How to make your morning work for you when you’ve got kids

What does your morning routine look like, since kids came along? In case it’s not running smoothly, Sophie Le Brozec – speaker, motivator and business owner – is here to share her tips for a seamless morning with the family…

Sophie Le Brozec has lived in France, Spain and the UK – and now calls Mauritius home. She’s married with two daughters, aged 10 and four years, and runs a business; teaching and motivating women to love the life they live through an online membership club, online programmes and a weekly blog.

Do you remember, back in the olden days, when mornings meant waking up to an alarm around 7am and snoozing it several times before dragging your sleepy body into the shower?

Maybe you would watch some TV whilst drinking your coffee. Or perhaps you listened to your favourite radio show as you did your make-up.

Mornings felt so difficult. 7am was far too early to be awake.

And then you had kids. Suddenly 7am felt like a lie-in. The idea of having more than two minutes to apply make-up became laughable.

Those days when mornings seemed so hard seem like paradise in comparison to the absolute chaos that you now know as a parent.

But surely there has got to be a way to make mornings work for you, even when you’ve got kids?

I’m happy to say that there are ways, and better still I’m going to share them with you. Because you know why? I’ve recently entered my second decade of parenting and it took me way too long to figure these things out for me not to share them with other parents.

I entered the world of parenting in 2006 and since then I’ve been a stay-at-home-mum, a working mum and a work-at-home-mum in three different countries (France, UK and Mauritius), and I’ve picked up some survival tactics over this time.

So here is everything you need to know to make your morning work for you when you’ve got kids:

You’ve got to be organised

It might sound obvious but it’s amazing how many parents overlook this vital strategy.

Get all the non-fridge breakfast bits ready and laid out on the table the night before.

Prepare packed lunches, water bottles, PE kits, school bags, shoes, uniforms, signed forms, school projects the night before.

Get your own things ready the night before too – whether it’s work clothes laid out, your to do list ready to be attacked, your handbag packed and ready, the dog food ready to be given. Do it the night before.

Set some ground rules

What is the earliest your kids are allowed out of bed?

If they can’t sleep what are they allowed to do? Can they get up and play? Watch TV? Do they have to stay in their rooms? Should they be up and dressed first? Are they allowed to make noise?

Be very clear with what is allowed and what isn’t allowed, and stick to it. This avoids huge arguments in the mornings, as everyone knows the rules. If possible make weekend mornings more relaxed, so they know they do have fun lazy mornings to look forward to.

For example our kids aren’t allowed out of their bedrooms in the morning during the week unless they’re dressed. Whereas at the weekends they can stay in pyjamas as long as they want (unless we’ve got plans, then we usually encourage them to get dressed – I’m not a big fan of taking my pj-clad kids round the local supermarket).

Have clear expectations

If you expect your youngest to be able to dress himself every morning then tell him this. Most kids will happily let you dress them until you tell them enough is enough. And who wants to still be dressing their teens in the mornings?

When you put your kids to bed tell them clearly what you expect them to do in the morning:

“When you wake up in the morning, take your pyjamas off and put them under your pillow, get dressed with the clothes that are laid out on your chair. Once you’re dressed you can go downstairs and play until breakfast time.”

Carrot or stick?

Whether you use a carrot or a stick in the morning depends on your family rules and on each individual child’s personality.

Our eldest is super hard to get going in the morning and the only thing that works is scary sticks, like no TV or screens at all after school.

Whilst our youngest can usually be got moving with a simple carrot, “the faster you get ready the sooner you can have your favourite cereal”.

Figure out what punishments or rewards work best for your family (if this is how you do things) and for your individual kids.

What about you?

Once you’ve got all the above set up then you can plan how you want your morning to start.

My mornings used to consist of me running round the house like a crazed woman, yelling things like “where are your shoes?” or “whose cardigan is on the stairs?” or “why is there NO milk left?!?”.

By the time I left the house I felt ready to crawl back into my bed.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I still have days like that. But, on the whole, mornings work for me these days.

Most of the time my day starts with me reading something motivational to get off on the right foot. Then I try and do a bit of sport (I like to eat, drink and be merry and this is the only way I can get away with that lifestyle).

I usually manage to get 30 minutes to myself, by which time I need to deal with parenting requests – cutting bread for packed lunches, opening new milk cartons and so on, which I can handle as I’ve had my Me Time.

Like anything with kids, this isn’t fool-proof, but it does work more often than it doesn’t and I’ll take that as a win.

What are your tips or strategies for making your mornings work with kids?