Tips for Simplifying Your Morning Routine

Peaceful slumber

With the beginning of the school year for our family, I’m reminded of the importance of simplifying our morning routine. Establishing some good morning habits can take a little time, but it’s well worth the effort. It’s a great way to get the kids off to school and the adults off to work with minimal stress each day.

For the biggest impact on getting the day off to a smooth start, here are the things we prioritize in our morning routine:

Plan for Breakfast 

Our more relaxed approach to breakfast during the summer months just doesn’t work for school days. So when I’m planning the weekly dinner menu, I ask the boys what sounds good for breakfast as well. A few of their favorites include breakfast burritos, breakfast sandwiches, and oatmeal.

oatmealOn the breakfast sandwich weeks, we’ll have all of the fixings ready to throw together each morning. If I cook up a package or two of bacon ahead of time, the only thing left to do is scramble a few eggs while the English muffins are toasting. Breakfast is ready in less than 10 minutes.

Breakfast burrito weeks are made easy by cooking up a batch of filling on Sunday. All we have to do is warm up some filling each morning and wrap it up in a tortilla.

This year we’re also going to try these DIY oatmeal packets that I discovered. While I love preparing the overnight soaked oats from Sally Fallon’s Nourishing Traditions, last minute hankerings do happen. By prepping these packets ahead of time, the boys can reach for one if that’s what they want on any given morning. And by DIYing it, I control the ingredients that go into them.

Prep Food for Lunches

The boys also let me know what they want to pack in their lunches each week. You can take advantage of some great online lunch-planning tools that will help your kids add variety and keep things balanced. If you’re like me, you won’t agree with all of the ingredients mentioned. However, it can still give you ideas on creating your own lists.

Once they decide what they’d like to pack, we prep all of the items we can. It’s surprising how having containers of cut up carrots or bell peppers saves time each morning. If the boys decide they want summer sausage and cheese one week, we get those items ready to put in individual containers each morning too.

Make Sure Everything Has a Home

Nothing is more frustrating than trying to get out the door in time and not knowing where something is. At our house, everything has a home. When the boys come home from school, they empty their lunchboxes and put them in the freezer so they’re ready for the next day. There’s a specific place for charging their school-assigned laptops, and their backpacks get hung up on one of the hooks right by the door.

I’m not going to claim that the boys remember to put all their things where they belong every day. But for the most part, they do a great job on their own, or they’ll remind each other.

Get to Bed at the Same Time Each Night

Sleeping boyA good night’s sleep is crucial no matter what, but it’s especially important on school nights. The boys go to bed at about the same time every night, though we’re a little more flexible on Fridays. Typically, their bodies adjust to this designated bedtime quickly, and they drift off easily. This makes it easier for them to get up each morning when their alarms go off.

If someone in your family has trouble getting to sleep, be sure to read Dr. Lowell Keppel’s post “It’s Never Too Late to Sleep Like a Baby.” He offers up helpful sleep suggestions that you may not have thought of.

A morning routine has saved our family more than once, and I’m sure it will do the same for yours. Not only does it help get us ready on time, it keeps us on track with healthy lifestyle choices when it comes to food and rest.

How could you simplify your family’s morning routine?

Photos from iStock/DmitriyBezborodkin (at top) and djedzura (sleeping child)

Paula Widish

Paula Widish, author of Trophia: Simple Steps to Everyday Self-Health, is a freelance writer and self-healther. She loves nothing more than sharing tidbits of information she discovers with others. (Actually, she loves her family more than that—and probably bacon too.) Paula has a bachelor’s degree in Psychology and Public Relations and is a Certified Professional Life Coach through International Coach Academy.

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