Family Ministry Blog

Keep Calm & Morning On! - 6 Tips for Managing Messy Mornings

Trying to get kids fed, dressed, and out the door on time can feel nearly impossible. I used to struggle every morning, but now I have discovered a few simple strategies to feel more energized and encouraged rather than defeated and deflated. I hope they will help you too. Remember, a positive morning can set the tone for the rest of the day!

by Megan McGraw on September 19, 2022


Mornings can be super stressful. In fact, sometimes they are just the worst. 

Trying to get kids fed, dressed, and out the door on time can feel like climbing Mount Everest: not impossible . . . but almost. (Not to mention, it’s draining day after day.)

Like climbing Mount Everest, when you have almost reached the summit (in this case – getting out the door), kids have the uncanny ability to hit you with a surprise avalanche that takes out your path to the top.

I used to struggle nearly every morning. I felt like I was constantly barking orders while frantically trying to complete so many tasks simultaneously that I never did anything right. Frustrated and overwhelmed, I would be in tears by the time we were finally pulling out of the driveway.  

As parents, we get so bogged down by the tasks of the morning that we often lose sight of just how important this time of day is - not only for our children but also for us. 
 A positive morning can set the tone for the rest of the day. We can leave the house feeling supported, energized, and encouraged or defeated, deflated, and depressed. But here's the thing: With a few simple strategies, we can rock this time of day!

1.  Prepare yourself first.

Sleep is a precious commodity in these busy years of parenting, so taking time for yourself in the morning can be a bit tricky. But carving out even ten minutes for personal prayer time in the morning is so worth it. Set your alarm clock for a few minutes earlier than you have been and settle in with your Bible and a hot cup of coffee. Ask God to help you walk in his strength and not your own. Preparing your own heart first will help mornings feel a little less chaotic and you will begin to see the Fruit of the Spirit showing up all over the place.

2.  Don't forget about the night before.

After the hustle and bustle of a busy day, the last thing anyone wants is to prepare to do it all over again tomorrow. But whatever task (no matter how small) you can do the evening before will lighten your load and move you toward a tear-free morning. Set out the next day’s clothes to avoid lengthy delays in choosing an outfit; fill water bottles; ensure all homework and special items for the next day have made it into backpacks; and (ugh) pack those lunches. In fact, if you can muster the strength, working in some routine food prep on Sundays can be a game-changer. It doesn’t have to be fancy. Preparing fruits and veggies is a great place to start (pro tip: refrigerating them in mason jars really does make them last longer). Batch-cooking, freezer meals, and instant-pot recipes are also great tactics, but we’ll save those for another blog.

3.  Integrate a morning devotion.

There are many ways to fit Bible time into your morning routine. For my family, it has worked best during the drive to school. This isn’t something that requires a lot of planning or preparation; just make sure your children can play an active role. We take turns reading from a daily devotional for kids (don’t worry, I am not reading while driving); then, we have a quick discussion about what we read and wrap up with prayer. We are currently using Hope for Each Day – 365 Devotions for Kids by Billy Graham. Placing our focus on God’s Word encourages positive thoughts and propels us to positive actions.

4.  Remain calm.

Despite our best efforts, chaos and the occasional meltdown are bound to happen. If my child is having a particularly unfocused or defiant day, and if I raise my voice or get frazzled, they get more frazzled. Next thing you know the entire family is brewing an emotional avalanche that is threatening to knock us all off course. Our kids will take their lead from us and then amplify it, so no matter how exasperated I am feeling, I aim to remain cheerful and calm and hope my kids adjust their behavior to match it.

5.  When all else fails, dance it out.

But what do we do when all the positivity and cheerfulness in the world can’t seem to shake those morning blues?

We dance!

Sometimes my kids are in such a funk that initially I am the only one participating, but inevitably the temptation to move overcomes them and they join in the fun. We have made a playlist called “Funky Christian Beats,” and by the end of just a song or two we have wiggled out even the foulest of attitudes. What’s even better is that the lyrics are often a topic of discussion later, proving that what we have put into our minds in the morning has stuck with us throughout the day.

6.  Ask for help.

Finally, and maybe the hardest one on the list for me, is to ask for help. I frequently buzz through the day from task to task, checking things off my to-do list and ignoring the fact that I am completely exhausted. But eventually, the exhaustion catches up to me and I reach my breaking point. I have learned that I cannot expect my husband to read my mind (imagine that) and that I need to be very specific in my ask. If I just say, “I need help,” and then don’t get what I want, can I really be upset?

Clearly communicating our needs will not only get us the help we require but will also show our kids that it is okay to speak up when we are feeling overwhelmed and need support.

Getting Started

Starting with even just a few things from this list will begin to transform your mornings. Soon your routine will be second nature and you will finally summit that mountain and look forward to many brighter days ahead.  

The years at home with your children are so short. Making the best of them by intentionally pouring into their lives with biblical truth, godly example, and meaningful connection is time well spent and will reap great reward.  

So, go ahead and give yourself a high-five. Then collapse into bed and get ready to do it all over again, because this parenting thing is no joke.

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