It was one of those mornings. I had overslept (again!) and was woken up by a crying baby and a cranky toddler. I looked at my alarm clock and saw that I had half an hour to get myself and three kids out the door. 30 minutes of panic ensued, but somehow we made it out with minimal damage. Our stress levels, however, were another story.
Can you relate? Are your mornings filled with stress and chaos? Here are a few tips to help you eliminate stressful mornings and start off the day in peace.
4 Ways to Eliminate Stressful Mornings
1. Start the Night Before
The biggest key to having a stress-free morning is to prepare for it the night before. Take a minute to think about 3 things that add to your stress level in the morning. Is it making lunches for the kids? Finding clothes to wear? Not having any clean dishes for breakfast? Looking all over the house for that overdue library book? Trying to drag yourself and the kids out of bed?
Now make a plan for ways you can prepare the night before to eliminate that stress point. Can you pack lunches in the evenings? Run the dishwasher right after dinner? Go to bed half an hour earlier?
When I did this exercise, I made a plan. I decided on 5 things that I would do each evening in order to make my mornings run more smoothly. I wrote them down, along with a general time in which I would do them, and did them every day for 3 weeks until they became second nature.
Here is my evening plan (you can read more about it here at 5 Things I Do Each Evening to Set Up My Mornings for Success):
- Clean the Kitchen (right after supper)
- Pack all lunches (after supper)
- Lay out everyone’s clothes for the next day (before kids’ bedtimes)
- Pack backpacks and my bag (before kids’ bedtimes)
- Everyone to bed early (find out why Our Children Go to Bed Ridiculously Early)
By doing these simple things each night, I have dramatically reduced my stress in the mornings.
2. Wake Up Before the Children
Probably the single most important thing that I do in order to start the day off stress-free, however, is to wake up before my children each day. When I allowed my children to be my alarm clock, I always felt like I was running behind. I was tending their needs, helping them get breakfast, getting them dressed, and in general running around without a plan.
This had to stop! I felt frazzled and behind before I had even gotten out of bed.
I decided to take control of my mornings by setting a wake-up time that was before my children’s. After looking at our schedule, the time we needed to leave each morning, and the time my children needed to get up, I chose a wake-up time of 5:30. This gives me half an hour to get myself ready and have a few minutes of peace and quiet before the kids wake up.
I chose to do three things in my half hour of peace:
- Get dressed, make-up on, hair done (10 minutes–I’m seriously low maintenance!)
- Pray in our icon corner by myself (10 minutes)
- Write for 10 minutes on a project (I wrote a children’s book that way!)
With my 30 minutes of calm, I am able to focus on things that center and recharge me–giving me the strength and peace to help my family the rest of the morning.
3. Create a Morning Routine
Next, once I had decided on my wake-up time and morning plan, I made a morning routine for the family that would get us out the door each morning without too much stress.
First, I set our departure time of 6:45. Then I worked backwards to fill in all of the things we needed to do in order to leave at that time. After talking with my husband, our family’s flexible morning routine looks like this:
- 6:00 Wake kids up, get them dressed
- 6:15 Everyone at the breakfast table eating cereal, oatmeal, or toast with peanut butter
- 6:30 Family Morning Prayers in the icon corner
- 6:40 Get shoes on, backpacks on
- 6:45 Out the door
This flexible routine works for this season of our life. Our kids are currently quite young (7, 4, and 2) and don’t require a lot of time to get ready. We also keep breakfasts super simple in order to eliminate any need for cooking or prep in the mornings. I am sure that the routine will need altering once our kiddos are older, but right now it works for us.
4. Begin the Day with Prayer
Finally, starting each day with prayer truly helps our family maintain a peaceful household on busy mornings. I pray alone before the kids are awake–generally trying to pray from the Psalter. I am usually able to pray 3 psalms each morning, which means I can go through the entire Psalter in less than two months.
Our family also prays together. We pray an abbreviated version of the Morning Prayers consisting of the Trisagion prayers, the Lord’s prayer, the Jesus prayer, and a personal prayer.
I used to think that we didn’t have time to pray the Morning Prayers each day. However, I decided to time them one morning to see how long they actually took. It was all of 8 minutes! So, I added the prayers to our morning routine, budgeted 10 minutes for them, and decided that we would stick with the schedule for three weeks to see what happened.
One year later, we are still able to include prayers in our morning routine. (If you’d like some ideas, encouragement, and practical tips for creating a routine of prayer in your house, be sure to sign up for my free 5-day e-mail course Becoming a Family of Prayer: Orthodox Style.)
By doing these four simple things (starting the night before, waking up before my children, creating a morning routine, and beginning each day with prayer), we were able to eliminate stressful mornings in our home and start each day out with peace.
The Best Resource to Help You (with an AMAZING deal!)
Would you like to have stress-free mornings this upcoming school year? Do you want to learn how to create your own evening and morning routines that will help you eliminate the crazy and focus on the productive?
Crystal Paine, of Money Saving Mom, has created two amazing courses that I have used and loved. In fact, pretty much everything I have learned about homemaking routines has come from her!
Crystal’s courses are called Make Over Your Mornings and Make Over Your Evenings, and I do not exaggerate when I say that they will change your life. Because of them, I was able to create a peaceful atmosphere in my house, find time to start a blog, and write two books. Talk about life-changing!
Simply click HERE to find out more about this deal and the courses themselves. You can even see the first lesson for free! There is also a money-back guarantee, so you literally have nothing to lose.
When you do, I’d love to hear about your experience. Let me know what you think!
What do you do to have a stress-free morning? Tell us in the comments!
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