How to create a morning routine that works

Family organisation, morning routine, kids routine

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Sometimes feel like you’re losing your mind on school mornings? Here are some simple tips to help you create a simple morning routine that works for you and your kids.


How to get out in the morning without losing your mind

How do you manage to get out of the house on a school morning without losing your mind? 

If the answer is”I don’t”, you may want to read on.

Because I’ve been trialling some morning routine hacks for getting your kids and yourself out of the house in the morning. 

I’m trying to stick to the blatantly obvious things that make a big difference.

But I’ve also found some mind tricks that are curiously good at taming the scary, screechy, “I’m out of control”, beast who lurks inside me.

At the moment these are the biggies that are working best for me …


My school day morning routine top hacks

1. Eat early the night before

Prepping clothes and bags the night before is the simplest way to save stress in the morning.

It’s not exactly hard is it?

But we don’t do it!

Not every night.

Not even most nights.


Because too often we eat late and then have to rush round to get to bed on time.

Bath, milk, stories, teeth, toilet is tricky enough without worrying about tomorrow!

But if we can sit down to eat by 6:30pm we have time to do all these things AND get ready for the next day.

Plus, if we go to bed calmly we’re much less likely to get up in a grump.


2. Plan the week ahead

I am in daily terror of forgetting all the random stuff my daughter needs for school.

Everything from PE kit, book day costume, harvest donations, a shoe box to make a harvest basket, a teddy for teddy’s picnic, books, multiple forms … and that’s just this week!!

There’s always something.

And forgetting them is a catastrophe when you’re a kiddo.

I’m learning that the best way to avoid the panic is to keep 20 minutes sacred every week for shoving absolutely everything in the family diary including all the “stuff” needed each day.

We use Cozi which is this fab free calendar app designed specifically for busy mums struggling to juggle family life. I totally love it and really would be lost without it.

You can add … and colour code!!! … the whole family including grandparent, the nanny or au pair etc and filter by person to see where everyone needs to be AND what they need every day.

Having the calendar there to check the night before and first thing does wonders for my nerves.

And my screeching.

If you’ve not come across Cozi, do check it out here …


3. Do some of the mini tasks the night before

The sheer number of mini tasks to get done in a short time is the killer in the morning.

  • Getting Up.
  • Making breakfast.
  • Eating breakfast.
  • Clearing breakfast.
  • Getting washed.
  • Brushing teeth.
  • Brushing hair.
  • Getting dressed.
  • Finding bags.
  • Polishing shoes.

Getting a child to move from one thing to another quickly is beyond the wit of man.

Or at least this mother!

And of course, we must play our fave family game of hunt the missing shoe, hair brush, cardigan, keys etc in advance of actually starting most of these tasks.

Before we know it, half these tiny jobs have become ‘turn the house upside down’ marathons.

And we’re late, late, late!!


Now, before you start to think I’m losing the plot, I’m not suggesting that serving breakfast up before bedtime is the way forward. 

But, you can prepare for breakfast the night before. 

In fact, it’s a good way to get kids helping out a bit. 

They can set the table for breakfast as one of their chores. 

Shoes can be polished, clothes and bags prepped…

and the biggie… 

Making sure you have an extra bits – dance kit, money for cake sales, random requests from teachers… 

ready and waiting the night before.

Somewhere where you know it will still be the next morning.  


4. Make beds, empty dishwasher, and do some laundry

At this point you are probably saying “crazy lady!! When it’s so hard to get out of the house why make it harder with big jobs?

But it helps I promise, because so much of my anxiety as a mum comes from housework.

I’m not talking an immaculate home here.

Just basic hygiene, laundry and food on the table.

It’s a constant juggling act and I feel that if I falter slightly, I’ll drop the whole lot and will be found lying on the kitchen floor under a pile of laundry sobbing pitifully at my plight.

So tricking myself into feeling I am in control actually helps me calm down.

It takes barely a minute to straighten the duvet and pillows but it gives me an enormous boost.

And it only takes five minutes to empty the dishwasher and put it away. 

Which instantly rids the house of breakfast mess and the kitchen is clear for the day ahead. 

Another big boost.

“What about the laundry?” you say.

That surely is CRAZY.

Well, I load up the machine the night before and put it on timer, so it’s just finished when I get up.

It then takes me ten minutes … no more … to hang everything up.

And then I’ve got my biggest (most loathed) daily battle won by breakfast.



5. Prep breakfasts a week in advance

My family would love a cooked breakfast everyday and fresh smoothies.

Mind you, so would I!

Protein for breakfast helps get everyone going in the morning.

And smoothies are brilliant at protecting veg-phobic young children from every bug going and keeping them regular 😉

But it just ain’t going to happen.

Not a chance.

Not on a school day.

But I can manage a cheat’s version of a cooked breakfast.

It’s not as good as the real thing, but it’s better than nothing and I do think it make us all much happier, smilier, energetic little bunnies first thing 🙂

Hard boiled eggs last in the fridge in their shells for five days.  

So if I can, I boil a big pan’s worth on Sunday evening that will last us through until Friday.

And grilled sausages will last at least three days and they are yummy cold with ketchup.

As for those smoothies … just cut everything up over the weekend, divide into bags and freeze.

Then blend up the night before and store in a jar in the fridge over night.

Et voila!

A sort-of-cooked-breakfast and smoothies on a school day.


So there you have it. Five simple strategies for getting out of the house on school mornings without losing the will to live or your mind. 

Don’t forget, if you want to make use of the free family calendar app, you can take a peak at it here.


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Morning routine, school day routine, family organisation

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Hello, I'm Luci, Editor of Mums Make Lists. MML is full of creative tips I’ve put together to bring calm and balance to the lives of busy mums and their families.

8 thoughts on “How to create a morning routine that works”

  1. Mornings are killer for me and my kids too. I’m terrible at it and feel like a screechy mom too. Muffins are one of my blessings. So easy to make on the weekend and then throw them in the freezer for rushed weekday breakfasts. Yogurt and oatmeal are also part of our regular breakfast rotation.

  2. Awesome tips. Night before prep is crucial at our house, especially for papers that need to be signed, etc. My 13 year old lays out his clothes as well. We do a quick tidy before bed too. It’s easier to face the day when there aren’t dishes from the night before still in the sink.

    My biggest tip? I have to get up before my kids do. I was never a morning person and I’m still not, but if I get up late, the morning is shot. (I’m not always dressed when I take them to school, but I’m up before they are!) Mine are 13 and 16 now and I learned the hard way that rushing them in the mornings just doesn’t work. My 16 year old gets himself up and ready. My 13 year old needs time, so I get him up an hour before he needs to go to school.

    Awesome post.

  3. I am just getting used to this having to get up and go in the morning thing. My oldest just started preschool. I try to make some breakfast food like pancakes and freeze them so I just have to throw them in the microwave. I also make up some smoothie mix, put it in ice cube trays, freeze them, put them in zip lock bags and then I can make a quick one in the morning by adding the frozen cubes and some milk or yogurt. I hope to one day be able to do a little more in the morning like dishes or laundry. Thanks for the great tips.

  4. Back in the day when I had one child in high school (but too young to drive), one in middle school and one in elementary school…life was crazy! I found that if everyone’s backpack was fully loaded the night before and clothes chosen and laid out the night before, we could all get where we had to go without me turning into a screeching monster. It also helped that when they were in elementary school they got 15 minutes to dress, 15 minutes to brush teeth and hair (everyone had long hair!) and the last 15 minutes were for breakfast…they dawdled getting dressed or brushing hair and teeth, no breakfast time left, sorry. Oldest went to school once in her PJs because she just couldn’t get it together…that never happened again 🙂 The 15 Minute Plan gives them the feeling of some control and if they got the job done faster, more time to read a book before heading out the door. But I am taking notes from everyone as I will be taking care of my two granddaughters for a couple of months this winter…been a long time since I had to care for a 7 year old and 18 month old full time, alone! I don’t have nearly the energy I did when my kids were that age!!!

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