5 Ways to Make Your Family's Morning Routine Go Smoother (HA HA HA)

LOL 11

lateWe've all heard how important it is to establish a positive "morning routine" for our families. Right? How study after study proves that kids who have consistently constructive beginnings to their days are more successful in school and on the playground and, ultimately, at life in general, and how we're essentially setting our children up for failure and misery if we can't figure out how to pull it together and feed them a halfway decent breakfast (as they sit on actual chairs at an actual table dressed in actual clean clothes) while still managing to get them to class on time, or at least close enough to the bell that they won't require late passes.

It's not that I don't believe the findings of these studies to be true. It's just that as an over-extended, under-organized mom, I gave up on this particular parenting Holy Grail a long time ago.

Sure, I'd love to follow all the expert recommendations on how to fill my family's mornings with sunshine -- who wouldn't? But the reality resembles something more like a tsunami. And I bet you know exactly what I'm talking about, too. Do any of these 5 scenarios sound familiar to you?

More from The Stir: 4 Tricks to Fix Your Family's Morning Routine

The Recommendation: Sitting down to a healthy breakfast with the whole family each morning before school significantly improves kids' cognitive function, leading to academic success.
The Reality:
Chewing a stick of gum in the car on the way to school significantly improves kids' super-stinky morning breath.

The Recommendation: Figure out what time everyone needs to wake up -- then set the alarm for 15 minutes earlier. This creates a buffer zone to deal with any unexpected issues such as misplaced library books or last-minute field trip permission slips to be signed.
The Reality:
Figure out what time everyone needs to wake up -- then set the alarm for 15 minutes earlier. When it goes off, hit "snooze" (because you have 15 extra minutes to sleep!). When it goes off again, hit "snooze" (because zzzzz). When it goes off again, sit up in a cold sweat and run around the house screaming, "Wake up! We overslept!"

The Recommendation: Walk or ride a bicycle to school instead of taking the bus or a car; early morning exercise helps kids to concentrate in class for the rest of the day.
The Reality:
Walk or ride a bicycle to school instead of taking the bus or a car -- if you want kids to get there an hour late and/or develop shoulder strain from carrying that crazy-heavy backpack.

The Recommendation: Have children lay out a complete outfit for the next day (including socks, underwear, and accessories) before bedtime to prevent any morning wardrobe malfunctions.
The Reality:
Have kids completely forget to tell you it's "Wear a Yellow Shirt Day" (other examples include: Pajama Day, Silly Socks Day, Crazy Hat Day, etc.) until they wake up 30 minutes late (thanks to you and that "snooze" button). Paw through dressers and hampers and closets in a panic until you find some poor excuse for the desired item. Spend the ride to school trying to convince kids that wearing a yellow-striped shirt instead of a solid yellow shirt on "Wear a Yellow Shirt Day" is NOT, in fact, the end of the world.

The Recommendation: Independence is key to a productive morning routine. Give kids a checklist of tasks they will be responsible for accomplishing before leaving the house (examples include making the bed, brushing teeth, washing breakfast dishes).
The Reality:
Low expectations are key to getting everyone out the door in one piece most mornings. Make sure kids are wearing shoes and pants (if appropriate) before leaving the house.

What is your family's morning routine (really) like?


Image via Evan/Flickr

family, grades, kid sleep

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kelli... kelliher2866

yeah!  I dress my kid hit the snooze and he eats his breakfast at school.  Walking to school yeah right, I live in Roxbury and he goes to school in Brighton.  

Donna Williams

all 5 of those realities ARE my realities...lol i have 3 kids and mornings are never easy no matter how you try to "prepare the perfect routine"  all my kids are fine with our crazy lives.

Heather Edsenga

Are there kids that actually make their beds before school?!!?!

Torie Sutton

Yeah, my routine is: wake up at 7 am. Wake up my kids. Go brush my teeth. Wake up the kids. Fix lunch and pack book bag. Wake up the kids. 7:20 am scramble to get the kids dressed as they are still lounging in bed. 7:25 brush teeth. 7:30 rush out the door to meet the bus. EVERY MORNING! At least it gets done...most of the time. (My son eats breakfast at school.)

Darcy Nestler

We do the majority of those.  We don't sit down and eat breakfast together, but the kids eat breakfast at home at the table.  They have their own alarm clocks that go off at 6:30 (I get up a few minutes earlier).  This gives them almost a full hour to get ready.  I have a list on the fridge of what they need to do and if they are caught standing around or playing I tell them to check the list to make sure everything is done.  Picking out their clothes, getting their bags ready, and making lunches are part of our bedtime routine.  Most mornings it goes fairly well.  If they oversleep or complain about being tired, they go to bed early that night.  I also make sure to have breakfast they can help themselves with (like muffins, poptarts, or granola bars). 

Kate Sandberg

Darcy.... can you come to my house and teach my kid to do that? You are super-amazing. Most nights I'm too exhausted by bedtime (and from fighting the kid  to GET INTO bed) to even think about the morning routine.  My son HATES eating, HATES going to bed/waking up, HATES brushing his teeth/his hair... By the time he's on the bus - I'm ready to go back to bed. :(

Krissy M Allen

I've worked since before my son was born, and usually have to be to work before he needs to be at school.  I'm not there to sit down and eat breakfast with him (not unless I get him up for breakfast at four am).  I'm not there to get his clothes ready.  I'm not there to make sure his backpack is filled with what he needs.  Making his bed?  Seriously?  I'm happy if the blankets are all still there. 


All these studies do is throw those of us who have to work like this into a miasma of guilt.  Instead of focusing on what I'm not doing that apparently I'm "supposed" to be doing, I focus on the fact that my son has become more self-sufficient than other kids his age. 

neslo... neslonturf

Umm...yeah, we totally have a morning routine. Breakfast, make beds, tidy room, get dressed, and piano practice. Now...before you go thinking I'm all high and mighty on morning routines my kids get up at 5:30 AM (today it was 5:00) no matter what time they go to bed. My hubby is the one that gets up and does breakfast. Also...two of my kids are on the Autism spectrum, and they thrive on routine, and structure. The routine is also to use up all that time before school, so I don't have complete chaos going on around me. Plus, my kids go to bed at 7:00 PM...so they have to get all that stuff done, so they can actually play in the afternoons after their homework is done.  

Melissa Shoup

the only reason i am ever on time is because grandma comes and picks up my son since i cant drive. i hurry to change him and get him out the door then i get to catch my bus soon after

nonmember avatar Ashley

Omg it took us YEARS to develop any kind of routine to get our kids out of the house!!! I also have a child that is on the autism spectrum and that is the only reason we have our routine going but it took forever to get down! I still have kids that go to school with shoes on the wrong feet and sometimes even pants or shirts on backwards lol we r getting better but there's five kids in my house so I'm just glad we get out of the house dressed every morning lol

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