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How I Made Over My Kids’ Mornings

 These are such helpful tips on how to make school mornings with kids SO much smoother!

Guest post from Kelly of

At the onset of Crystal Paine’s Make Over Your Morning course, she said her love for morning routines began when she was a child. She has a “lifetime of early mornings,” adding up to an effective, purposeful life.

Once I completed the course, I went back to that statement: a lifetime of early mornings.

I have three kids who are just at the beginning of the rest of their life. I decided to gift them with a lifetime of early mornings by walking them through Make Over Your Morning.

My daughters are 11 and 8, old enough to understand the concepts and young enough to set up a pattern for life.

With the start of school right around the corner, I spent the last few weeks of summer making over my kids’ morning.


Bedtime Routine

We started with the bedtime routine (Day 2). I had them come up with a few adjectives to describe a typical school morning. They used calm (what?! Whose house are they in?), chaotic, and sleepy. They listed 3-4 things they could do at night to address the chaos and the sleepy they deal with most mornings.

I took the opportunity to talk to them about the amount of sleep their growing bodies need each night. According to Dr. Archibald Hart, my girls need 10-11 hours a night. We counted back from their usual wake-up time to determine their ideal bedtime.

Some tasks on their bedtime routine:

  • shower and prepare for bed
  • pick out clothes
  • pack lunches and snacks
  • make sure backpacks are packed with everything they need for the next day

Big Rocks

The most impactful part of Crystal’s teaching was the big rocks (Day 3). Most of us have seen the illustration of putting the big rocks in the jar first so you can fit in smaller stones, sand, and water.  The girls grasped the concept and ran with it. They listed out their “big rocks” and rushed ahead to map out their morning routine.

My oldest daughter binge watched the rest of the series by herself after we finished the Day 3 activities!

Big Rocks and Morning Routine

  • get dressed and ready for the day
  • Bible time
  • feed pets
  • eat breakfast
  • do chores

Goal Setting for Kids

I am a big goal setter myself. I talk about my own goals with my family. Days 5 and 6 gave the girls an opportunity to set a few goals for the school year.

Claire wants to turn in all of her homework on time and read 100 books. Sarah Kate wants to complete school assignments on time and learn her multiplication facts by Christmas.

I helped them break these goals down into small action steps like putting homework in the appropriate folder each afternoon and reviewing flashcards 3 times a week. They recorded their goals in a special notebook. Writing down goals is key to reaching them.

It is also important to review their goals regularly to monitor progress and make any necessary adjustments.


The Best Part

When we finished, I asked the girls to tell me their favorite part of Make Over Your Mornings.

Claire, age 11, loved setting goals. She is a dreamer, driven to achieve everything she sets her mind to do. She is a little resistant to the idea of routine as any free-spirit would be. She did enjoy finding an app to help track her bedtime and morning routines.

Sarah Kate enjoyed writing out her schedule. She is a list-maker like me. She spent a long time perfecting her list, getting it in order, and printing it on pretty paper. She found a small notebook for her daily to-do list. Even during the lazy days of summer, she already follows her bedtime and morning routine.

As the mama, my favorite part is the possibility I see in them. Claire is so goal-driven; I have no doubt she will embrace a routine in order to reach her goals. And seeing my sweet Sarah rising early to read her Bible warms my heart.

I look forward to the next few weeks as I see them start their lifetime of early mornings!

Kelly Smith, blogger at, is a small town girl who married a small town man 17 years ago.  She has three energetic blessings, ages 1 to 11. Her favorite indulgences are coffee, reading, writing, and running.  Kelly believes we are created for community and loves to connect with others.

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