Is every morning rushed, chaotic, and extremely stressful? Do you have trouble waking up, or getting your kids to wake up? What you need is a good morning routine. Even if that seems impossible right now, you can do it. It was scientifically proven that a new practice takes 21 days to become a habit. The only question is where you start.
An evening routine
Do you want to start a great morning routine that works for the whole family? The key lies in the evening before. If you want things to run smoothly when you get up, you have to start with an evening routine — for both kids and parents! If you have been going to bed really late, you (and your kids) will not be able to just fall asleep at an earlier point all of a sudden, at least not very easily. Still, start working your way to going to bed at an earlier time where appropriate. Children up to age 10 or so need at least 10 hours a night, while most adults need eight hours to feel like normal humans during the day.
Evening routines that work — meaning they get you in the mood for sleep, and help prepare for the next day — depend on your family’s individual needs. Bath time is a sure way to get some kids (and adults) to relax, while it only makes others more awake. Brushing teeth and having a wash, and changing into PJs should be part of every night time routine. Before or after that, you can tidy up a little, do the washing up, and prepare clothes, backpacks for kids and any documents parents need to take to work, and lunch boxes where applicable.
Many families fall into the trap of using electronic devices in the hours before they plan to go to bed. Watching television, a DVD, playing a computer game and browsing the internet are all really common late-night activities that have a large impact on most people’s ability to go to sleep and enjoy a peaceful night. Ha! I am doing it right now.
Blogging is probably one of the worst things to do right before going to sleep. Don’t do it. Forums are another highly interactive activity that, besides making your mind hyperactive before going to bed, still manages to eat into the time you should really be spending with your immediate family. Reading books, having a family discussion, or playing (board) games are all great alternatives that get you in the mood for bed.
Good morning! Ideas for wake-up routines
If you have prepared your essentials the previous night, mornings can mostly be a peaceful time to wake up, have a wash or a shower, and to get out the door or get your day started — if, like us, you work from home and homeschool. Some kids are natural night owls who will never really love mornings. The same goes for adults, obviously. Others are morning people who have no trouble getting up. Allow for these differences where possible, giving some members of the family more time to wake up than others.
I, for instance, am an evening person and can never quite wake up in the morning. I need several cups of coffee to turn into a human, and I like to check my mails and read newspapers for about an hour before I become productive. My husband is a morning person wakes up early even without an alarm clock. That is why he makes the coffee and the breakfast — an essential part of a good morning routine — before waking the kids up. The kids like to sleep in where possible, but a tasty breakfast with some juice gets them up. In the meantime, my husband leaves me in peace while I defrost.
Most kids also thrive on a relaxed morning. If yours have homework, make sure they do it the day before so they don’t have to stress about finishing any assignments in the morning. If your kids pack their own school bags, check them so you don’t have last-minute searches for lost calculators or workbooks.
Most people find that waking up at the same time each day makes the routine that much easier to stick to. Unless you really value your lazy weekends, consider getting up at the same time even on Saturday and Sunday. A good morning routine can take anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour or more. It can include cooking a breakfast, or you could do something easy like cereal instead.
Whatever you do, stick to it. Rigorously. After a while, you will all feel much better. Starting the day on a positive, organized and nutritious note helps a whole lot. I promise!