How to Improve Your Morning Routine

Feeling rushed and crazy is not a good way to start the day.

Mornings are the family's launching pad. It's important to send kids to school feeling calm and ready. They'll perform better, feel happier, and have more confidence to face the day's challenges.

According to acclaimed family management expert and author of 21 books, Kathy Peel, neglecting to plan ahead and not knowing where essential items are located are the reasons behind most morning madness.

"Changing your routine takes some advanced planning and a firm commitment but, it's not an impossible task." The secret to a successful morning, says Peel, is the night before. "Set aside 20 minutes at the end of the day to anticipate the next day and do a little advanced planning will make a huge difference."

Here are Peel's best tips for fitting it all in without getting frazzled: 

1. Get up earlier.

Just by waking up 30 minutes before you normally do, you'll add seven and a half days to your year. "When my children were young, I often worked out or did my grocery shopping before anyone was out of bed," admits Peel who suggests trying it for a few weeks. "You'll be amazed at how this simple change will put you [in] control."

2. Give each child an alarm clock.

Anyone in the house eight and over should be responsible for his or her own wake up schedule.

3. Train your children to make their bed the moment their feet hit the floor.

"We're not talking hospital corners here," says Peel. "It only takes a few seconds to fluff a pillow, pull up the sheet, and straighten the comforter. Even little ones can do that! And it makes the bedroom look instantly tidy."

4. Create a morning chore chart.

Post it in the kitchen at your kids' eye level. No more arguing over whose turn it is to walk and feed the dog, take out the garbage, or turn on the dishwasher. Young children love having family responsibility and will be even more motivated if you give them a special sticker to put beside their name once a task is completed.

5. Unload the dishwasher the night before and directly on to the breakfast table.

No more time wasted setting out utensils and bowls in the morning.

6. Have an A.M. hygiene plan.

Showers and baths should be taken the night before if possible.

Train children to wash their hands and face, brush their hair, change their underwear, and brush their teeth for two minutes before heading to school.

Encourage them to wash their hands before eating lunch at school by packing a small hand sanitizer or individual hand wipe in their lunch box.

7. Start out strong with nutrition.

You've heard before that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. For nutrition advice, QualityHealth consulted Sally Kuzemchak, RD, and real mom nutrition blogger. "Eating healthier really doesn't take more time. It's a mindset. A great place to start is to read labels and know what's in your food." Here are a dozen healthy family ideas for breakfast, lunch, and snacks.




Interview with Kathy Peel 

Interview with Sally Kuzemchak, RD

The American Academy of Pediatrics

United States Department of Agriculture