How I Became a Morning Person for My Kids & How You Can Too
There are many things I took for granted before having kids. One of the most underrated privileges was sleeping whenever I wanted to. When my babies were small, I remember weeping in the bathtub about my lack of sleep as the baby’s screams echoed through the monitor. Now that my children are older and have to get on a bus, I cry because I am forced to become a morning person.
Seriously? Do you even know me?
My son’s bus picks him up at 6:15 a.m. so things have certainly had to change around our house. Here’s the thing I want you to know, though. I became a morning person. I am one of those annoyingly peppy people that hops out of bed and gets things done before the sun even rises. I don’t even know myself anymore. It has taken a few years to get to this point, but getting up earlier has changed my life in so many positive ways that I am actually thankful to have been forced to adapt.
If you struggle during mornings with your kids, here are some things I have found helpful when I had to transition into being a morning person.
Six Tips for Making Mornings With Children Easier
1. Adjust your schedule slowly
If you are a mom that usually sleeps in until 8 a.m. and find yourself with a new 5 a.m. wake-up time, the adjustment can be brutal. I have found that adjusting my schedule to begin earlier by one hour (or even a half hour) in the weeks leading up to the transition can make it a lot easier when transitioning to an earlier wake-up time. Just as we transition our kids to earlier bedtimes during the school year, our bodies also benefit from a gradual transition too.
2. Do all you can while your brain is still functioning
From setting out backpacks to signing paperwork, I try to do everything I can the night before. This maximizes time for me to sip coffee like a zombie until I get my kids on the bus. The best gift I give myself every morning is the cup of coffee I prepared the night before in my programmable coffeemaker. If you give yourself one gift in the morning, that’s a great one.
3. Simplify breakfast routines
Similar to the programmed coffeemaker, anything you can complete ahead of time is a gift to yourself. Chop up fruit for a healthy side, prep baggies of ingredients for morning smoothies, put a big batch of steel-cut oatmeal in the slow cooker, or make ahead some easy breakfast sandwiches to quickly zap in the microwave. Make Sunday a food-prep day for the week ahead, and reap the rewards all week long, especially in those early hours.
4. Avoid checking your phone first thing
One of the worst routines I got into was checking my phone in the mornings. Checking my email yielded tons of things that I needed to address (increasing my anxiety), and Facebook was a downward spiral of wasted time that often led us to be late. Try to avoid your phone as much as you can until you have tackled your morning to-do list, and then sit down with a cup of coffee to enjoy an hour of funny cat videos. At that point, you’ve more than earned it.
5. Add cues to keep you on task
Since I have two kids with two different morning schedules, I was constantly checking the clock and trying to keep everyone on track. Consider setting alarms on your phone to give cues when you need to get your kids up and another five to 10 minutes before you need to leave. Alarms will help train your brain in those early hours so you can keep track of when it’s almost time to head out the door. I can’t tell you how many times these cues have saved mornings that can derail at any moment.
6. Give yourself morning rewards
Yes, it stinks to get up early, but it doesn’t have to be as awful as it sounds. I savor that first cup of coffee, but I also pair it with something else I love. Whether it’s listening to some great music, an audiobook, a podcast or the morning news on National Public Radio, think of something you enjoy, and find a way to incorporate it into your morning routine.
Whether you use one or all of these tips, your morning routine will improve and you’ll dread waking up early less. Even these tips may not make it easy, but they will help make it bearable!