Have you ever tried to create a morning or evening routine but found it difficult to stick with?
I think we all have😅!
There are a few reasons for this: one is that we don’t have our day set up correctly (see How to Easily Manage Your Home Part 1 and Part 2), another reason is that we create routines that are too difficult to stick with, or maybe there is nothing in our routine to motivate us to complete it.
No matter what your problem has been, this article that will help you solve them!
It is easy to get so caught up with life that we forget to stop and think about how we start and end the day. Or worse still, we forget to think about how our kids start and end the day.
Starting and ending the day on the right foot will help you defeat overwhelm and make you feel like you are in control of your life.
And getting a morning and evening routine set up for your kids will do away with a lot of the nagging that goes along with getting ready for the day or getting ready for bed.
So let’s go ahead and get started!
Grab your pen and notebook, or get out your Autopilot Workbook. We will be using the Daily Routines for Mom and Daily Routines for Kids pages.
If you are making your own template, that is totally ok! I just recommend that you put 7 little checkboxes by each item that you are including in the routine.
Putting boxes or circles or whatever you want to check off makes it more motivated for you (and your kids!) to complete the checklist. And this also allows your children to gain independence and take ownership of completing their own checklists once they get the hang of it.
1) Mom’s Morning Routine
I figured that we would start with the first routine of the day and work through the day setting up our routines.
Since I have a detailed post on creating an effective morning routine even if you aren’t a morning person, this will just be an overview. You can see the full post here if you are interested.
To get started with Mom’s Morning Routine, we are just going to write down a list of things that we would like to do if we had a little extra time in our day.
You don’t have to be too realistic at this point, this is a dream list!
2. Time Each Item
Once you have your list complete, write down the amount of time that each item on your list should take next to it.
This will help you determine how many things you can do during your routine.
3. Choose Your Wake Up Time
When you are choosing what time you want to get up, be realistic about when you think you will be able to get out of bed… and when you think your kids will get out of bed.
Ideally, you’ll want to have the bulk of your morning routine (if not all of it) done before your kids get up.
I like to have my morning routine completed before my girls wake up. It just helps me get the day started on the right foot when I get some things accomplished and have some time alone before the house gets busy.
When I sleep until my kids wake up, I feel like I am already starting my day behind.
So I want to set the wake-up time that will allow me to complete my morning routine before the earliest that the girls will wake up.
Our girls typically wake up between 7:00 am-8:00 am, which means I need to have my routine before 7:00 am.
If I set it to be finished at 8:00 am, I wouldn’t be finished if they wake up early. But if I set my routine to be finished at 7:00 am and they sleep a little longer, bonus time for me!
So I decided to set my wake-up time for 6:00 am. It is much easier to wake up when someone else is waking up! And since Ross wakes up at 6:00 am, that is a time that was realistic for me to wake up.
4. Prioritize Your List
Now we are going to go through and prioritize our list.
Don’t prioritize your list based on how you think it should be prioritized… prioritize it the way that you want to prioritize it.
Here’s an example of what I mean:
You may feel like you should put exercising on your prioritized list because it’s good for you and you’ll feel good after you do it…
BUT if you don’t already have a good exercise routine, trying to exercise in the morning while you are trying to create and stick with a morning routine is going to be difficult.
If exercising isn’t motivating for you, you are more likely to hit your snooze button many, many times instead of getting up early and getting it done.
Establish a good morning routine first, then work on the exercise routine or vice versa!
No matter what you think you should have in your morning routine, you will be most motivated to get up when you have something that you look forward to on your routine.
5. Transfer Your List onto Your Template
Then the last step for creating Mom’s Morning Routine is to transfer your finished routine onto the Daily Routines for Mom page if you are using the Autopilot Workbook.
My Current Morning Routine:
Before the Girls Wake Up:
Work Until the girls Wake Up
After the Girls Wake Up:
Once the girls wake up, we do this part of our Morning Routines in tandem. (They make their bed while I make mine, they get themselves dressed while I get dressed.)
That is the end of the official morning checklist, but I also write down:
Because I like to keep track of how often I am working out, but it isn’t something that I need to get done before the girls wake up.
Sometimes we go on a bike ride in the mornings, or sometimes I will work out while they are eating breakfast, it just depends on the day and what we have going on.
So you can make your Morning Routine as Simple or Complex as you would like!
Only you know what will be motivating for you to get up and do every day and if your morning routine should end when your kids get up, or if you want to include everything in your Morning Block on your checklist.
But no matter how you have your Morning Routine whether it is Simple or Complex, I just recommend that you have A Morning Routine.
I found for myself that I am just a better mom when I have a little time for myself every morning to get a couple of the things done that I want to before I start doing things for my family all day.
2) Kid’s Morning Routine
Now let’s move on to creating the Morning Routine for Your Kids.
If you are using the Autopilot Workbook, print off as many of the Daily Routines for Kids pages as you have children. (I printed off 2 since I have 2 kids. 🙂
Write Down Everything They Need to Do
The Morning Routine for the kids should be much simpler than yours, but it is still a good idea to write everything down.
Before I started doing the checklists with my kids, every morning and evening was a struggle to get through our routine.
Once we wrote it down and gave them a checklist, they were able to take ownership of getting themselves ready for the day and for bed at night (even if they still like us to tuck them in!)
As you are writing everything down, even though we want their routine to be simple, we also want it to be detailed.
If you haven’t noticed, kids aren’t the greatest at connecting the dots… so if you don’t write down fold pajamas, put them away, and get dressed, the pajamas will probably end up thrown on the floor.
You have to write down every little step because you are teaching them the process. They don’t already know the proper order of things, so you have to tell them.
My Girls’ Morning Routines:
Put Away Pajamas
Read Bible Story
Work on Memory Verse
3) Kid’s Evening Routine
Now that we have our morning routines taken care of, let’s shift to creating our evening checklists.
In my house, our evening routine starts when we finish family worship and it ends when the girls are in bed going to sleep.
I recommend using your evening checklist for your kids in a similar way, essentially it is just a checklist of everything that they need to do to get ready for bed.
That way when you tell your kids to do their evening checklist, they are ready for the bed when they are finished.
So go ahead and write down everything that you want to put on your children’s checklist on the Daily Routine’s for Kids Template, or on your own template if you are making your own.
Just be sure that your own template has at least 7 checkboxes for each of the items on the kids’ checklist.
This will help them start to do the checklists on their own.
Now you may be thinking that your kids are too young to have their own routine that they do by themselves each evening. And I completely understand that. my girls are 3 and 6 and they still need quite a bit of help to get through their evening routine.
But having the evening routine as a checklist takes away a lot of the negotiating when it comes to getting ready for bed.
The checklist also helps them get excited about getting ready for bed and it gives them some independence.
So if you have any difficulty getting your kids ready for bed, I recommend trying out the checklist!
My Kid’s Evening Routine
Put on Pajamas (By Themselves)
Put Clothes in the Laundry or Away in the Drawers (By Themselves)
The last routine that we need to set up is our evening routine.
I think it is important for moms to have an evening routine because it can be really easy for us to keep doing housework until we go to bed. And it’s really nice to start and end your day with a little bit of “me” time.
But when we create our evening routine we don’t have to go back to square one since we already created our wish list on our scratch paper of all of the things that we wanted to do when we had a little bit of free time.
So we are just going to grab that Prioritized wishlist from back when we were creating our morning routine and look at the items that didn’t make the cut.
Now keep in mind as you are creating your evening routine, that you want to take your personality into account.
You might be looking at my morning and evening routine thinking “wow she is getting so much stuff done, I should do that too!” But remember that I have a Type A personality, and I LOVE being busy and working.
It’s actually relaxing for me to get work done… I know, I know, I’m a little crazy 😂.
But if you have a Type B personality, or a Type C, or even a Type D personality, the things that I enjoy probably won’t interest you… and they definitely won’t relax you!
You might enjoy reading a book, having a bubble bath, working on a craft, or maybe even just sitting and doing nothing for a while.
And that is totally ok!
You want to do whatever will help you relax and get ready for bed.
My Evening Routine
Put on Pajamas
Wash My Face
Make and Drink Tea
Work on Classwork
Brush My Teeth
Read a Book
6) Write Your Routines Into Your Block Schedule
And the final step is to take your Daily Block Schedule and write down “Mom’s Morning Routine, Kids’ Morning Routines, Kids’ Evening Routines, and Mom’s Evening Routine” in the correct blocks.
The reason that we want to put these into our daily routine is that it can be really easy to build these routines and never get around to using them.
By putting your routines into your Daily Block Schedule, the routines will become helpful tools that enable you to live a better life.
I hope you found this helpful! Let me know in the comments what your routines look like!
Do you ever browse through Pinterest or your Instagram feed and feel like all your friends are obsessed with this new idea that is supposed to make their lives easier?
In my little corner of the internet, the hot topic for a while was creating a morning routine.
But every post I read also told me that I needed to get up early…. which basically meant that it wasn’t for me.
You see, I love to sleep. Aside from my husband and kids, it might be the thing I love most in this world. (Just kidding family and friends! I love you guys more than sleep, but please don’t make me prove it.)
In addition to loving sleep, Ross and I are naturally nocturnal. Before we had kids, we would easily stay up until the wee hours of the morning then sleep until noon or later on the weekends.
Deep down I knew getting up earlier would make my days more productive, and give me some much-needed alone time before the kids got up, and probably make me a happier mom…
But each extra minute of sleep was so sweet that I could never manage to extract myself from the bed before my oldest daughter made her way into my room.
I saw a meme once that rang true for me, “There is nothing better than sleeping while someone else gets ready for work.”
But after becoming a mom, I was frustrated that there were never enough hours in the day.
I tried organizing my daily routine… since that was something I could do without changing my sleeping habits… but that still didn’t seem to get me ahead at all.
No matter how hard I worked during the day, I was still struggling to get everything done so that I could have any down time in the evening.
Finally, after a while (and by a while I mean over two years….), I wanted to stop feeling like I was always treading water.
I decided to give this whole “morning routine” thing a try and see if it made any difference.
And Oh. Man. Did. It. Ever.
I loved having more time in my day, getting things done that had been slipping to the bottom of my priority list, and being awake and ready to greet the girls when they woke up in the morning.
I highly recommend trying out a morning routine if you are struggling to get everything done.
In This Post You’ll Find:
Why you should create a morning routine
How I created my morning routine
How to choose your wake-up time
What you might want to have in your routine
And tips for waking up early
If you prefer to watch instead of read, here is the video that goes with this blog post:
Why You Should Create a Morning Routine
So first things first: Why should you even bother creating a morning routine?
1. It puts you in a better mood for your family.
Maybe this isn’t the case for everyone, but I find I’m in a much better mood when I wake up and get a few things done before my kids get up.
2. You will get things done.
Even if the only thing you decide to do in your morning routine is read a good book, that is still time well spent if it recharges your batteries before you have to give your time and energy to your family all day.
And if you are more of a Type A personality like I am, it will give you a head start on your to-do list for the day.
Either way, it’s a win in my book!
3. You will be more productive.
I have found that even if I sleep in longer and don’t get through my whole routine, just getting myself out of bed and dressed before the girls wake up gives me more energy for the day.
I tend to get the kids outside more, get my chores done earlier, and work out more frequently than I did before I started my morning routine.
4. If you have an introverted bone in your body, it gives you some much-needed alone time before the craziness ensues.
I’m a little strange in that sometimes I am introverted, and sometimes I am extroverted. I’m about as on the line as a person can be for this personality trait.
But even for me, having that alone time is magical! I love sitting in the quiet before all the conversations begin.
If any of these reasons for starting a morning routine sound nice to you, grab a notebook because we are going to create one together right now!
How to Create a Morning Routine
Here are the steps that I took to create the morning routine that I love and use every day… well almost every day… a girl’s gotta sleep in a little on the weekends, right?
1) Make a List
Grab a pen and a piece of paper and jot down anything and everything you would like to get accomplished before your kids get up.
Don’t think practical at this point, you’re just brainstorming. It’s like you are creating a wish list for your mornings.
Do you want to exercise, read a book, shower, make your bed, just get dressed, or do some work?
For my list, I specifically chose things that are difficult or impossible to do once my day gets going.
Here is what my list looked like:
2) Time Each Activity
Now that you have your list, write down an approximate time that each activity will take.
If you don’t know, make an educated guess. If you have no idea how long something will take, time yourself!
My timed list looked like this:
3) Build In a Buffer
Now, I don’t know about you, but I move slowly in the morning. I don’t bounce out of bed at the first ding of my alarm clock like some people do (I thought this was an urban legend until my oldest daughter started waking up like a Disney Princess 👸).
It takes a couple of minutes for my brain and heart to argue about if we are really getting up this early or not.
Then it takes me a couple more minutes to change into my workout clothes and get myself into workout clothes.
Sure, I could probably shower more quickly, but I wouldn’t enjoy a rushed shower each morning.
I want to intentionally set myself up for enjoying my morning routine. That will make it easier for me to roll out of bed each morning instead of snuggling back in.
With this in mind, I’m going to add some extra time in places where I think it would be helpful. For example, I’m going to give myself 5 minutes just to wake up!
Here is what my list looked like with some buffer time added in.
4) Set Your Priorities
Now is when we start thinking practically with our list. Put everything on your list in order, from what you want to do most to things that might be kinda nice if you get to it.
Most likely, you won’t have time for everything on your wishlist.
So first think about if you could only do one thing every morning, what would it be?
If you could do two, what would the second thing be?
Don’t feel like you have to put down things at the top of your list that you *should* do.
If it would make you a happier and more relaxed person to read a good book for an hour before anyone else wakes up, put that at the top of your list.
For me, the top items on my priority list are my devotional time and exercising. If I don’t do them first thing, it is hard to get them done later in the day. Usually, if I wait too long, they don’t happen at all.
Here is my prioritized list:
5) Organize Your List
Aside from your first item or two, your list probably doesn’t have a lot of flow. Let’s change that, shall we?
Once your most important things are written down, organize the rest of your time to work with them.
For my list, I needed to move my Work Out Prep time before my Workout Time.
Basically, just make sure that your order makes sense if you have more than one thing that you want to do.
6) Set Your Wake-Up Time
When deciding what time to get up, look at when your children typically wake up.
My kids usually get up between 7:00 am and 7:30 am. To make sure that I get everything done, I plan for them to get up at 7:00 am.
If they sleep longer, then I just got a bonus of 30 minutes! But if they wake up at 7:00 am, I’m ready for them.
Then I work backward to see what time I need to get up.
Look back at the time that you put next to each activity and add up the time next to your highest priority items.
How much time do you need to complete them?
I have approximately two hours’ worth of things that I want to do each morning, which brings me to a 5:00 am wake-up time, painful as that may be.
When choosing when to wake up, try to pick a time that will be easiest for you.
My husband gets up at 5:00 to get ready for work, so it made sense for me to try to get up either at the same time or sometime while he was still moving around in our room.
Now, he’s a considerate guy, so unless I actually pry my eyes open and turn on my bedside lamp, he will quietly leave the room and I will continue snoozing my alarm clock until the first child wanders in.
This means that I need to get up when he is still moving around the room with a dim light on if I really want to make this work.
Now, if you are anything like me and have previously only referred to 5:00 am as an ungodly hour, stay with me.
I read you loud and clear!
If 6:00 feels more manageable for you, start there. Know yourself, when your kids typically wake up, and what you want to accomplish when you pick your time.
If there isn’t enough time to get everything done, I suggest dropping an item or two from your list instead of trying to move faster.
Night Owls don’t move quickly in the mornings unless there is a fire, and even then, it’s questionable.
Set yourself up for success by setting a reasonable and attainable goal, to begin with. You can always make your wake-up time earlier if you are enjoying your morning routine and want more time.
You will never know if you even enjoy the routine you created, however, if you set a time that makes you give up before you even start.
Set a wake-up time that works best for you and write down your high-priority items that will fit into the time. Drop anything from your list that doesn’t fit into your time frame.
7) Have Everything Ready
Perfectly laid plans can go awry if you don’t have everything you need ready to go… especially when it comes to getting up early!
If you have to run all over the house to find everything you need for your routine, you will likely stay in bed.
But if you have everything you need ready to go, you are more likely to follow through:
Try your routine for one week before you make any changes. Make notes each day to remind yourself what worked and what didn’t.
Did you give yourself enough time for each task? How did you do with getting up early? Do you think you could get up earlier to get more done? Try swapping out something that you didn’t like doing in the morning for something more enjoyable.
Remember the point is to enjoy your morning routine so that you can be a happy and productive mom throughout the day.
If taking a bubble bath for an hour every morning makes that happen, do it!
Don’t put things on your list out of obligation or because your mother or a friend thinks you should do them.
How to Get Up Earlier
If you are anything like me, having a beautiful new morning routine makes you feel accomplished… until you realize that you are going to have to wake up early to stick with it.
So if there are any kindred spirits reading this post, I wanted to share with you things that have helped me get up early and stick with my morning routine.
1) Go to Bed Early
As obvious as it may seem, this is the hardest step for me to stick with. My husband and I are naturally night owls and we don’t usually feel tired at night.
Going to bed early takes planning and discipline for us. If you have a hard time with this too, try setting an alarm on your phone in the evening half an hour before you want to go to bed.
When the alarm goes off, start winding down and getting ready for bed.
Once you start getting up early, you will find it much easier to go to bed at night.
2) Get Up With Your First Alarm
We’ve all heard this advice before, but it isn’t always easy to do.
Commit to turning on a lamp when you hear your first alarm and it will be harder to just roll over and go back to sleep.
3) Get Out of Bed
I used to just prop myself up, pry my eyes open and start trying to read. Usually, that just resulted in me falling back to sleep in an upright position.
When I started walking to my daughter’s room and closing her door so the lights didn’t wake her up (she likes to sleep with the door cracked open), it was easier for me to stay awake.
Just like we all learned in science class, bodies in motion tend to remain in motion. Once you’ve committed to putting your feet on the ground, it is easier to stay awake.
4) Brush Your Teeth
While you are up, walk to the bathroom and brush your teeth. If you use any kind of mint toothpaste it wakes up your brain.
I also found that it makes it easier to go to sleep at night if I brush my teeth when I put my girls to bed instead of waiting until right before I go to bed.
5) Start Drinking Water
Not only is it good for your body, but it will also help you wake up if you start drinking water as you begin your routine.
Since I’m already in the bathroom to brush my teeth, I fill up my cup with water and start drinking.
I’ve found that I drink a lot more water on the days when I wake up early compared with the days that I don’t. I think starting early gives your body the desire to keep drinking more.
6) Find an Accountability Buddy
Sometimes You, Yourself, and Your Alarm clock just aren’t enough motivation to get your booty out of bed at 5:00 AM (even if you know your 11:00 AM self will thank you for it). That’s where a buddy comes in handy.
When I worked outside the home full time, I knew that the only foolproof way for me to get my workout done was in the morning before work.
Since no one ever wants to hang out at 5:00 am for some reason, I never had anything more exciting come up to distract me.
But since 5:00 am is WAY earlier than I am used to, I enlisted my mom who went to the same gym to get up and go with me.
It made a huge difference knowing that someone else was waking up at the same time and would be there for me when I got there.
If you are getting up early to work on your business, find a buddy who has a similar goal that you can text in the morning to encourage and check in with each other.
If you want to get through a book for your book club, see if anyone else is getting up early to read and hold each other accountable.
Additional Ideas to Add to Your Routine
If you are having a hard time coming up with a list of things to accomplish, this will help you get started!
Remember that the point of a Morning Routine is to get your day started on the right foot.
Don’t feel like you need to do something productive if you would benefit more from some relaxing alone time. But it’s also ok if you are a Type A personality who wants to check some To-Dos off your list!
Make it work for you and make it enjoyable and you will be having more productive mornings for a long time to come!