Parents Guide to Building a Morning Routine

Mornings can be chaotic, especially with kids! But a good routine can make all the difference. Here's a guide & sample template to help you establish a smooth and stress-free morning for the whole family:

Preparation is Key:

  • Consistent Wake-up Time: Even on weekends, try to wake up at a similar time each day. This helps regulate your child's sleep cycle and makes mornings easier.
  • Night Before Prep: Pack lunches, lay out clothes, and prep breakfast items. This eliminates morning scrambling and saves precious time.
  • Visual Aids: Create a visual schedule with tasks listed and space for the little ones to check off before hopping in the car for school. This helps them to provide structure while building a sense of responsibility and accomplishment. Plus, this also helps mom and dad ensure that they haven’t forgotten anything before heading out the door (because it’s never convenient to circle back to school when your kiddo realizes he left his lunchbox at home). At the end of the week, you could award the kiddos for their help with the morning madness with a small treat, extra play time, or a point towards getting a new toy if they make it every week through the whole month.

Building the Routine:

  • Start Calmly: Avoid screens in the first 30 minutes of waking. Instead, try gentle music, reading, or light stretches.
  • Encourage Independence: As age-appropriate, have your child complete tasks like getting dressed, making their bed, and packing their backpack.
  • Positive Reinforcement: Use praise and encouragement instead of yelling. Stickers or a simple reward chart can motivate younger children.

Keeping it Going:

  • Be Patient & Flexible: There will be bumps along the road. Be patient with yourself and your child, and adjust the routine as needed.
  • Lead by Example: Your child will mimic your behavior. Show them the importance of a morning routine by having your own.
  • Make it Enjoyable: Start the day with something positive. Play a favorite song, have a short dance party, or share a funny story over breakfast.

By following these tips, you can create a morning routine that sets your family up for a successful day. If the thought of streamlining your morning feels far fetched, you could ease yourself in by following our example morning routine template below. Once you feel confident in your family’s willingness to hop on board, you can adjust as much or as little as you’d like to better fit your personal needs and schedule.

Morning Routine for Mom & Dad Example Template:

6:00 AM - Wake Up:

  • Give yourself some quiet "me time" before the chaos. Read, meditate, exercise, or enjoy a cup of coffee in peace.

6:30 AM - Get Ready:

  • Shower, get dressed, and pack your bag for work.

7:00 AM - Wake Up the Kids (gently):

  • Use calming music or natural light instead of harsh alarms.

7:15 AM - Prepare Breakfast:

7:30 AM - Get Dressed & Make Beds:

  • Encourage kids to be independent with age-appropriate tasks.
  • Help if needed, but avoid becoming the "do-er" for everything.

7:45 AM - Pack Lunches & Bags:

  • Pack lunches the night before whenever possible.
  • Double-check backpacks for homework, permission slips, etc by reviewing the morning checklist you’ve created for your kiddos.

8:00 AM - Out the Door:

  • Have a designated spot for shoes, bags, and coats to avoid last-minute searches.
  • Establish a calm but firm "leave by" time to avoid rushing.


  • 8:15 AM - Carpool Chaos (Optional):
      • If carpooling, designate a meeting spot and time to streamline the process.


    • This is a template, adjust the times to fit your family's schedule & needs.
    • Be flexible - life happens!
    • Focus on positive reinforcement and setting expectations.
    • Remember, a calm and organized morning sets the tone for a successful day.