Have you ever seen a photo of smiling, well-groomed kids, sitting around a breakfast table with a stack of pancakes, fruit, and eggs? Mom is in an apron, hair and makeup done to perfection, dad is sipping on a cup of coffee, looking completely relaxed. Yeah—that’s not my family’s morning routine. It wasn’t us pre-COVID and it’s not us now.
Even though our schedule has been shaken up over and over again, it seems like on school mornings when I have to be ready for work, we end up yelling and rushing, and the kids’ and my nutrition often pays the price. But with a few tweaks, we all can streamline the experience and cut out a ton of stress. Here are 5 easy changes that will sweeten your mornings.
1. Grab a glass of milk.
My kids are getting to the age where they seem to eat all day. Last week, as I made breakfast, I poured them both a glass of milk and dropped in some chocolate. By the time breakfast was ready, the milk was gone and they were nearly full. On a day when you’ve got no time, a big glass of milk and a slice of peanut butter toast is a parenting win. Milk helps build lean muscles, maintain bone health, and yeah, keeps them fuller longer.
2. Make ahead.
I’m pretty sure God created the freezer for busy parents. Every time I make waffles or pancakes, I double the recipe and freeze the extras. Why not just use the stuff that’s already frozen, like Eggos? Sometimes I do. But I like to make healthier options by throwing in some protein powder or almond flour. Which means I can…
3. Sync the menu.
Too many parents spend time making a nutritious meal for the kids and just down a cup of coffee because they’re out of time. So make healthier versions of stuff kids love and you all can eat the same thing. A glass of milk and protein pancakes for all!
4. Theme your days.
Every Tuesday, when my kids ask what’s for dinner, I say, “What day is it?” I hold my breath, thinking they’re going to complain of Taco Tuesday overload, but nope. They like the routine, and of course, they like tacos. A morning routine is a total time and money saver. So assign a specific breakfast each day. Feel free to repeat favorites. All of these can either be made in advance or are super low-maintenance.
Monday – Overnight Oats (have the kids prep it on Sunday night)
Tuesday – Fruit, Milk and Yogurt Smoothie
Wednesday –Ham, Egg, and Cheese Muffins (freeze these bad boys and then pop ’em in the micro!)
Thursday – Yogurt Parfaits
Friday – Protein Pancakes
5. Assign tasks.
Many hands make light work. One kid gets to clear the breakfast table while another wipes up the syrup. Side note: Why is there always syrup? We didn’t even get the syrup out this morning! If they know what their assignment is for the day, all you have to do is say, “Finish eating and do your job!” Unless you have angelic kids, you might have to repeat this a couple of times. But at least they know what you expect them to do when they actually start moving.
BONUS Tip: I’ve noticed when the TV is on, things slow down and I have to tell my kids three or four times to get moving. So make breakfast a screen-free time.
What’s your favorite way to maintain a low-stress morning routine?