Make Mornings Easier - 6 tips for getting your children out of the door in a calm and stress-free way

Do you ever find the morning routine way harder than it should be? You are left feeling frustrated that what should be a question of a few simple tasks becomes a big drama, and at least one of you ends up in tears or with some big heightened emotions. 

These are the things I try to do in the mornings to establish a calm and happy morning that gets us to school on time. No, we are not a perfect family. Yes, I lose my rag and get it wrong sometimes. I am human, just like we all are, just like our children are.  

Before I start - I don't want to teach you to suck eggs. I'm going to assume that you have some kind of morning routine - that things are done in roughly the same order each morning. If you don't do this, then try it. It will make a big difference.

Tip 1 – Less voice for you, more ownership for them.  

Try using your voice less. Give your child a list of what they need to do, and let them get on with it. Break their morning routine down into steps – get dressed / breakfast / clean teeth etc. and show them these steps visually such as in our Morning Routine Chart. Then, if they get distracted or can't remember what they need to do next you can direct them back to their list - it has all the information they need. This gives your child ownership, lets them feel grown up and builds their confidence as they realise that they can do things for themselves. Not to mention, you should feel better from not having to nag! If your child has additional needs they may need these steps broken down further - consider visuals that show each step of getting dressed and of brushing teeth, etc. 


Tip 2 - Remove Distractions

If your child is one that finds it hard to stay focused and has a tendency to get involved in other things, then try to remove anything that might distract them so that it is easier to keep to the task in hand. I find it easier to bring my youngest daughter's school clothes into our bedroom and lie them out for her. If she is in her room she will start getting involved in other things such as playing with her toys or choosing hair accessories. Our room is much more boring! There isn't anything to play with. I lie her clothes out and she works her way through them in order without getting distracted.

Tip 3 - Have a reward, but a reward with an end time.

Once your child is ready for school then reward them with their own choice of activity. This needs to be whatever works for you and them, but it needs to be something that naturally ends at the time you need it to.

So, for example, they might watch a television programme that ends 5 minutes before you need to leave. In our house our girls are generally ready by about 8am and we need to leave at 8.25am, therefore we try to choose a programme that naturally ends at 8.20am so that I don't have to ask them to switch it off mid programme. 

Now, if I asked them to turn the TV off mid programme it would be a different matter. I would be met with reluctance and 'just two more minutes'. If your child takes part in something that doesn’t come to a natural end, such as playing a game on the iPad, then you are likely to face a battle when you need them to switch it off.  In this instance, try using a sand timer or our LED Timeline to show your child how long they can play for. That way the end doesn’t come as a shock – they can see it is coming. 



Tip 4 - Stay calm!

Remember your goal is for mornings to be calmer. This needs to be a whole family effort – you need to stay calm as much as they do. If your child doesn’t get time to watch TV or play then that is already upsetting enough for them. They don’t need you making it worse by getting cross with them. If you stick to the same routine every morning then they will gradually learn that if they get ready in time they get more TV / time to play. If they don’t have time for this say ‘nevermind, we’ll try again tomorrow’. Encouragement is SO much more effective than reprimanding.



Tip 5 - Remove temptation!

If you have a child that likes to accessorise (like mine does!) then remove any options that aren’t suitable for the morning at hand. For example, hide any alternative shoes so that the only shoes available are the ones that need to be worn that morning. Given the chance, my daughter would wear wellies in the heat of summer and glitter ballet pumps when it is pouring with rain! 

I have learnt, the hard way, to take away all other options. They are 'out of sight, out of mind'. You are removing debate, wasted time and possible upset caused whilst you talk your child out of wearing flip flops in the snow!


Tip 6 - Help them see what they need to take with them. 

As you are walking out of the door, either have everything ready for them, or have a list of what they need so that they can check for themselves if they have it all. If you can, have both! Again – if they are old enough to get the things themselves and follow a checklist then you are helping build their self esteem by letting them check things for themselves. You can see our Out The Door Chart here



Tip 6 - Pick your battles.

If you’ve done all this and are still finding the mornings particularly hard then pick your battle. Pick one thing that you would like to change and focus on it. What can you do to change it? Once you've solved that problem you can tackle another one. If you want to chat about it then feel free to get in touch so that we can put our heads together and come up with a plan.


I may have given 6 tips above but there is one that overrides everything else - stay calm. I know it's not easy, but if you are displaying stress or anxiety tomorrow morning your child is going to pick up on it. Try your best to not less the stress get to you. If you are late, you are late - you can try again tomorrow. 

Wishing you and your child a calm and happy week, 

Gina x


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  • Muchas gracias. ?Como puedo iniciar sesion?


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