Mornings are difficult! Even if you are a morning person (lucky you!) mornings are never easy. Although to be honest mornings are not really difficult in themselves – it is what is involved in your morning and your morning tasks that make them difficult. In this post I will share tips and advice on how to make your mornings easier, and more enjoyable.
So what makes our mornings difficult? Some of the most common things that make our mornings crazy are listed below. Some of these things may apply to you, some not:
Getting kids ready and to school/daycare
Getting yourself ready for work
Having time to eat breakfast
Taking each of the things listed above that may make your mornings worse, here are some tips and advice for each.
Getting kids ready for school/daycare
Depending on the age of your children, this may be the hardest thing about your mornings. Very young children, who are not able to do things for themselves, are going to be harder to get ready in the mornings. But there are things that you can do to help get your children ready in the mornings, whatever their age:
Lay out clothing/outfits the night before. Having an outfit and clothes all ready set out the night before can really save time in the morning. That way you aren’t hunting around for clothing that matches, or for something that is clean. If your children are old enough you can have them dress themselves, using the outfit already put out for them. Yes of course there will be occasions when they don’t want to wear what you laid out, or they spill breakfast all down themselves and need to wear something else instead, but for the most part this prep will really help!
Have things they need all ready to hand. Pack backpacks ahead of time and have them waiting by the door ready for you to leave. Place text books near the door ready to grab in the morning. Place whatever is needed near the door where you will see it prominently in the morning.
Ask your children the night before if they have anything you need to sign, give them money for etc. There were so many times that my kids said to me during a rushed school morning that they needed me to sign a permission slip, or give them money for something. Those things can really slow down your morning. If they can let you know the night before you can have what they need done and ready for them to take in the morning.
Make their lunch ahead of time (see further along in this article).
Make breakfasts ahead of time (see further along in this article).
Getting yourself ready for work
If you have very young kids there is usually barely any time to get yourself ready in the morning. Older kids make it a bit easier, but it can still be a challenge making yourself presentable to actually leave the house!
Get yourself ready the night before. Perhaps there are things you can do the night before if your mornings are really rushed. Can you take your shower the night before, wash your hair the night before? Lay out your clothes the night before? Think about anything that you can do the night before to make things easier in the morning.
Get up a bit earlier. Perhaps getting up 15 minutes earlier, 20 minutes earlier, or longer can help you fit in your shower, allow you to dry your hair etc, before the rest of the house gets up.
Make breakfast ahead of time for your family. Obviously you want your family to have a healthy breakfast, and there are healthy breakfasts that you can make ahead of time that are healthy and satisfying for your family. Overnight oats can be made ahead of time and eaten in the morning, muffins and breakfast casseroles can be made ahead of time. Your children may want things for breakfast that can’t be made ahead of time – such as cereal etc, and that is fine – they don’t take that long to put together in the morning. But if your children want something with eggs or something that needs a bit of baking and prep time, consider what you could make the night before. Or you can insist that there are weekday breakfasts and weekend breakfasts. Weekday breakfasts are fast and easy like cereal with milk, and weekend breakfasts can take more prep and more time to eat and involve eggs and baking etc. Let your family know the difference and get everyone on board with what to eat and when.
Having time to eat breakfast
Making breakfast ahead of time might give you more time to actually eat breakfast. Getting up a little bit earlier in order to enjoy breakfast could also help. Are there things that you can do the night before, as has been previously discussed in this article that would therefore be eliminated in the morning as things to do, that would give you more time to eat breakfast? Is the breakfast you are eating/or want to have too much for a weekday morning? Perhaps you love eggs and bacon for breakfast, but it takes time to eat and prepare (and can’t be prepared the night before), therefore should you perhaps switch to a different breakfast for weekdays? Save the longer to prepare and eat breakfasts for the weekends.
Check out this recipe for homemade donuts that you can prepare either ahead of time or for a great treat on a weekend!
Preparing lunches for you and your family the night before can really help your time in the morning. Many sandwiches can be made ahead of time and kept in the refrigerator. Salads can be made up ahead of time and kept for the morning. Make ahead anything you can that can be stored in the refrigerator overnight, or is not perishable. Pack lunch bags ahead of time the night before if you can.
If you are feeling that your mornings are just so rushed and un-enjoyable, sit down and make a list of all you have to do in the morning. Put a time next to each item that each task takes. For instance your list might look something like this:
Get up, shower and wash hair (20 mins)
Make my lunch (5 mins)
Make childrens lunches and pack lunch bags (10 mins)
Prepare breakfast for the family (20 mins)
Pack backpacks for school (5 mins)
Put on makeup (5 mins)
Get kids dressed (5 mins)
Drive kids to school (20 minutes)
Go through your list and figure out what you can eliminate, what you can do the night before, and what you can do differently about your mornings. Things you can do the night before would be making lunches, preparing breakfasts, packing backpacks, setting out clothes/outfits etc. There may not be much, if anything, that you can eliminate entirely from your mornings. You could of course eliminate things like putting on makeup, but do you really want to go without makeup, or do it in the car on your way to work? (I had to do that for years!). Some things just cannot be changed or eliminated, such as driving the kids to school. When you look at the time you are taking to do certain things, you could either get up a bit earlier to take care of that task, or do that task the night before, or eliminate it.
The key to not feeling unprepared in the morning is to be prepared ahead of time and preparation. As previously mentioned, make ahead meals and food, set out clothes and outfits the night before, do what you can the night before. Thinking ahead and preparing ahead is the key to feeling more prepared in the morning.
What about the fun stuff?
Are there things that you really want to be able to do in the mornings – such as work out, sit and have a relaxing cup of coffee and read the newspaper on your own? If there are things that would really make a difference to your mornings and your life, make time for them. You could certainly wake up 20 minutes earlier to allow yourself some time on your own to enjoy a nice cup of coffee and read the newspaper before the rest of the house gets up. Getting up 30 minutes earlier might allow you to run on your treadmill, or do some yoga in the mornings. What can you eliminate from your mornings and do the night before to make time to do the things you want to do in the mornings?
Just remember that mornings involving going out to work, getting children ready and to school, making breakfasts and lunches etc are always going to be a little stressful and rushed, it’s just the way it is, but there are always things that you can do to make things easier in the mornings, and to put a little more calm into your life!