The Magic of Morning Routines


One of the most effective tools in our family has been the magic of morning routines. They are my silent voice. My rest.

I came across this amazing idea years ago and after not growing up with a morning routine, it made me wish I had. As a result, I’ve committed to instilling the habit of routine into all our lives.

Basically, it’s one of my top favorite, game-changing tools I wouldn’t parent without. The only other option is consenting to make life harder than it has to be. No thanks!

“Morning is an important time of day because how you spend your morning can often tell you what kind of day you are going to have.”

the magic of morning routines

The Benefits of Magical Morning Routines

  1. Discipline
    It takes discipline to repeat positive habits, even when you don’t feel like it. Discipline is crucial to a successful life.
  2. Consistency
    Necessary for a productive life, even for kiddos. Being consistent will turn any small action into automatic behavior. Wouldn’t it be amazing to get breakfast cleaned up automatically instead of having to tell everyone what to do daily? Your children can grow up with these habits and much more.
  3. Reliability
    Knowing that your child is committed to his routine every morning (except our rest day) helps them to be reliable and trustworthy.
  4. Less stress
    For both child and parent. When your children follow through with what’s expected of them and when you don’t have to repeat yourself every few minutes, it definitely reduces stress.
  5. Self-care
    Even at a young age, it’s important to create the habit of taking care of yourself. Working out (all of my kids, ages 8, 11, &16, exercise in the mornings), brushing teeth, showering, not skipping breakfast, having a quiet time, journaling, etc. are good habits of self-development and caring for your body and mind.
  6. Saves time
    When you plan ahead and prepare, it cuts out the guesswork. For example, my kids know what to expect when it comes to our general meal plan, chores, school schedule, family time, and routines. We bypass reinventing the wheel.
  7. Satisfaction. The satisfaction of a morning ritual or routine makes one feel a bit more confident, secure, and satisfied. One can’t help but feel this way because you are doing what most people don’t have the desire or discipline for, the results are far-reaching, and it changes your life.

If you don’t change the direction you are going, then you’re likely to end up where you’re heading.

Our kid’s morning and evening routines remind them to take care of important things that need to be done but also a few little chores that make our day better. Their routine packs (which are about 10 laminated cards held together by a ring) live on hooks in a central location and follow them around until all is finished

daily devotions in a quiet place

By the time the children wake up and begin, I’m working out in my office and don’t need to be involved at this point. Truly, it’s an amazing thing and a beautiful moment for a mother.

As a result of years of practice, they are like ants going about their business.

I would say that children as young as two or three could definitely start with pictures and just a few cards. As my eldest grew and his routine changed a bit, it transitioned from pictures to just words and now it sits collecting dust since he has it memorized- which is the goal. 

You will never change your life until you change something you do daily. The secret of your success is found in your daily routine.

My Kid’s Morning Routines

daily devotions for kids
  1. Open blinds or curtains in their bedroom.
  2. Make bed.
  3. Put on “school” clothes (not the play clothes stained with red dirt). 
  4. Hang up PJ’s (because we hang them on hooks, wear them for 3 days and then toss them into the hamper).
  5. Put on deodorant.
  6. Brush hair.
  7. Quick tidy bedroom.
  8. Quiet time with Jesus (read Bible and devotional, pray, and journal).
  9. Quick workout. My teen literally does an 8-minute workout and my littlest does 10 pushups and situps. Sweating is not important. Making time for exercise is. As they get older, they’ll make time for more intense workouts.
  10. Tidy dining & livingroom (my two littles alternate these jobs).
  11. Unload dishwasher (the littlest one puts away the silverware and the middle one puts away the rest).
  12. Feed pets. One child feeds the bunnies and hens in the a.m., one feeds in the pm, and another feeds the cats both am and pm. The youngest collects eggs from the hens. 
  13. Eat breakfast.
  14. Clean up after breakfast. The oldest loads the dishwasher. The middle puts away the leftovers and wipes counters. The youngest child puts away condiments and wipes off the table. Meanwhile, I start a load of laundry and prep for our morning read-aloud time. 
  15. Fill Hydro flasks and take vitamins.
  16. Brush teeth.
  17. Bathroom tidy. We live in an old plantation home with one bathroom in the country in Hawaii, so it needs to be cleaned often. My middle child wipes the bathroom counter. The oldest wipes the mirror (because a clean mirror makes the whole bathroom seem clean, even if it’s not) and my youngest empties the trash.
  18. Lastly, they give themselves a ticket. My teen thinks it a bit childish to still give himself tickets, but I tell him it’s for accountability. It lets me know he did it all and if he wants to play video games, well then, he has to fork out the means to “pay” for it. Muahahahaha.

No one is aimlessly wandering about or without purpose from 7:30 to 9:00 a.m. These little packets of guidance and goodness make our jobs easier and motherhood more enjoyable.

morning routines

The Ticket

The morning routines take about an hour and when finished, they give themselves a “ticket” (like I mentioned earlier, which is simply a piece of cardstock paper stored in our family contributions chart).

With tickets, they can earn items from our treasure box or redeem video game time (otherwise they don’t get to play games). Yup! That’s just how it works in our home.

And even the teenager finds goodies in the treasure box like

  • candy
  • playing cards
  • cool study pens
  • gum
  • app of choice (under a certain value)
  • pranks

In our home, video games are a privilege and I don’t mind making them work a little for them. When they do play games, which is not daily, the idea of using leverage excites me!  Don’t let your child grow up feeling entitled.

Bring it up a Notch with an Evening Routine

morning routines

Our evening routine consists of less tasks and doesn’t get done every day. Laminating the cards onto dark cardstock helps to distinguish them from the morning routine.

  1. Feed pets.
  2. Tidy livingroom and diningroom.
  3. Shower.
  4. Scan bathroom (I’m a huge advocate of “scanning” where they act like “robots” by initiating their “lasers” and scanning floor for wet towels, clothes, hair bands, wads of wet hair, toys, used band-aids or puddles).
  5. Quick tidy bedroom. I can now say that my two oldest do not like a messy room even though they definitely didn’t mind when they were younger. A tidy, organized space is something they create on their own. 
  6. Set the table. This is a good job for my youngest.

Establishing Morning Routines That Sticks

Morning routines can be hectic. But since it’s a daily thing for the next 80 plus years, let’s figure out a way to make it non-hectic. Then you can move on to the next stressful thing in your life and make that non-hectic too.

  1. Prepare the night before. This is why we tidy the house during our evening routines so we can wake up to a clean house. This is also why I try and stick to a meal plan so everyone knows what’s for breakfast and we most likely have the ingredients.
  2. Make sure everyone is getting enough sleep. Don’t let your kids talk you into letting them stay up later. You know best. Kids need much more sleep than adults do.
  3. Make it a routine to go to bed and get up at the same time every day, if possible. Set an alarm out of reach for you and your kids.
  4. Use Alexa or another household alarm, if possible, to keep daily alarms that keep everyone on track. Alexa goes off at 7:00 to wake the kids up and 8:55 to remind us that we have five minutes till school starts.
  5. Download my Magical Morning Routine guide and printable cards and stick them in a central location.
  6. Have a family meeting and communicate this new routine you’re bestowing upon them. Let them know your expectations. My printable guide (linked above) goes through all this stuff.
  7. If you’re in the habit of reminding your kids to do stuff, here’s where you work on breaking a bad habit. And if you find yourself also doing things for your kids because it’s faster, stop. Treat your child with dignity and if they are old enough to do the thing on their own, be patient, and let them.
  8. Keep the morning routine cards in a specific order and stress that they must complete them in order because they build on each other, in a way. Do the bedroom tasks first, then the common area tasks, then breakfast stuff, and then bathroom stuff.
  9. Be encouraging and calm. This routine is meant to be fairly pleasant. Don’t react to their disagreeable attitude if they have one. Make sure you don’t create a power struggle by having high expectations and a demanding attitude.
  10. Use the “when and then” approach. Find something your child looks forward to and then tell them, “When you’re done with your morning routine, then you may….” My guide goes into this too.
  11. PRO TIP: Get up before your kids do! I can’t express how important this is. Another lifetime ago, I got up with or even after my kids. I wasn’t focused on a plan or goals. Now that I get up hours before my kids, I can put on my own “oxygen mask” first so I can be more present and at peace when I put theirs on.

3-Step Action Plan for Intentional Parents

  1. Begin with the end in mind. Do you desire that your kids wake up with a morning routine that serves their bodies, hearts, and minds for the rest of their lives? Do you want them to learn time-management, discipline, and consistency while they’re young and set them up to be successful adults?
  2. Commit to making this a routine in all your lives. Set yourself up for success by making a plan, creating the cards, setting up rewards and consequences, if necessary, and following through.
  3. Don’t stop. Don’t give up. We all know how difficult it can be to set up a new routine. No one is used to it. People need reminders. They get frustrated and create power struggles. But it doesn’t need to and won’t stay like this. They’ll realize the blessing of a morning routine just as my two oldest do. It will become their new norm. I promise!

After sticking to our morning routine for over 5 years, my two oldest do their routine like clockwork and without resistance. It was worth the time and effort.

My youngest doesn’t get the benefits just yet, and I do have to remind him it’s a “morning routine” day and he will try and get out of it, but he’s on the right path.

Friend! Are you excited about instilling morning routines for you and your kids? Let me know how it goes! Tell me your thoughts. What works for you and doesn’t work? Leave your comments below. I’d love to hear from you.

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