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How to Have Productive Mornings When You Have Early Risers

Guest post from Jessica of Mothering With Creativity

In lieu of the recent posts about waking up early, and being a part of the many commenters whose children are up by 5:30 a.m. in the morning, I thought I’d share some tips for making mornings easier, despite the early risers!

I have 3 children ages 4 and under. My baby still wakes up once in the middle of the night, and is up by 5:30 a.m. My two-year-old follows him 15 minutes later. My 4-year-old has learned to “sleep in” until 6:45 a.m. — woohoo! 🙂

I work part-time in the mornings teaching kindergarten, and my husband also leaves the house by 7:25 a.m. It occasionally happens that I have a productive morning with all the children running around and playing nicely. However, most mornings, that is not the case, and so I do not expect it.

Since parents of early risers typically have early-to-bedders, the evenings are often prime “prepping” time for the next day.

Here’s how I use my evenings to make my mornings more enjoyable:

Prepare Lunches

It can often take me 25 minutes to make five lunches for five very different people. (I know it would be easier to say “everyone eats the same thing!” but I do enjoy the special touches for each person, and so it’s something that’s worth it to me to spend a few extra minutes preparing.) Preparing lunches the night before saves that much time and stress from my morning.

Shower at Night

I hate showering at night. Did I mention I hate showering at night? However, I’ve been showering at night for almost three months now. I still hate it, though maybe not as much as I did three months ago!

I go to bed with wet hair (annoying) and I just straighten it in the morning (and use a little water to get out out any crazy kinks). Though I would prefer to shower in the morning, showering at night shaves a lot of time off of my morning routine.

Pick Out Clothes

For the indecisive child (or parent), making clothing choices the night before can save a lot of morning time stress. If my 2 and 4-year-olds know what they are going to wear ahead of time, they are capable of getting themselves dressed without me. This saves me the time, and allows them to practice valuable skills.

Fill Juice Cups

Does anybody else have a child with a one-track mind? I’m sure that in some regards this focus can be a blessing, but at 5:45 a.m., the insistence that “no one else moves until I get my almond milk” is enough to drive me up a wall.

The simple solution? Fill a sippy with almond milk (or juice, water, milk, etc.) the night before and place it in the fridge. As soon as they wake up, they can get their drink, and you don’t have to drop everything to fill a cup. On days when I remember to do this, my two-year-old gives me the biggest smiles.

Make Lists

I love lists. While trying to leave in the morning, do you ever find yourself running in and out of the house for all of the “forgotten” things?

Make a list of all the easily forgotten and necessary items on a sticky note and leave it on the counter or the garage door. Before you leave, be sure to give a quick glance over your list.

Remembering to do some, if not all, of these things helps make my morning with early-risers much more enjoyable and much more smooth.

And for the record, I wrote this in the early morning while my kids slept in. How’s that for irony? That usually never happens!

Do you have early risers at your house? I’d love to hear your tips and tricks for making the most of your mornings!

Jessica Locke is a wife and mom of three small children. She loves Jesus, being creative, eating sweet treats, and making her home a place where others can feel at safe and loved. She blogs about life as a mom at Mothering With Creativity.

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117 Comments

  • I LOVE the must have almond milk comment!! For my 2yo it’s “I must have my strawberry goat yogurt the minute I wake up or there will be trouble!” LOL

  • Monica says:

    I Love Lists too! My kids 9 and 11 have also started making lists themselves. Looks like the apple doesn’t fall to far from the tree, Lol!

  • You are reading my mind! I so need to get back in my habit of rising before the kiddos do. I also HATE showering at night, but honestly I remember from back in my high school days that it’s something I got used to out of necessity once and can get used to once again!

  • Vicki says:

    I love the almond milk comment! My 4.5 year old asks for warm chocolate milk even before his eyes open!

    We invested in the weekly closet organizer and it has been a blessing. We look at the weather for the week on Sunday night and make our decisions for clothing and put them in the right holders! Not only does he get to pick his clothes (and match his underwear to his shirt…you can’t mix spidey and the hulk) but he also learns about the weather and dressing for it!

    With Pre-K starting this fall I am really going to have to start the lists so that we don’t forget anything important going out the door!

    • I pick out my clothes for the week too.. why not right? 🙂

      • Melissa says:

        I got one of those closet organizers, too…the problem we ran into was that inevitably, either the 3 year old, 2 year old, or baby would destroy his outfit with either food or a blowout…

        How do you handle that? Do you just pick out another outfit or start the day off with a trashy one assuming they’ll have to change at least once? =) I’m sure this problem will resolve itself the older they get…..I’m going to start doing this again because I think it will help in the mornings. It’s like pulling teeth to get the kiddos up and going in the a.m.!! Argh. =)

  • Naomi says:

    I am working on this one too. My children can be early risers, but it depends on the day. For the most part, we have a rule: they must stay in their room until mommy and daddy are ready for breakfast. That means they can get up and turn on the light if they both are awake (they share a room), and they may play quietly and read. If the oldest wakes before the youngest, we usually let him get up and read a book or play in his play room. This usually works quite well.

    Other than that, we have breakfast and are working on a morning routine. Part of that is an independent clean up time for the kids. I am hoping to train them to be able to do this for about 30 minutes eventually, and then I will be able to do some of my own prep for the day – whether it’s to finish getting ready, do some dishes, or something else that needs to be done in the morning. It isn’t perfect yet, but we’re getting there, and I think it will be very successful as they get a bit older.

    • Naomi says:

      I should mention that when they are in their room, this is of course Mom and Dad’s ‘shower and get ready for the day’ time. It usually works quite well for us.

      • Tiffany says:

        Naomi – I like this idea. How old are your kids and when did you start this? Thanks!

        • Naomi says:

          Hi Tiffany! They are 4 years and 2 1/2. Honestly I can’t remember when we started the rule that they have to stay in their rooms till we come for them. I know a friend shared this idea w/ me a few years ago and we have done it ever since. She has 10 children, and that way she and her husband get a little q.t. together before they start a busy day with kiddos. I would say that for us, it was a great thing to start early because now it’s just expected. We don’t really have arguments or testing limits on this because we have done it for so long – it’s just what we do.

          I hope that answers your question. : )

          • Gina says:

            I’ve done the same with my kids. I got a timer and attached it to a nightlight. When the light turns on in the morning (set for 7:15) they can get up and read. This prevents 5 a.m. book reading! They can go to the bathroom, but otherwise stay in their room until Mommy or Daddy comes to get them. I’ve done it since they moved out of the crib and it has NEVER been an issue, they are now 7, 5, and 3.

            • Naomi says:

              I love this idea! I didn’t know you could get a timer. We like to start our (week)days by 7 am w/ breakfast at the table, but this would prevent a certain 4 yo in our house from thinking he can get up just bc he had to go potty. Where do you get a timer for the night light?

  • Danita says:

    Excellent article – I really appreciated someone who can understand having early risers. I have often been frustrated that my kids wake up so early. In fact the earlier I wake up the earlier they wake up too! I think they have a radar inside them that can detect when our feet hit the floor!
    Thanks for the tips. I will say it is getting easier now that they are getting older. Also, one positive to early risers is that we can get to stores and errands early in the day before the rush of people in town!

    • Emily says:

      I think my kids have this radar too. I literally have to creep down the hall on my tiptoes, and even then they usually wake up.

      • Jessica says:

        Me too! I’ve tried to be an early riser, but all I end up with is early rising kids, who then get crabby from getting up too early! I even avoid the squeaky stair!

    • My kids seem to know when we try to get up earlier, too, and then follow suit! It can be frustrating, but I know it will end and we will someday be wondering how to get our teenagers out of bed!

    • Jennifer says:

      Yes! I’ve gotten really frustrated with trying to have early morning prayer time because they just seem to know!!! Now I pray during naptime or after they go to bed. It’s not ideal, but at least I’m praying!

  • Hilary says:

    I agree. My kids are split down the middle. Two early risers and two kids I can’t get out of bed. I have learned to make do. My two early risers are 1 and 5. I give them breakfast and hop in the shower. (with the door open of course so I can here them). By the time I get out they are both done so we get ready together. 🙂 After they are both ready and I am almost done. I get ready and get the other two ready for the day. While that is happening the five year old is packing school snacks to be my big helper. 🙂 and my one year old is helping her by trying to take everything out of the lunch boxes. it works better in shifts for us. If all 4 are at the table at the same time there is lots of fighting and I would never ever get my shower in. and there is less distractions for then to get out the door for school.

  • Alicia says:

    I haven’t actually tried this, but I have heard that it is helpful to prep for breakfast the night before by doing things like setting out the cereal or even setting the table!

    I like the idea of takking a shower at night.

    We tell our kids that they cannot get out of bed until the sky starts to turn light. This has worked very well for us.

  • Emily says:

    My son (two years old) wakes up around 7:00 most mornings. I realize this isn’t super early, but it’s still earlier than I’d like if I got to choose. 🙂 My tip may not be possible for everyone, but I leave him in his room for 30-60 minutes after he wakes up. Since I am up at 6:45, this gives me enough time to get ready and have some quiet time before things get crazy! He’s great at playing by himself (he has a small box of toys and a few books in his room), a trait I want him to keep as he grows older, so it works well for us. We “toddler-proofed” his room so that I don’t have to worry about him being unsafe. Oh, and he’s in a regular bed (just a mattress and box spring on the floor) not a crib, so he’s able to get up and play. But for little ones still in a crib, I have a friend who gives her daughter a few toys and books when she wakes up, which buys her time to get ready.

    • Meredith says:

      This sounds exactly like my 4yo daughter. “Get up time” is 7:00. She has a digital clock in her room and knows how to read it. She knows she can go to the bathroom, get a drink if she likes, and can play quietly in her room until I get ready to go downstairs for breakfast. As mom’s we are so adamant about “bedtime” but we aren’t as adamant about “wake time.” By doing this, we are all much calmer. A family member told me I was awful for this but my daughter obeys and I don’t have any problems!

      • Diane says:

        My son (who is now almost 16) was an early riser at that age. I always made him stay in his room until 7. He obeyed and he’s not been traumatized by that experience. Don’t listen to your family member. What you’re doing is o.k.

      • Lajoie says:

        We started doing this with my kids a couple years ago. Now I have a 5, 4 and 1 year old. The older two share a room and can’t come out of their room (besides bathroom) until their clock says 7:30 a.m.(in the summer)! 🙂 They do really well with it NOW, it did take a while. Sometimes they get up earlier, but lots of times they will still be sleeping until it is time to get up. Keep it up!!

      • Jessica says:

        That’s not awful, it’s brilliant. :o) Of course, I do it too. I literally drew a picture of a 7 and taped it to each kids clock and told them they can’t come in my room until the numbers match. Things are a lot more awful in this house if mommy’s over tired. And now, after a while, they wake up at 6:45 -7 anyway.

        • Melissa says:

          Heehee. I did this with my 3 year old and 2 year old….I said they couldn’t do it until the “numbers matched.” Hence, they both came in our room one night at 3:37 because the clock had a “7” on it, squealing and excited because it was morning. Ugh. =) I finally got them a “goodnight light” off of amazon that has a sun when it is time to wake up and a moon for bedtime. It helps them understand that it’s not time to get up when they wake in the middle of the night. It must be confusing being little, especially when daylight hours are always changing! =) They still come in early sometimes but it has helped curb the habit a bit just to have them realize it’s not morning. “When the sun comes up, you can come in.” If it’s close to 7, sometimes we just have cuddle time since my 2 year old and baby still take a LONG nap so they are up earlier than my 3 year old, who doesn’t always nap and is ready for bed earlier and wants to sleep later than them now. =) Every season seems to change, though….we just go with the flow and try to enjoy them. =)

          • Sarah says:

            I agree. Kids can never learn discipline and self-control too early. It will serve them well for the rest of their lives.

          • Christy says:

            I have a problem with the “daylight” hours because here in the Northwest, the daylight starts around 5 AM in the summer and stays daylight until after 9PM. My 2yo is still attuned to the daylight and honestly, if she’s not crying, I leave her in her room until it’s time to get up. Right now, it’s Way Past bedtime (8:00) and she’s in her crib laughing. She will probably do that for a little while before falling asleep and does it some mornings as early as 5 or 6.

        • Mary Ann says:

          Jessica,
          I did something very similar when my children were little. I covered the last two numbers on their clocks with a piece of paper, so all they could see was the first number. I told them that they were not allowed to get up until they saw a number 7 on their clocks. It worked like a charm and saved mommy’s sanity.

  • Erika says:

    Really great tips/advice. I battle with “how I would like it” vs. “how it IS” a lot. Time to get real and deal…. it will make life more enjoyable for all of us!

    • This is so true. I struggled for a long time with having a bad attitude that I could never do “my stuff” in the morning like I would prefer. Once I got over it and realized that my kids will only be small for a short while, and figured out that by re-adjusting my routines I could spend calm, enjoyable mornings with them, it got so much better! Now, I don’t even have that panic attack when I hear heavy breathing coming down the hall bright and early!

      • AK says:

        I think you are so right, that it is all about the attitude you decide to have…

        I once read a quote in a book about being a nursing mother that hit me smack in the middle of the eyes. 🙂

        The summation is: “Is it really NURSING your child that is making you exhausted? Or are you exhausted by your RESISTANCE to giving up your own agenda?” Oh.mercy.me. Let me tell you what was making ME tired– it wasn’t the nursing, if that gives you any clue.

        I’ve been surprised from that moment on how many things in my life are exhausting because I am resisting giving up my own way (aka– selfishness). Urg. How humbling.

  • Betsy says:

    These are great ideas! I think I will try to start showering at night and see how it goes.

    • Although I really do hate showering at night, it has proven to be the biggest time saver & stress saver out of everything I do! I’m getting so used to it, that when I shower in the mornings on the weekend, I feel rushed and stressed and always end up saying “I wish I would have showered last night!” I hope it works for you too!

  • Amie says:

    We have early risers, too. I am a teacher and used to have an hour commute. (I got a job 15 minutes from my house and I can’t tell you how excited I am!!!) During the school year we had been getting up at 5 AM. I am trying to train the kids to get up around 6:30-7:00 for the summer. My babies never slept through the night until they were a year old and I breast fed so I was always exhausted. I started bathing the kids in the evening and showering at night (I prefer the mornings), picking out clothes the night before, readying the diaper bag, filling bottles, packing extra clothes and the nebulizer, etc., and my husband set up our lunches so we could just throw them in the cooler bags the following morning and would pull some frozen meat to thaw for dinner the following evening. We even set up snacks for when the kids got home. Sippy cups were filled and snacks were prepared. We found that the time between work and dinner was just as hectic so we’d take care of that as well. We’d put the kids to bed by 7:30 and would get everything set after that. It still felt rushed, but I can’t imagine doing all those things in the morning.

  • You never realize how just the little things save time. I too fill all sippys at night and while I am getting everyone dressed and breakfast made my kids can take it and sit down as I get things finished such a time saver! BTW I also used to shower at night when my now 18 month old was little, I hated it! About 6 months ago all my kids fell into sleeping a bit later which allowed me to shower in the morning I love that!!!

  • Amanda says:

    If you can’t even shower in the morning it may be time to split up some of the work with your husband…..

    • Christy says:

      Well, in my case, my husband often leaves for work at 2:30 or 3:30 a.m. so I shower the night before.

      • Melissa says:

        Mine leaves very, very early as well. It is super rushed and since I stay home with the kids it doesn’t seem fair to make my shower a priority anyway when he is meeting with high profile clients and it is imperative that he is presentable for that (we try to work out in the mornings so if he didn’t, he would be majorly nasty). 🙂 We work it out if we have to or if I need one in the morning but it’s just easier if one of us showers at night and the other in the morning depending on our schedules for the day. Showering at 4 a.m. in the morning when I often stay up until around 11 or 12 just isn’t practical….mostly because it makes me ornery. Haha. 4 a.m. is practically showering at night anyway. =)

    • Deborah says:

      Im sorry but that is a very blanket and judgmental statement that was made without knowing each individuals situation. Maybe their husbands work nights and dont get home until 9am. Maybe they are a single parent. Maybe their husband has to leave extremely early. Contructive advice is appreciated by those sincerly asking for help. Sarcastic comments are not appreciated. Im sure most women have already thought about having their husbands help if that were an option.

      • amanda says:

        I wasn’t being sarcastic. The writer says she is a wife and mother, so she is married. I was talking to her directly and not to everybody.

        • My husband is AMAZING. He typically does ALL of the laundry-awesome! He showers at night now, too, as we’ve found that us showering at night is so helpful to our mornings. At night, while I prep for the next day, he does all of his school work for his masters program. We finish at about the same time and get to enjoy our evenings together. He leaves 30 minutes earlier than I do. With a recently torn ACL, MCL, PCL, miniscus and fractured bone, I’ve had to be extra organized the last month because he can’t do much of anything standing up. This is just what works for our life as parents. It may not work for your family, but I hope that my tips help lots of other parents who struggle with the crazy mornings that early risers can bring!

    • My hubby has to be at work at 6am, so this doesn’t work for us too. He does a huge amount at night and usually picks up the kids from school, washes the dishes (no dishwasher), etc. , so I’m fine with handling the AM stuff!

      We’re looking forward to his career change when he’s done with school in 2-3 years so we can all be home together in the mornings and can share some of that work. In the meantime, we’re perfectly fine with the way it is, even if mornings aren’t the calmest time around!

      Lea

      • Lauren says:

        My husband leaves for work at 4:30am…there would be no way to split up “parenting” duties. For now, I shower while my son naps. I wake up in the morning and immediately work out (jog with him in the stroller) and then when he goes down for a nap I hop in the shower. We’re expecting another baby in December so it will take some more readjusting, but I never want to be a mom who says that I can’t even get a shower in. Hygiene is important 🙂

  • Amber S says:

    My kids (ages 4, 5, 8, 9) are allowed to wake up as early as 5:00 (any earlier they have to try to go back to sleep). After 5:00, they can turn on their lights and read quietly in their rooms until 6:00, when breakfast is served. The kids have all been trained to this routine for several years. The younger ones who don’t have clocks know they have to stay in their rooms until their older siblings come out. This gives me the morning time to get ready and work on things without much interruption- early mornings are the best time of day!

  • Diane says:

    I have always taken a bath at night. I hate the thought of getting into a clean bed when I’ve become sweaty & dirty during the day. I never understood how other people do it, but that’s just me.

    • Anne says:

      If I am sweaty or dirty, I take a shower at night. But I still take one in the morning. I can’t function without it.

      • Laura says:

        Me too. Although if I had straight hair I could just run a brush through and go I might shower at night. But with curly/wavy hair, I can’t just do that. It needs to be washed and then put in hair product for it to look decent.

        • Sarah says:

          Same here. If you shower at night, you are already almost “clean” in the morning, so the morning shower can be shorter but still serve it’s purpose.

        • Emily says:

          Same reason I could never shower at night solely. My curly hair is a disaster in the morning. I haven’t quite figured out yet how to get good “2nd day hair”.

          • Wendy says:

            I take a bath at night (w/o washing my hair.) In the morning, I hang my head over the tub and wash my hair. I don’t get dirty while I sleep, so it just always seemed a waste of water and drying for my skin to bathe again in the morning. But as I said, that’s just me…

        • Wendy says:

          Even though I take a bath at night, I don’t wash my hair, unless I’ve been swimming. Each morning, I just hang my head over the side of the tub and wash my hair then. For me, it is quicker than having to take a shower but I know that wouldn’t work for everyone.

  • Becky says:

    This sounds exactly like our house! Baby is up by 5/5:30, 4 year old is up by 6:30, sometimes earlier. We are out of the house by 7:45 so the night before prep is a necessity. Showers, lunches made, daycare bags packed, outfits layed out for kids (and me), breakfast ready in the fridge for me (overnight oats) all happens the night before and gives me a much less stressful morning on the days I work. I have learned to embrace showers at night by feeling nice and clean before I get into bed, especially during the hot and sticky summer!

  • My children have been early risers for years (5:00 to 5:20 am). About 18 months ago they all seemed to have a time clock change, and they started sleeping in until 6:20-6:45). It has been strange having to wake them up.

    This morning it all came back as the children were almost all awake BEFORE 5 am. I woke up to hearing my usually latest sleeper riding a scooter outside my bedroom window.

    I count myself lucky; my mom says that when I was 2, I would jump out of the crib every morning at 4 am.

    I am going to try to go to bed earlier tonight (baby permitting!) so that I can get back on track for the super early rising!

    • April says:

      When my son was less than a year old, we called him Mr. 4:45. Like clockwork, every morning. Now, he is Mr. 5:45. That is so much more reasonable.

  • Ruth says:

    I like the idea of showers at night, although I too hate them!!! 🙂

  • Anne says:

    My Mom and Dad always set the breakfast table the night before. They also got the percolator ready to go. They showered the night before as well.

    I get my kid’s clothes out the night before. My 6 year old is a pain and I would rather deal with it in the evening rather than in the morning when she is sleepy.

  • Love the suggestions in this post. It has been ages since I was in the “early rising children” stage of life. Tomorrow my youngest child turns 10 and she is usually the first out of bed sometime between 8 and 9, my boys now that it is summer often sleep till noon. So those of you with little ones I want to encourage you that this “early riser” stage does not last forever!Oh and I totally remember having a little one who could not be talked to in the morning until she got her sippy cup in her hand!

  • Emily E says:

    I don’t have early risers but I always shower at night. It’s my favorite part of the day. I take a nice long shower while the children are sleeping and let all the stress of the day wash away. No rushing to try and get ready and hoping the kids don’t wake up. In the morning, I can be ready in 5 minutes (brush teeth, hot roll hair, and put on makeup while my hair is setting). Makes mornings a lot less stressful.

  • Kayla P says:

    I do not have early risers and I still do most of these things! 🙂 It makes my morning go much nicer! I also set the breakfast table the night before. Just a thought! 🙂

  • Traci says:

    This post has perfect timing for me! I have a nearly 3 year old who this morning decided on 5:15 rather than the usual 6:00 – 6:30, followed by the 5 month old at 6:00. Baby Colin has not gotten any memo on sleeping at night and after beginning to sleep longer stretches is back to 2.5-3 hours at night between feedings and too excited about developing skills to nap well during the day. Big brother comes toddling into our room with his eyes shut like he’s a mole chanting “Jake, Jake, Shake”. He wants Jake and the neverland pirates and a Pediasure (shake). I relented after the birth of our 2nd to allow the TV episode so I could possibly dress. With my husband on crutches for another 4 weeks following knee surgery he’s not much help at all and its exhausting! Glad to know others also have to do the cup prep and lay out clothes. I started that on my own in junior high because it prevented “I hate all my clothes” meltdowns in the morning. I do consider myself a morning person, but these boys are teetering on the early side for me. I just hope that older brother keeps napping for at least another year or so! Don’t mind the shower though- just wish after the shower I was willing to actually style my hair and didn’t sleep with wet hair and leave myself with a wavy poof!

    • Busy Busy you! I think Jake is a great show for kids lots of counting and singing. Nothing wrong with them watching a show or two in the morning while you are get things done. My 5 year old napped until he turned 5 (he seriously still needed it) but now I have him go to his room and lay in bed (he can look at books or sleep) but he needs that down time while the 3 year old naps. We do a 2.5 hour nap each day 12-2:30. Bed at 8 and up at 6:30.

      • Anitra says:

        Wow. My 3-year-old must just need less sleep than average… She is up at 5:30-6am every day, and goes to bed at 7:30 if she DOESN’T nap, 8:30-9 if she did get a nap.

        Our lifesaver is a clock with a monkey on it that we’ve set to “wake up” (alarm/monkey opens eyes) at 7am. Before that, she is allowed to play quietly in her room, and go to the bathroom if needed. Lately, we’ve been woken up around 6am with a “MOM! DAD!” yell because she needs help wiping her butt… but then she will go back to her room and I can get an early start on the day (or, in my husband’s case, go back to sleep).

        • Suzanne says:

          My 5 year old stopped napping at 2 and half. I tried *everything.* She apparently doesn’t need as much sleep, either! I finally gave up feeling bad about myself for not getting quiet time to work and just accepted that she doesn’t need as much sleep. She’s up at 6:30 and goes to bed at 8. My 9 month old is not a good napper, either (he literally naps for 30 minutes, twice a day, that’s it) and is still up at night, sometimes twice. I think some kids just don’t need as much sleep!

          • Patti says:

            You are right – everyone is born with their own rhythms and may not follow the schedule you wish. Our son survived on very little sleep although he did sleep more when he was more active after reaching school age (school all day followed by soccer practice, etc). We finally let him stay up late after we went to bed as long as he was in his room. I was always so envious of parents whose children went to bed at 7:30 instead of 10:30 or 11:00!! We did have later mornings but not so much – our son is just an active kid. Luckily he stays outside a good bit to run off that energy … And, no, he is not ADHD.

    • Amie says:

      LOL. I love the Jake -shake chant. I used to be so much more strict with the tv, but after having the baby, I just begged my son to watch a show or two so I could get a break or get something done. My husband also had knee surgery and tv was a great help to get through his recovery. Now that they are both older and sleep through the night, we have days that we don’t watch tv at all.

  • deseray says:

    I pack lunches the night before, shower and bathe kids at night, get sippy cups ready at night and stick in fridge. They know that they don’t get up and out of bed til mom is up. I am up early, but if they try to come out before seven, I’ll send them right back. I need time to drink some coffee, write my to do list, have some bible time.

  • Kelly says:

    My husband works a 14 hr night shift. He gets home at 8 am most mornings and our 9 month old wakes up between 5 and 6 am. I take care of everything either before dinner when he wakes up in the afternoon or at night after the baby is in bed. I know I’ve still got it easy since we only have one little one, but it is still important to find that groove of how and when to do things around a child’s schedule.

  • mary b says:

    Thank you for this post! Not being able to stay at home, and having early risers is tough! It’s nice to hear I’m not alone! :o)

  • Tiffany says:

    This sounded just like my life! 3 kids under 4, up at 5:30, husband leaves at 7:25 a.m.. Yep. I also laugh when people complain that their kids are up at 7 a.m.! Ha! I always wake up at 5:00 a.m. and get my exercise in for the day and then shower while my husband is feeding the kids. Otherwise, I am too exhausted at the end of the day (especially now that it’s summer and my kids are up later). And yes, planning the night before is KEY! Great post!

  • Lisa says:

    Great article! This is my life, too! I am a part time high school teacher and mornings around here start early with my 3 and 5 year old. I love the idea of the sippy cup in the fridge – why didn’t I ever come up with that?!!

  • Lisa says:

    WoooW. Mine get up around 6:45-7:00 every morning(and are now 5 and 6). I’ve never had them so intense that I’ve had the “I want.I want…I want…” right then, so I can’t imagine dealing with that. However, we do lots of things the night before to prep for our mornings.

    Since they were about 1 and 3ish(they’re 19 months apart if that explains the confusion on ages..LOL!) we’ve set out clothes the night before. Breakfast Mon-Sat is a simple affair(and usually premade, as in waffles/pancakes–homemade) and fruit, so honestly there’s no need to prep for it. Napkins sit on the table 24/7 unless it’s being washed, and my kitchen is small, so getting things out and leaving them on the table isn’t a need for us. If and when my spouse wants coffee, I will happily preset the coffee pot for him, but most of the time, he’d rather be up and out the door to work a little early. Mine know, you can get up when you wake up and you can go into our living room…but you’d better take a book and be prepared to be quiet until everyone else is out there. Before they can come out, they have to dress themselves, make their beds and turn off their nightlights.

    Honestly by the time they do that, because I shower at night(always have, I’m with the other poster who said they couldn’t imagine going to bed nasty…eww!!!), I am ready to go out and join them. They proceed to read and chat between themselves while I make and set the breakfast table and tell Daddy goodbye. One last thing I neglected to mention, I will run my dishwasher, and/or laundry through at night, that way I can get up, and unload everything/fold while they’re having breakfast. I eat cereal every morning(yes I’m boring), and can do most of it before they finish.

    It may not be perfect or super prepared, but it works really well for us.

    • Amber S says:

      I also have my children dress themselves and make their beds before they come down for breakfast- that saves so much time–I guess they are motivated if they want to eat, not so much after! I have my kids unload the dishwasher and set the table each morning as I finish breakfast or packing husband’s lunch- whatever chores need finishing.

  • chelsea says:

    amen to showering at night. not my favorite either, but its either that or no shower at all!

  • Lisa says:

    This is SOO timely! I am a SAHM and have two 3 year olds. I need something to change-either I go to bed earlier, they sleep later or I get more creative in the prep area. My son was up a little after 6 (too early for me) and telling me he is hungry about 20 times in 1 minute, then he needed to go potty-I helped and went back to bed while he was supposed to play trains in the living room. 5 min later he yelled that he pooped on the living room carpet-well I was up then (this is all too much before 7)! I am going to again attempt to go to bed earlier, get up before them and maybe try the cereal in a cup to hold the starving one over while my daughter is still sleeping. Thanks for the tips-this can apply to any parent who just needs some stream lining help….

    • Jen says:

      I so relate! I am NOT a morning person at all; I’m more of a night owl. My 18 month old wakes up around 7am, but is happy playing in his crib until I go get him. My 4 year old son, however, gets up between 5:45 – 6am most mornings. I think he hears my husband getting ready for work. My husband is awesome and will turn on the t.v. to a kid’s show. I know… not the best, but I literally cannot get up that early! He’s usually not glued to the t.v. though, he likes to play with his Matchbox cars and other toys.

      The second my husband is out the door around 7am, my son’s assault begins. He’s thirsty, or hungry, or needs to go potty, or needs his light turned on (if we’ve turned it off at the source to have the ceiling fan on, but the light off), or needs a toy he can’t reach in his closet… and on and on and on. After about the 3rd time in a five minute period, I’m up. There’s no point in trying to get anymore rest.

      I feel guilty, because it’s not his fault that mommy just wants to keep sleeping! I’m an older mom, at 42, and there are many reasons I’ve fallen into the later night routine. I had a catastrophically disabled daughter, who passed away in 1997, at the age of seven. She required 3am meds, and I was always too afraid to go to sleep and miss them, so I got into the habit of staying up to do it. My ex would handle the morning care, then I would get up around 10-11am. After she died, I was single and on my own for almost 10 years.

      Now my dream has come true… a wonderful husband, 2 beautiful, perfectly healthy boys. And I’m a grouch, because the schedule is SO different than I’ve lived for so many years. And little ones are SO needy. 🙂 I am going to bed earlier, because there is no other choice if I want to function the next day, but I need to work my bedtime up even more. I usually try to stay in bed until around 8, but I really should be getting up earlier. I wish us both luck in working the schedule better!

  • Carrie says:

    There are a lot of great ideas here. It brings back to mind the days when my kids were younger and had to get 5 ready to go. I would have everything ready the night before and line up the bags…diaper bags, book bags for the school kids, my work bag, my purse, and the breast pump, cooler bag for the baby’s milk, and my lunch bag. What a production! If I didn’t do it the night before, I was crazy in the morning.

    I also started the bathing at night routine. It is so much faster for me in the mornings. It is nice on the hot days to sleep after a cool shower or warm up before bed.

  • JoannaTopazT says:

    I have showered at night for … well, it’s been so long that I can’t remember. As others have said, I prefer going to bed clean — plus, when you’re visiting family and there are lots of “extra” people showering, I’ve found that showering at night means you’re much more likely to get the hot water. 🙂

  • Jody says:

    Great ideas – thank you! I may have to give the showering at night a try as I think it would greatly reduce my time stress in the morning – except that I tend to workout in the morning which always requires a shower afterwards. I also love the idea of having my kiddo lay out his clothes the night before; that would save us a lot of hassle. We bought the Teach Me Time alarm clock last fall for our now 3 year old and have raved about it since. (http://www.gimlinfamily.blogspot.com/2011/12/they-slept-in-happily-ever-after.html) Our kiddo usually wakes just after 6am, but with this clock he knows he needs to stay in his room until it turns green (7am). Sometimes he plays, sometimes he simply stays in his bed and continues to doze (extra sleep = happier kiddo!). This gives me extra time to do my morning workout and shower before he wakes.

  • Crissy S. says:

    While my husband and I don’t have little ones yet, I am out the door by 6 am and he is out the door by 6:30 am. Needless to say, getting up early is an understatement to us. I place as many items as I can in my purse or car or bag the night before. I have a verbal checklist of daily needed items, (wedding ring, school keys, car keys, glasses, cell phone, lunch, drink). I say my version of the list so often that my husband can even repeat it. I have a friend who irons all her clothes for the week on Sunday, whereas my mom irons the night before. When you work over 40 hours a week and you are going to graduate school, you have to keep your ducks in a row.

  • Jen says:

    Great ideas! My kids are older now (13-5), but mornings can still be crazy and I’m amazed what a difference it makes to prep the night before. I started showering at night when my second child arrived as I learned otherwise a shower seemed nearly impossible. I didn’t like it at first, but 11 years later I’m still doing it as I love the feeling of going to bed clean. Also, I enjoy my shower and not be thinking about everything I need to get done that day or what the kids are getting into.

  • Shontell says:

    After many years of homeschooling and being so poor when the kids finally WENT to school, I have been blessed with either late morning kids or hassle free mornings. IT’S ALL CHANGING. HELP!!! ok. I am calm. This school year will mark my first full time job. EVER. I went from being a high school student to mom. There was no full time worker life. All my kids will go to school and we are going to need routine.
    Also. You are brilliant. Love his article.

  • ClareC. says:

    My 4 kids are older now as well (7-14) but our mornings have not gotten any less hectic. I still do all I can the night before and I always shower before bed too. I walk our dog in the evenings so I love being able to shower after that. It really helps me to unwind before going to bed and I can get ready very quickly in the mornings. During the school year, I also require my kids to have everything they need for the next day packed and ready to go by the door before they go to bed. That saves us a lot of time as well.

  • Sarah says:

    I love this! Thanks for sharing. I’ve been struggling to make mornings easier when I’m bleary-eyed and my 3 year old has been up for I-don’t-know-how-long before he comes and jumps on our bed at 5:30 (or earlier). So far my trick has been to use the automatic coffee maker, but I need to make evening prep more of a habit!

  • grace says:

    thanks for this well timed post! this was my first morning getting up early (well hearing my alarm anyway) im less than excited about getting up at 715 to get errands done and what do i hear but my baby preschooler and kindergartener all up already and playing…sigh….and then to do the errands we were stuck in traffic for two hrs shot my day…but good tips my oldest likes to get up at 530 🙁 i swear they sense me if i get up b4 then i could get up at 3am and they would be right there beside me

  • Mary Ellen says:

    My 1 year old wakes up around 7:30am and the 5 year old wakes up around 8:30am (which will change soon when school starts!). But for now that is how it has been at my house. However, I still do many items on this list. I grew up in a house of 7 people. There was no way we could all shower in the morning, so we always showered at night and then the routine stuck.
    I do feel for those who have early risers. I’m not sure what I did… when I figure out how I get both children to sleep until 8am most days I will have to publish it and become a millionaire! LOL

  • Shelly says:

    I too like to get as much done the night before as possible. Getting clothes out for the next day, making my husband lunch or at least part of it for the next day, taking my shower at night. All of these things make my morning run more smoothly.

    I have also started getting up just 15 minutes before the kids to do some e-mail and computer time. Really seems to be helping. It is amazing what you can accomplish in just 15 minutes of peace and quiet.

  • Julie says:

    Haha!! I’m LOVING the almond milk comment! My son is the same with his almond milk….the part that kills me is sometimes he just takes the cup ans snuggles with it…..ugh!! You made me drop the world and get out of bed to get ur milk so you could…..snuggle with it? Aghhhh!! lol

  • Jenilyn Jensen says:

    Gotta Say…..you are a HERO. Great ideas! I too have early risers, am an early riser, and love my evening’s to prep for the next day! Great idea on pre-filling the drinks…..I also find actually partially loading the car for school/work in the evening helps too. Also keeping a tight schedule so that the kids know what to expect!!! Keep up the supermomming!!!!

    • Thank you! I also try to remember to load the car, but I often forget that part. It would be helpful if I could do that more often! Thanks for the reminder! And making sure kids know what to expect is also a great tip! That helps them so much! My kids even know now that when I say it’s almost time to go, that they grab their lunches from the fridge and put them by the door.

  • Elyse says:

    This is an excellent article. Thank you for sharing!

  • A. S. says:

    This is really a fantastic article. Even though my LO is only 1 and wakes up at a reasonable time of 6:30AM (typically), I loved reading the tips from the author. Thank you!

  • Thank you 😉 Even if you have a reasonable wake-up time for your kids, it can still be nice to not have much to do in the mornings OR to be able to use that time for “me” time…so needed as moms!

  • Vicky E says:

    When my girls were litte (they are 10 and 9 now), I told them they had to stay in their room until the sun woke up. They didn’t have a clock, but they seemed to understand that they couldn’t be up if the sun wasn’t. Now that they are more self-sufficent, bowls, cereal and poptarts are in lower cabinets where they can help themselves. Utensils are in a small pail with cups on a lazy susan on the table, so they can handle breakfast on their own if mommy and daddy want to sleep in a little bit. This has definitely helped my son (4) learn to do things on his own too.

  • Brittainny says:

    I too have early risers. 4 early risers ages 6, 5, 3-1/2, and 11 mo. We have gone through stages with each child at different ages. The most annoying stage with my 3rd, who would get up from 3am-4am and play and sometimes wake up big brother( who did not appreciate that). He would play pretty quietly, so I would listen while laying in bed to make sure he didn’t get into trouble.I was pregnant with baby 4 at the time and was not happy about that stage. It thankfully went away just before the baby was born. I have never been blessed with good infant sleepers. My kids don’t sleep through the night until 1-1/2 yr old. My kids are very close together. I haven’t more than 4 hours total a night since my first child and he will be 7 soon. I’m up anywhere from 5-15 times a night depending on teething, potty helps, nursing etc. I officially get started at 6 am even though I am often up before then nursing the baby. By 7 am the kids are starting their morning chore packs. ( chore cards in a clear pocket that clips onto their clothes) We start home school by 8am. I really love the hour I usually get before the kids are out of their rooms. I like to get my shower in the am. It is my equivalent to a coffee. I feel clean and refreshed and it results in a happier, better mommy. I also get my morning Bible time in which is a must. Like many other moms, I do as much prep work as possible the night before. Sometimes including a shower, but I truly enjoy my am shower.

  • Laura says:

    Thanks for posting this! My girls are up by 6:10-6:30 each morning, if they sleep until 6:45 or 7, it is a holiday for us!
    I tried getting up at 5:30 to have my alone time with Jesus/plan for the day. It worked for a while then got too hard, plus sometimes they hear me and wake up. 🙁 I was curious if/when you do Jesus time? Do you have any tips for that? You might have said it in a comment, I’ll also try to go back and read the comments. thanks so much for the tips!

    • Wendy says:

      I’ve always done my Jesus time at night, before I go to bed. It is a habit I got into as a child and it is what works for me. The kids are in bed, the house is quiet. My husband is watching TV in another room so I’m in my bedroom, with the door shut. That’s my Jesus time.

      I couldn’t have done it when my kids were younger because they were early risers too. Now they’re teenagers and I have the opposite problem. 🙂

    • That is actually one I’m constantly having to figure out! It changes depending on the season of life/kids. I often will clean the kitchen during afternoon nap time and put on a podcast of someone I really enjoy (I love listening to Daniel Brown’s podcasts!) or some worship music or even the Bible read aloud. If the kids are still sleeping after I finish, I will sometimes sit down then and journal. If all else fails, I’ve learned to recognize that I can spend my day in prayer with Jesus and that it doesn’t disappoint God if I’m doing the things He’s called me to do-caring for my family. Those are important. It’s not worth getting mad at my children for interrupting my Bible time; that is the opposite of how Jesus would want me to interact with my children. He’s called me to love them, and sometimes caring for small children means you can’t do everything you WANT to do or at least, how you want to do it! So, I just think sometimes my relationship with Jesus looks a little different at different times in life-it’s not bad, just different. It takes a positive attitude, adaptability, and a heart to love Jesus through it all!

      • Wendy says:

        That’s a great answer Jessica! I had forgotten that when my kids were really small, I would listen to Dr. David Jeremiah while I washed up the breakfast dishes and they watched a favorite TV show in the other room. That was part of my Jesus time. It is now a different season and I can’t do that anymore but I do have time during the day now even though I still do my time at night too.

  • Annie says:

    I always fill the the sippy cup and snack cup the night before too. As soon as my toddler comes down the stairs she points at cereal boxes and continues to grunts until she has food in her cubby hands.

  • celia says:

    I have an early riser who also does not nap. So he is up from 6 30 a.m. till maybe 7 30p.m. Then I have the baby on top of that. I actually just sat down at 10 p.m. ARGH. Anyhow, I also fill cups the night before. I also find that I am too exhausted to do much at night so I get up at 5 30. ick. Sometimes I actually get up at 4 a.m. double ick. Every Sunday I prep a crock pot meal that can be served three ways so that I don’t have to worry about that till Thursday. Tonight I am making chili for Monday, which becomes chili dogs on Tuesday and then nachos on Wednesday. I make my sons snacks ahead, like frozen pre-sliced banana bread that can get pulled and diced for him, or peanut butter cookies. I run the dishwasher every day, I learned to fold outfits together, to save time. So I hang my husbands whole outfit together to he can just grab a hangar. I make the coffee the night before and instead of just standing there while it perks, I unload the dishwasher or put away dishes. I make the most of the time I have in the morning before my husband leaves. I plan out our meals and snacks so they are easy to get. I set realistic goals, since my son is…yeah. He is two and out of his mind. I can’t turn my back on him. So my goal each day is NOT to do chores, but instead to do them after the kids are in bed or before they get up. I might do one chore during the day, like vacuum because I can do that while they play. I also ( grudgingly) take my shower at night.

  • sarah says:

    I have chronic early risers and starting when I had a 3, 2 and 1 yr old I discovered the OK To Wake Owl (look for it on Amazon) it is a plush adorable owl that u can set and turns green when it’s ok to get up. It Took a few weeks of training and moving the time back 5 minutes at a time but soon I had a 2 & 3 year old who stayed in their rooms until 7!! If they come out early I’d ask “is your owl green?” And they’d head back in. I still use it now that they are 3, 4 & 6!
    ( there is a little bug/ alien thing instead of an owl too, I got that for my oldest bc it can be an alarm and shows the time but I wouldn’t recommend it for under 3 bc u can open the door for the buttons really easily and change times/wakeups etc 🙂 )

  • Carolanne says:

    I love the article and all these comments. I have 3 that wake sometime between 5:30 and 6:30. For me to wake up early enough to do all the things I’d want to do (devotions, exercise, shower and get ready for the day) I’d have to wake up too early. Every time I’ve tried it the kids just wake up earlier anyway. I like the idea of getting the kids to bed earlier (difficult in the summer when it’s light past 9 pm) and using my evening for some of these typical morning routine things. Even though I’m exhausted by dinner time, I could still shower or have a relaxing bath, and have some time alone for devotions and reading.

  • Sarah says:

    Thank you for this encouragement! Sometimes it gets frustrating to keep hearing how to make my mornings better, but no matter what I do, my kids wake up right after me and then it just becomes more frustrating when I’ve planned to do stuff in the morning. So, I’ve made my evenings work- after my kids are in bed its workout and shower. Jesus time after that. My dishwasher runs overnight and is unloaded each morning. I start a load of laundry and put it in the dryer right before I go to sleep. The house always gets picked up nightly so my mornings are smoother.

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