It’s 5:45 a.m. I’m snuggled warm in my bed, drooling on my pillow when the sudden onset of “Nah, nah, nah!” in high-pitched shouting toddler voices fills the air. The accompanying stomps of little pj’d feet let me know that my tots are awake and beginning their morning jamboree. My day has begun.
It’s not easy waking up before the roosters to care for two kids under four years old. (What will I do when #3 arrives next month?) This mama job isn’t for the faint of heart, but it’s the best job I’ll ever have. Here is my best advice for how to survive mornings AND maintain your sanity with toddlers and preschoolers at home. Just remember, these days will fly by and then be gone forever.
Tasks to do the night before
Set an alarm
It might seem counter-intuitive if your kids are early risers like mine, but setting an alarm to wake up even just ten minutes before they do gives you YOU time each morning. I need that.
Take these minutes to read your daily devotionals, start your coffee maker, and dedicate yourself to making the most of your day, even if it doesn’t go quite as planned.
Preset your coffee maker
Style to succeed
Set clothes out the night before. Take photos of your favorite outfits and tape them to the back of your closet door if you need outfit inspiration.
Set up for breakfast
Put out place settings on the table. Prepare anything you can make in advance, like chopping fruits for smoothies and storing them in your blender. Fill your children’s sippy cups and refrigerate to transform morning madness into morning gladness.
Jot down your to-do list
Take fifteen minutes to scribble down what you’d like to accomplish the next day. Then, take a marker or highlighter to circle the tasks that are high priority. These WILL get done, no matter what. Complete the remaining to-do’s on your list the next day as time dictates. If you really want to get organized and go the extra mile to create a freakishly detailed and effective to-do list, read this post.
Morning’s here, enjoy it!
Nothing feeds that nagging feeling of frumpiness like lounging in pajamas until noon. Shed your pjs and slip on that fashionable outfit you picked out last night. Promise it will instantly make you feel like taking on the day.
Brush your Teeth & Get Gorgeous
Armed with fresh breath and a little mascara, you’ll feel like you can take on the world… or at least whip up breakfast. Sure, your husband probably knows you don’t wake up with minty fresh breath every morning, but do your kids really need that insider info?
A new study from REACH shows 82% of the nation’s moms never skip brushing their teeth every night. No matter how busy your day gets, don’t skip your oral health. In fact, we should be modeling dental hygiene for our tots. My kids treat getting new toothbrushes like it’s Christmas, and live for toothpaste tasting. Make the most of their formative years. Brush yours and brush theirs.
I received a REACH product for free in order to facilitate this review, but all opinions are my own.
I recently received a REACH Complete Care kit to test out, and was surprisingly pleased with how well the Complete Care Curve Toothbrush’s curved neck could reach even the back wisdom teeth (still got ’em all!) without all kinds of ridiculous maneuvering. Score!
Having REACH Complete Care Mouth Rinse around the house made me feel energized and helped mask that awful mom coffee breath. This one foams a little and really feels like it gets into all the cracks and crevices, protecting your teeth and gums from gingivitis and preventing tartar buildup.
Start with Scripture
Getting into God’s Word is the best way to maintain a peaceful state of mind even when your toddler has spilled his fourth sippy cup of breakfast smoothie on your brand new carpet. Nothing keeps my mind centered on modeling Jesus like starting the day with Him.
Moms, your attitude creates or destroys the atmosphere of the home. Ever notice that? Get started off right by using these free Scripture card printables I made just for you as a wake-up tool and observe how much more enjoyable your morning becomes. Meditate on a verse or two, pray for your children, and get going with your day.
Getting your blood pumping does wonders for your outlook. Boost your endorphins with a morning jog, exercise video, or brisk stroll with your kids. If you’ve still got nappers in the house, make the most of that time to fit in your workout. You’ll feel energized throughout the day and wear an extra inch of confidence knowing that you’ve done your body good. Here are my favorite workouts for busy moms and best pregnancy workout videos on YouTube.
Clean like a boss
Keep cleaning supplies in each room of the house that will need a quick spic ‘n’ span each day. Store spray bottles and cleaning rags in the kitchen, bathrooms, and wherever else you’ll need to tidy. When you find yourself in that room with two minutes to spare, bust out the supplies and get your clean on!
Enroll in the make over your mornings course
Have you ever wondered how others seem to make time for exercise, prayer, Bible reading, planning, crafting or blogging every single day – when you’re just hanging on by a thread to get the kids fed, in clean clothes, and to the bus on time? Crystal Paine’s 14-day Make Over Your Mornings course walks you, step-by-step, through a process that creates a routine that will:
- Prioritize nourishing your soul before launching your day
- Streamline your mornings (and your whole day)
- Create a to-do list that serves (not strangles)
- Establish accountability
- Set short- and long-term goals, and SO MUCH MORE!
Head on over to MakeOverYourMornings.com and get in on the rock-bottom price for this fabulous course today!
order your kids’ days
Creating a general daily schedule and sticking to it will keep your kids on board with you. If they know that their naptime is at 9am each morning, they’ll come to expect it, even if they still resist. You don’t have to be a major general about it, but having a few activities that occur around the same times every day will create a sense of normalcy that both you and your preschoolers will get comfortable with.
Tell them what’s next
Inform your children about what’s going on each day. They don’t need details, and they might not even need any more than five minutes notice, but when toddlers and preschoolers know what activity is coming next, they’ll be expecting it and even look forward to it in most cases. This cuts down on tantrums, fussing, and whining.
Clean up: it’s not just for adults
Maintain a tidy house by enlisting your kids to help out. There are all kinds of chore charts out there to encourage kids to participate in household tasks. My kids use this magnetic responsibility chart. They’re always begging to add magnets.
Pinterest is full of age-appropriate chore ideas. Create a sense of responsibility in your children by teaching and modeling cleaning up from a young age.
Ask your children to pick up toys before they move on to the next event. For instance, my kids wake up thinking of nothing but breakfast, this one, actually, and though they’d love to race to the table as soon as I call them, they know that they aren’t welcome to join me at the table until they’ve picked up the toys in their room and gotten dressed.
Don’t blacklist naptime
Keeping your children on a regular naptime routine, especially in the mornings, is a bonus for weary moms. Maintain scheduled morning naptimes for as long as your children will take them. Mine cut morning naps around three years old. Use this precious time for yourself.
Enlist hubby’s help
Getting kids dressed, washing up after breakfast, supervising toothbrushing, etc. If you clearly and kindly let him know how to help you, he’ll usually be happy to oblige. Be sure to follow suit!
If breakfast requires a couple minutes prep, like fixing eggs and toast, have coloring books or ABC’s dry erase mats on the table to entertain the kids while you cook. Strap them into high chairs to keep them in their seats, take out their drinks and let them create! Follow this pinboard to find creative activities that you can implement with little to no preparation.
Have a menu plan
Sticking to a set menu plan, even if it’s only for breakfast, can save you stress and money. Choose a few favorite quick-fix breakfast items like this, this, or this and jot them down on a handy menu planning printable.
That’s all for for now! Keep me informed, mamas: what do you do to make mornings manageable?