I always have the best intentions when it comes to mornings, but they don’t always pan out if I’m trying to squeeze in a bunch of new ideas into our morning. Over time we’ve become fairly settled on a natural feeling morning routine that isn’t based on the clock.
I’m a morning person. I like to get up early and get things done. If I try to be productive in the evenings, it usually does got well. I start to shut down all useful parts of my brain at about 9pm, so “burning the midnight oil” is something I really very rarely do.
Thus, having a well structured morning doesn’t really seem like a chore to me, but rather an opportunity to go forth and conquer with my best and brightest hours.
Why a morning routine is important for a homeschool family
As you probably know, we’re a homeschool family, which means that we have the luxury of running on our own schedule and not being tied to anyone else’s. We don’t have to get to the bus stop or load up to get to school before the bell, and this is one of my absolute favorite things about homeschooling. The pressure is off!
However this also means that if we are going to have productive and diligent days, the burden of staying on tasks rests with us. And honestly, that mostly means me, the mom.
Though we don’t have the pressure of the clock ticking away at us, I do want my kids to know the importance of steady, consistent work. It’s brings a comforting stability to our days when we know what we are going to be doing next.
Completely free-form living can feel pretty unsteady to me, and I know that it can to my kids to. Predictability must be balanced with spontaneity, and having a morning routine is a great way to do just that.
Slow mornings versus lazy mornings
It could be pretty easy to have lazy mornings where we lay around and read for hours in our pajamas. And you know what? Some families do this and it really works for them. But I just know that that’s not the best route for me or my kids.
I need to get moving in the morning, or otherwise that evening crash will catch up with me and before I know it I’ll be falling asleep at the dinner table with an unfinished list of things to do. We can’t have that!
Our morning structure isn’t rigidly run by a schedule, but it does need to keep moving along steadily. No frenzy is required, but having a written routine really helps both me and my kids keep putting one foot in front of the other.
It’s important to take time to properly wake up
Our morning routine consist of things that must be done in order. Although I get up to my 5 o’clock alarm and get my personal morning routine before the kids get up, I do let them wake up naturally. That’s usually around 6:30 or 7am, when they come out of their bedroom wrapped in blankets and looking so sleepy and cute.
We almost always take a few minutes to sit together and wake up, read a chapter of a book, or chat about our dreams. This is the time of day when the kid’s brains are most unfiltered, and the connections we make with them during this time are precious. Ray usually has to go off to work in the mornings, so this is an important time for them to be with him, too.
If I’m especially on top of things, I hot pot of tea will be waiting, and they can sip a cuppa while they wake up, but that doesn’t happen every morning.
If the weather is chilly, we light a fire in the wood stove and just take some time to sit and wake.
For me, it’s important to let our family have some time to wake gently and gracefully. I’ve had a lifetime of jarring morning wake-ups and in my opinion it’s no way to live. Gently, now, the world will wait a few more moments while we have a peaceful blossom into wakefulness.
I don’t like lists
I’m not someone who is naturally drawn to lists, as they seem quite rigid and unforgiving to me. The idea of them doesn’t always jive with the artist side of me. However, I must admit their usefulness for some circumstances.
Thinking things out a head of time makes for a much less stressful morning. When our morning routine is in the digestible form of a list, and I wake up in the morning with my head is still halfway in my dreams, the bulk of the decision making has already been done for me.
It’s reassuring to know that I can just follow my list and I don’t have to spend my early morning energies in formulating a plan for the family day.
My own personal routine begins before the kids get up and I’ll write more about that elsewhere, but when the kids get up, they also know how the morning is going to go, and there’s a sort of restfulness in that.
Why it’s important to have a written list
The reality of having little kids is that they must be reminded of things pretty often, but it’s much easier for me to refer them to the next thing on their morning routine if they are able to check the list themselves. And checking the list themselves also means that they are able to take some personal responsibility for getting things done.
It’s true that I often have to remind them to do the next part of their routine, but I don’t have to check up on the individual progress of each kids. With a visual guide to refer to, they can be responsible for that.
This lightens my burden significantly in the mornings. It’s not particularly difficult to get through their morning, it’s just that when there are five of them, it’s very time consuming to be micro managing every part of their actions. Having them progress on their own saves me a lot of energy right out of the gate.
Our morning routine…
Here’s our list (printable versions available for you too!) and a brief explanation of each part of it.
- Wake up
- Get dressed/pajamas away
- Tidy up bedroom
- East breakfast
- Morning chores
- Open time
“Our Morning Routine” Free Printable
*Please note that you can choose to print a blank version and write in your own routine, or try out our version of the routine (there are two separate printables.)
Everyone can get dressed mostly by themselves, with the exception of the baby. They may need a few help with buttons, but each kid is required to get themselves dress and put their pajamas properly away.
I do like to have the kids set out their clothes the night before, but I am not a stickler about it. It does help the morning go more smoothly, but if I forget, it’s still ok.
Since we have somewhat of a capsule wardrobe (a very unridgid capsule wardrobe) they are able to choose their clothes without assistance. I do help with the outfit choosing if we are going to church, but it’s really big help to me to not have to make the decisions everymornign about what each kids is going to wear.
It’s important to me that they be respectable dressed even if we are not going out that day. i feel that getting properly dressed is sign of respect for themselves, each other and for the work at home that they will do that day. We sometimes stay in our pajamas on Satureays, but that is an exceptions. For the most part, dressing nicely and properly gives the proper status to the work we do at home, and it’s a way to show that we don’t intend to be lazy.
Tidy up the bedroom
When a room gets out of control messy, it’s hard to recover from. Having my kids to a scheduled tidy up really helps our days go well. We don’t have very much stuff per kids, but since they all share one room, it’s important to be diligent with the tidiness.
Keeping their own personal things in order is a matter of courtesy to mean to eachother. It’s also a lifeskill that I hope will serve them well and save them many a frustration as they get older.
Eat a hearty breakfast
I try to get going on breakfast as soon as I get up so that breakfast is ready usually by 7-7:30 am. We eat hearty around here, and fuel up well for the day. Breakfast has to keep the tummy full and the body fueled all the way until lunch time, so we eat with gusto.
Biscuits and gravy, frittatas, Dutch Baby pancakes, fried eggs on toast, and luxury oatmeal are all part of our regular rotation. Waffles and donuts and croissants are often reserved for weekend cooking, but sometimes if I’m feeling ambitious I’ll make them on a week day. Cause YOLO, so why not waffle it up? With huckleberries and whipped cream, obvs.
We also try to eat breakfast as a family, because sitting around the table with my kids gives me a really good gauge on everyone’s mood for the day. We usually talk about what we plan to do that day, and I make sure the kids know my plans and expectations. We don’t always get a sit down with Ray before he has to leave for work, but it’s helps our day go better if we do.
I also know that sometimes I have expectations for the day perfectly mapped out in my head, then forget to tell everyone what I’m thinking. Sitting down for breakfast and talking through it is immensely helpful in keeping everyone on the same page.
Straight way after breakfast is morning chores. I tidy up the kitchen, and the kids disperse to their brief but useful chores. Ruby (9) vacuums the carpets, Leo (7) sweeps the mudroom, Tilly (5) washes the sink and straightens up the shoe shelves, and Chester (4) and Norah (1) wash walls and dust.
Morning chores must be brief and very achievable. The point is not that we get the house spotlessly clean, but rather that the kids take part in the upkeep of our home. The rest of the house keeping will be a part of my later morning, but a quick spruce up right after breakfast is actually really helpful to our mood for the day.
We usually take a bit of open time after chores, while l I do the homestead morning chores. If the weather is nice the kids wander outside or around the garden a bit, or play in their bedroom or ready their own books.
They will often accompany me on the homestead chores and help me check up on all the animals and pull a few weeds or harvest in the garden.
This open time really helps us get a little energy out before settling down to do the schoolwork for the day.
Next we’re off to our loop schedule of homeschool, and I’m off to my daily housework routine. But those are for another post!
So that’s it folks? How does this compare to your morning routine, homeschool or otherwise? Are there any tips and tricks that have worked well for, or perhaps something new you’re trying this year? I’d love to hear how you do mornings in your house!