In the introduction to our upcoming book we make the point that there’s no one right way to start the day, and that you can form a morning routine that works for you even if you’re not a morning person, you’re a parent of young children, or you have a demanding full-time job… or all three!
After the first six months of starting My Morning Routine way back in 2012, it started to gnaw at us that we, for the most part, hadn’t been featuring the morning routines of parents. This wasn’t a conscious choice on our part, it simply hadn’t happened. It was an oversight, and we went out of our way to contact as many parents of young kids as we could to gain an understanding of how they spend their day. And you know what we found? They’re some of the most impressive people we’ve ever been fortunate enough to feature.
When it came time to write our book we knew that it would be important to give parents of young kids a say in how they build their mornings both around their kids and themselves, in order to make the most of the time available. Based on our research and one-on-one interviews with many participants about how they keep up a semblance of a morning routine with an army of kids in tow, let’s explore our three quick tips on how parents of young kids can get started with a morning routine:
Wake Up Before Your Kids
This is the most commonly cited technique given to us by busy parents who have to take care of young kids in the morning but still want to find some time for themselves, their work, or simply to level the playing field (or pile of washing up) before all hell breaks loose.
Author and special correspondent for Vanity Fair, Nick Bilton, described to us in our book a typical morning soon after his two kids wake up:
“It’s a whirlwind of protecting the dog from the toddler, the baby from the dog, the toddler from himself, making breakfast, drinking several cups of coffee, and chasing my son as he runs around the house and yard in circles screaming like he’s in the ring at a WWF tournament.”
Try to get up before your kids to protect from this being the first thing you have to deal with upon waking up. This isn’t easy, especially when it feels like you’re having to choose between getting some time to yourself and getting the sleep you need, but sometimes, time to yourself has to win out.
Keep Your Eyes Up, Phone Down
Make it a house rule that you cannot check your phone, or other devices, in the morning when your kids can see you (if you have to check your phone briefly, do so behind closed doors).
We didn’t grow up with our parents constantly staring at bright, lit up rectangles that they held onto with diamond-forming force at all times, so it’s hard for us to truly appreciate how disheartening it can be for kids to, from time to time, feel like they’re second best to a meld of metal and glass. And sure, maybe they don’t feel this way, but that seems unlikely. So for now, just make a point to keep your eyes up, phone down (ideally away from you, or in your pocket) as much as possible around your kids in the morning.
In our book we speak with Twitter co-founder Biz Stone on why it’s so important that he gets a chance to play with his son in the morning before he heads out to work. As Biz put it, “It’s such a joy to wake up and be in the mindset of a five-year-old before transitioning into the mode of executive.”
Your time as a parent of young kids is temporary. Make the most of all of these moments (even the challenging ones!) while they’re around, and remember that once they’re more self-sufficient (or indeed, have left home), you can return to a more you-focused morning routine.
For a break-down of our tips for how parents of young kids can make the most of their mornings, pre-order My Morning Routine (Portfolio/Penguin) today!