Yesterday I talked about the importance of having a good morning routine to help your family start the day in a positive, peaceful and stress-free way. The first step to accomplish that is to ‘Start the Night Before.’
I know we’re talking about mornings, but the first thing to do is to make sure we do everything we can ahead of time, so we don’t have to rush in the morning. What can we do the night before to smooth our mornings? There are many things we can do ourselves, and things we can do with our kids starting in toddlerhood. Here’s what we do in our home:
Things to do with our children
- Prepare backpacks, diaper bags and anything they need to leave the house. I have a list of all the things my kids need when they leave the house in the morning. In that list, I mark all the things that can be done the night before and make sure I do them before starting my bedtime routine with my daughters.
- Review all homework, notes from teachers and permission slips.
- Put all the things mentioned above, plus school library books and any extra clothing they need (snow boots, gym clothes, hats and globes when needed, show and tell items…) inside their backpacks.
- Hang their backpacks in our entryway closet.
- Leave out the clothes for the following day. With my toddler, we go to her closet and I give her two options that I am ok with, so she can chose what she wants. With my 9 year olds, we review their school and after school schedule for the following day, and they chose their clothes appropriately. I make sure the clothes are appropriate and that’s it.
Things to do on your own
1. Prepare snacks
If the snacks are not perishable or don’t need to be refrigerated (ie. cereal bars, raising and crackers…), I prepare the snack bag the night before and put it inside their backpacks. If the snacks are perishable or need to be refrigerated, I fully pack them up and leave them in the refrigerator. That way, in the morning, they only have to grab the snack bags and put them in their backpacks.
2. Prepare lunch
I don’t do this the night before, but I highly recommended it. The reason why I don’t do it is totally cultural and a bit paranoid.
I grew up in Spain, where children have hot lunches with appetizers and desserts. Therefore, most days, I cook a hot lunch for my daughters in the morning. That’s the cultural part of it. The paranoid part of me believes that the food won’t be as good when the girls eat it at noon if I prepare it 16 hours before. So, we cook their lunches every morning!
One thing that has really helped me with lunches is menu planning, so I only have to think about our meals once a week. Meal planning is a whole other issue that I will address in the future in detail.
3. Fill out their water bottles
We send our daughters to school with refillable water bottles. I make sure to rinse them (or wash them when necessary), and fill the up the night before. Then I place them in the refrigerator by their snack bags, so they remember to get both things in the morning.
4. Prepare my bag and clothes
The same way I do with my kids, I do it for me. Be an example, right? If I am going to exercise in the morning, I leave out my sports clothes and my dress clothes for the following day. If my workout will happen in the afternoon or evening, my sports clothes won’t be out in the morning,
5. Review the schedule for the next day and plan my day
I like to sit down every night before I go to bed and go over my schedule, and jot down what I need to do the following day. That way, I go to bed knowing that I have a good plan for the day.
Truth be told, the plan can go out the window the following day with a sick child, or a sick dog, or a house-related emergency. But for the most part, I like knowing in advance the predictable things that will take place the following day, and my main goals for the day.
6. Go to bed early
I am a night owl, and I love the silence and stillness of being by myself when everyone is asleep. I can gather my thoughts, I can watch my favorite shows, I can read, I can journal, I can write my gratitude journal… without being interrupted.
However, this healthy habit that is part of my self care routines can turn into a curse. More often than not, I stay up too late, I watch one too many episodes of my favorite Netflix show, and I end up going to bed way past my bedtime. That’s the first step to having an awful morning. So, one of the best hacks to have a great morning, is going to bed early!
I hope this was helpful to you. Let me know if your morning routine improves following this simple tips!
Much love, Diana-