Mornings with toddlers can be hectic.
It never fails. You think you’ve got plenty of time to get ready and out the door. And next thing you know your hot tea is all over your scarf and you’re 15 minutes late.
When my daughter started preschool I knew we needed a way to make her mornings a bit more smooth . . . for all of our sanity!
Over the past several months, I’ve found that there are a few things that make mornings run a bit more smoothly with my toddler.
I don’t do all of them every day. And don’t worry! If you’re a mom who loves her sleep, getting up early is NOT on this list.
Try a Morning Chart
This has been a great choice for our daughter!
Toddlers love predictability and routine. A chart helps them both see and interact with what they need to do in the morning.
We chose a chart that could grow with her. It has SO many chores and all I have to do is change out the tasks.
I’ve even used it to give her chores before nap like cleaning her room and putting clean clothes away.
I put her tasks on the chart using velcro dots. We usually get dressed and clear the table before getting to the chart so she gets to take those two off right away.
Then I let her choose the order of the remaining tasks.
This is important! It gives her some choice. And it lowers the number of fights we have over our morning chores.
My goal is that in a year or so she’ll be able to do a lot of the chart independently.
Mornings Are for Sleeping
Okay, like I said I am one person who is NOT going to tell you to get up early.
My body likes its sleep and most mornings I’d rather spend that extra time in bed. I rarely get up more than a half hour before my daughter.
So instead of waking up early, I try to make sure I get to bed at a good time.
Honestly, I feel like my attitude in the morning is half the battle.
I find if I’m in bed by 10:00 or 10:30 I am MUCH happier and that helps our mornings a lot!
This is one that I struggle to do consistently.
But when I prep everything the night before I have less to do in the morning.
And less to do usually means less chaotic mornings.
So if I’m really on top of it, I prep lunch and pack up our bags the night before. That way I can just grab them and go.
And if I’m really REALLY on top of it I might even put out my clothes . . . but let’s not get too ambitious.
Delegate the Work
One of the things I dislike most is making lunches. It’s kind of like laundry to me. An endless task I have to do constantly.
So lately my husband has been making our daughter’s lunch in the mornings.
This has been so helpful! It takes something off my plate. And he loves making these for her.
See if there are some things you can ask your partner to help out with to calm the chaos.
Mornings are for Yoga (for the Kids!)
Okay, this one is kind of my secret weapon . . .
In the morning, after we’ve had breakfast and finished her chart, she gets to do a yoga video.
This gives her something active to do that doesn’t involve pulling the dog’s tail. And I get some kid-free moments to get ready!
Whether I’ve got last-minute tasks or actually do my makeup for once, having her busy with something active has been incredibly helpful.
My daughter LOVES Cosmic Kids Yoga. But there are plenty of kids songs and yoga videos that would give you those few extra minutes.
Manage Expectations (and Priorities) for the Mornings
Like so many things in motherhood, mornings require us to choose priorities and manage expectations.
You need to decide what’s important.
Everyone’s morning routine is different. And it’s based on our priorities.
Do you want sleep? Or would you rather take the extra time to do your hair and makeup? Do you want your child to make their bed or could you care less?
And then manage those expectations.
Are your goals for the morning realistic? Do you need to adjust your evenings to help you accomplish more in the mornings?
Shifting things around is helpful. But being realistic with your expectations helps manage mornings before they even begin.
Sometimes we just have to embrace the chaos with our little ones.
And other times we can put a few things in place to make our mornings a bit less crazy.
Originally published January 2021.
The opinions expressed in this post are those of the author. They do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of ABQ Mom, its executive team, other contributors to the site, its sponsors or partners, or any organizations the aforementioned might be affiliated with.