If you read my last post, A Mom’s Routine for Better Mornings, then you know the six things that I started doing every morning in order to have more peaceful, better mornings. Wearing all the hats, juggling all the things, and balancing all the stuff can be exhausting and overwhelming at times! Developing a routine and some better rituals for myself, have helped me to ease anxiety, reduce stress, and to have a more peaceful start to my days.
After years of self-development, research, and trial & error, I have developed a morning routine that has changed my life. But a big part of that morning routine actually begins the night before.
Here are the 6 things I do before bed, in order to set myself up for a better morning:
- A five minute tidy-up. Set the timer for 5 minutes and do a quick tidying up session. Get the family involved and have everyone tackle a particular task or area. Put away dishes, load the dishwasher, sweep the kitchen floor, wipe down the counters, have the kids tidy up their toys, pick up laundry on the floor, etc… Put some music on, make it a race or a competition, and have fun with it! Waking up to a tidy home sets the tone for a relaxed atmosphere in the morning.
- Pick out your outfit, and your kids’ outfits. I know this sounds kind of silly, but this has been a game-changer for me! I literally pick out my outfit every single night, down to the undergarments and jewelry. I sleep better at night knowing what I am wearing the next day. I know, I am weird. I also layout my kids’ outfits in a convenient spot. This alleviates the rushing around to find clothing, kids dressing themselves in long sleeve shirts when it’s 90 degrees out, and it allows them to just be independent and go get themselves ready for the day without having to bother you.
- Prep for breakfast. Put the cereal boxes on the counter, set the bowls and spoons out, drink cups, vitamins, whatever you can do to have stuff out and ready. Taking these steps the night before will keep you from having to dig around the fridge and the pantry to find something for breakfast, and will save you a few precious minutes of gathering all of the items needed. I know it’s only a few minutes, but if that means a few extra minutes of snuggles with my boys, I will take it!
- Go through school papers, sign things, get backpacks ready. Take a few minutes at the end of the night to go through your child’s school folder, sign any papers that need signing, look at their papers and art projects with them, and get their folders and backpacks prepped and ready to go for the next day. Make this an intentional part of your evening, and a way for you and your child to connect while you talk about their schoolwork and projects and what they did that day.
- Pack lunches & snacks – for the kids and for yourself. When my oldest son started elementary school 4 years ago, I made it a goal to try to pack his lunches almost every day in an effort to keep fostering his love of healthy food, and adventurous tastes. I also was on a mission to eat healthier myself. A couple of months into that first school year I realized that trying to pack his lunch, and mine, in the morning was just not working. Most mornings we would be rushing out the door, and I would realize I hadn’t packed his lunch yet – or mine – so I would just say “you can just eat school lunch today” and I would find myself in a drive-thru line feeling guilty at lunchtime. Take an extra 5 minutes before you turn on Netflix or hit the hay, and pack your lunches. You will be glad you did.
- Family huddle & gratitude sharing. I try to make it a point to talk about how everyone’s day went, talk about what’s on the schedule for the next day or exciting things coming up, and anything that needs to be done. Kids like routines and schedules. They like to have a sense of what is next and what they can expect each day. I’ve been doing this with my boys since they were old enough to talk. Just giving them little updates like, “Tomorrow you go to Grammy’s house” or “Tomorrow night you have soccer practice”, helps to give them a sense of control in their own little lives. We like to end the night sharing 3 things we are grateful for that day. No matter how hectic or stressful your day was, it is so nice to end the night on such a positive note and to focus on all that you are grateful for. You will be amazed at the things your kids say they are grateful for!
Now, I am not saying that I do this routine every single night. I totally get that some days/nights are longer than others and we just may not have the time or the patience to do these things. Or maybe we are out late, or at an event, or whatever the case may be. But I try to do the full routine as often as I can, and if I can’t do the full routine, I try to do at least part of it. If it means that I can hit the snooze button in the morning, or have an extra 5 minutes of snuggle time with my boys, then I’m in!
What’s your nightly routine like? I’d love to know what things you do at night to prep for the day ahead!