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8 Morning Routines that Work for Working Parents

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Rarely are we the parents we want to be in the morning. Especially on drop-off days.

It can be frantic the moments before we all get in the car for school drop-offs and work. When we can only find one rain boot. When we realize no one packed the lunches.

At Vivvi, our job is to make your life easier—and we know mornings are tough on so many of our little ones. 

And when mornings are tough for our little ones, they’re tough for us too! Creating a morning routine that works for you and your family, especially if you’re a working parent, is the first step in having a great day.

Here are some things you can do to set yourself up for success in the morning:

  • Start the night before.
    Much of the advice from working parents includes getting as much done as possible the night before. We’re talking about packing lunches, setting out clothes, and laying out breakfast items.
  • Have a routine.
    Children thrive on a routine, so establish a morning routine and stick to it as much as possible. Letting your children know what to expect helps mornings go more smoothly.
  • Be patient.
    Getting young children ready in the morning can be stressful, especially if you’re exhausted. But it’s important to be patient. Remember they are still learning and growing, and they are definitely going to slow you down.
  • Be prepared for delays.
    Things don’t always go according to plan, so be prepared for delays in the morning. This means having extra clothes, snacks, and other supplies on hand in case they go on a hunger strike before you leave or fall face-first in a puddle as soon as you hit the sidewalk.
  • Have fun!
    Getting ready in the morning doesn’t have to be a chore. Try to incorporate little moments of joy for your kids by singing songs, playing games, or having special breakfast sprinkles.

But don’t just take our word for it! Below are some tried and true tips from real working parents to help you get out the door a little easier in the morning.

1. Make dinner and breakfast at the same time.

I pack their lunches while heating or preparing dinner the day before. We have two lunch boxes for each of them so I can pack tomorrow’s even if today’s is still in the dishwasher. —Lilah R.

2. Plan ahead.

Preset the next day’s clothes the night before, or have clothes where it’s easy to mix/match bottoms and tops so it’s a quick grab-n-dress. And keep breakfast on school days simple. Boiled egg, a carb (toast, croissant, quick-cook or rolled oatmeal [not the packets, full of sugar], etc), and prep ahead what you can. Don’t be afraid to use the microwave to cook quick oatmeal. Overnight oats are a fabulous easy to easy-to-customize option for older kiddos. —Behnaz H.

3. Pick out clothes the night before.

I have two daughters who are the same size and share a closet. When I’m on my best mom behavior, I have them help me decide on their outfits the night before, so we don’t have to fight about who gets the red mohair sweater that day as we’re rushing out the door. —Hanna N.

4. Or better yet, let them sleep in their clothes.

Our kids bathe at night and we let them sleep in the clothes they are going to wear to school. All three do this most school days. I imagine we will have to stop when body odor is a thing. —Eillac G.

5. Create a checklist.

We have a laminated checklist for the morning routine so I can just say, “Did you check everything off” as opposed to repeating each step 3 or 4 times. —Tamara F.

6. Establish roles and responsibilities.

My wife and I set a plan for the week so we know who is getting the kids up and dressed, who is preparing breakfast or packing lunches and who’s dropping them off every morning of the week. That way nothing falls through the cracks. It also ensures there are no surprises when it comes to an early morning meeting or yoga class. —Andrew S.

7. Get ready together.

I have a 3-year-old and we get ready together in the bathroom. So I put another set of my toothbrush/face wash/hairbrush in her bathroom so we can get ready together in the morning. —Tina S.

8. Make breakfast easy on everyone.

We prep or have frozen “one hand” breakfast that can be eaten on the go. Egg bites, breakfast burrito, waffle with peanut butter on it. This way if they get everything done before school they can eat at the table but if they don’t they can grab and go eat it in the car on the way to drop off. —Kate M.

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