’t have to do everything alone. Delegate tasks and share responsibilities with your partner or the older kids. This can include dividing morning tasks such as preparing breakfast, getting the children ready, or packing lunches. By sharing the load, you can alleviate stress and create a better start to your morning routine.

Prioritize Quality Time with Your Children

Amidst the hustle and bustle of the morning routine, it’s essential to prioritize quality time with your children. Yes, great time management is crucial in the morning but also find moments to connect and engage with them on a deeper level. T

his could involve talking while having breakfast together, engaging in meaningful conversations, or participating in a shared activity before heading out the door. Making these moments a priority allows you to strengthen your bond with your children and create awesome memories.

Chore Chart for morning routines

Use a visual schedule

As mentioned above. Write it down so the kids and you can see it. If it’s written, nobody can say “No”, that’s not what you said.” Because the proof was written down. ..You can use that in the office too. It works wonders! Or have a visual schedule for young children… 

Visual schedules or ‘to-do lists’ can be a great tool for children who struggle with getting ready in the morning. A visual schedule is a series of pictures or symbols that represent different tasks that need to be completed. Children can use the visual schedule to see what they need to do next and stay on track with morning chores and any other duties. 

Depending on their age of course. You’re not going to give this chart to your teenage son right? I’m just saying…

countdown timer

Use a timer

Timers can be useful for children who need extra motivation to complete tasks in the morning. Parents can set a timer for each task and encourage their children to try to beat the timer. This can make getting ready in the morning more fun and engaging for children. 

Make it a race if things are slugging along in the morning,  tell the kids, “The first one ready can have ice cream after dinner.” Or something of that nature. How about “last one ready folds the laundry?” Chores are never-ending! Get your kids involved!

++Hack! Use the countdown timer on your phone, the one with a loud buzzing sound, to let everyone know if it’s time to leave, or time to be dressed, etc… Feels a little Damon Wayans in Major Payne but it works!

Car Keys with alarm RC

Have a designated spot for items

Keeping track of items can be challenging in the morning. To make it easier, parents and children can designate a spot for items that need to be taken to school or work. For example, backpacks and lunchboxes can be placed by the door to ensure that they are not forgotten.

“Where are my keys?” “Dad, where is my school bag?” etc… I Heard that one this morning! 

++Hack! Put things where they should go in the first place…right?! Backpack near the door, Check! Car keys, Check! Taekwondo uniform, Check! Don’t put the items in their right place sometimes, do it all the time… Consistency always wins!

Practice good sleep habits

Getting enough sleep is essential for a successful morning routine. Parents and children should practice good sleep habits, such as going to bed at the same time each night, avoiding screens before bedtime, and creating a relaxing bedtime routine. Getting enough sleep will make it easier to wake up in the morning and start the day.

I have several articles on this blog about sleep, for kids and parents, please take a look at them. They are very helpful. I also believe in lullabies both for kids and parents. As cheesy as it may sound, there are many positives about using these gentle sounds to fall asleep and stay asleep. Try them out! 

Recent research by the National Sleep Foundation indicates that children are not getting enough sleep. We are raising sleep-deprived kids. So, make sure your kiddos are getting enough shut-eye by following the guidelines in the link provided. 

++Tip! Get them to bed early! This gives their bodies a chance to rest and grow, and it gives mom and dad time to relax and have a cold beer.

++Daddy Tip! Make your kid’s wake-up times consistent. On school days they should be up and ‘walking’ at a certain time. Period…

Embrace Imperfection and Practice Self-Compassion

Finally, it’s important to remember that no morning routine will ever be perfect. There will be days when things don’t go as planned, and that’s okay. Embrace imperfection and practice self-compassion. Give yourself grace when unexpected challenges arise or when you don’t accomplish everything on your to-do list.

Remember that a productive morning routine is about progress, not perfection. Focus on what you have accomplished and celebrate the small victories along the way.

A little note~

I did not include making and packing lunches, as we don’t need to do this in Korea. Again, depending on where you are in the world, lunches might be a large part of your morning routine. You should meal prep before you sleep, get menus organized, and KISS… I don’t pack lunch here so I can’t be too detailed, but it all comes down to being organized when you wake up. 

++Korea has a free lunch program for students here, and their lunches are very nutritious. Students never bring their lunches to school, it’s non-existent. 

stressful morning quote

Bye Bye, Crazy Morning!

Mornings can be challenging for parents and children, but with a few small adjustments, it can be made easier. Establishing a great start to the day is essential for everyone in the house. With all the previously mentioned morning routine ideas,  you’re surely on your way to having a great start to the day and this will ‘rub off’ on your kids… Monkey See, Monkey Do.

++Hack! I know you don’t want to hear this. I know… But if you wake up a little earlier, shit won’t hit the fan in the morning. Simple. Stop hitting that ‘snooze’ button, and get up 10, 20, or 30 minutes earlier to make sure everything runs smoothly. 

The effectiveness of your morning routine often depends on the quality of your evening routine. Make small changes to your evening habits to set yourself up for success the next day. This could include packing lunches and backpacks, laying out clothes, and reviewing your to-do list for the next day. By completing these tasks in the evening, you can minimize morning chaos and create a smoother transition into the day ahead.

I hope this blog post with my favorite tips helped you all out…These morning routine ideas are meant to help you out, but if you do get up earlier it’ll help you out. Also, before everyone rushes out the door, make sure that kisses and hugs are exchanged. Always! 

Enjoy this time in your kids’ lives. They are only young once!

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