Parenting young children means shifting your focus every 17 seconds to wipe noses, to find blankies, to answer deep questions about the meaning of life or what fingernails are made of.
In the mornings, the pressure intensifies. The questions and demands are coming in per usual, except you have to be somewhere and the clock is ticking. And it’s the days when you’re especially pressed for time that the kids want to paint the dog’s nails or find out whether you can fit a whole roll of loose toilet tissue in the commode.
A little planning ahead leaves space for toilet fishing and nail polish paw print removal. Even without disasters, smooth mornings set you up to win the rest of the day.
8 tips to stress-free mornings
1. Make a landing space
Install inexpensive hooks and cubbies where kids can put away their shoes, backpacks, and jackets immediately when they walk in the door. It looks tidy and you don’t have to tear the house apart looking for that one missing shoe, eight seconds before the bus pulls up.
2. Lay out clothes the night before, two complete outfits per kid
Include everything down to socks and barrettes. You don’t want to spend any time looking for things. Having two outfits ready lets them choose what they wear in the morning. (Most of the time, your child isn’t as concerned with color or style as you might think. It’s a control thing.)
3. Pack any backpacks and supplies
Again, no need to burn time hunting for things in the morning.
4. Make sure you have gas in the car
If you’re on empty, you can run out the night before or allow a few minutes to fill up in the morning.
5. Prep your coffee the night before
In order to do your job as a parent, you’ll need sufficient brain food. Save time in the mornings by prepping your grounds in the morning, or even pre-measuring your butter and Brain Octane Oil. Or, pop a Bulletproof Cold Brew in the fridge for an ice-cold brain-happy treat to energize you on the road.
6. Prep breakfast and lunches while you’re making dinner the day before
The night before works well too, but after you’ve powered through homework, then carted them to sports, then wrestled them in the tub, do you really want to start slicing vegetables? Chop while you’re already chopping. Then, all you have to do in the morning is assemble. Omelet cupcakes are a quick meal you can reheat in the morning and hand back to the kids to eat in the car.
7. Make a visual list for the kids
Checklists work well to keep kids on task. Even pre-readers can get through a simple picture list of steps to get ready.
8. Pad your ETA
Allowing yourself an extra 30 minutes from bed to door ensures you’ll be on time even when your morning falls apart. And let’s be real — mornings fall apart.
Putting it all together
When morning comes, heat your omelet cups or throw together the breakfast you had planned yesterday. Toss your Bulletproof Coffee Cold Brew in your bag and go.
Meanwhile, your kids came downstairs completely ready for the day, with matched clothes, clean teeth, and backpacks packed. Just kidding. That will never happen. But because they had a checklist, they got some of it done. You may have to step in and help for now, but you’re building habits for later. They’ll do more on their own every day.
Coats and shoes are right at the door, and now it’s time to head to the car. Once everyone buckles in, hand them their breakfast to go and take off with 20 minutes to spare.