11 easy ways to simplify mornings with a toddler

Posted 03/08/2015 in Life with a toddler
Mornings at our house can range from totally laid back and chilled out, to chaotic and borderline insane. Which end of the spectrum each morning ends up on can depend on countless different things and there's just no way you can realistically control it all.            

Not all is lost though! By figuring out which things you DO have control over, and preparing those ahead of time as much as you can, you free up much more time in the mornings for the occasional unexpected bout of pure insanity.

I have thrown together a list of some of the things that I have found can help make mornings with a toddler go much smoother. If you dedicate a small amount of time to doing certain things in the evening (when the kids are sleeping), you will find that these tasks won't take as long and can make a world of difference the next morning.

1. Get your toddlers clothes ready for the next day.
By laying out their clothes the night before, you don't need to spend any time in the morning rummaging through drawers or laundry baskets looking for everything. Just get em up and get em dressed!

2. Get your own clothes ready for the next day.
Same goes for you - save more time for your morning cuppa by being able to get straight up and ready for the day without thinking about what clothes you will wear, and where they are.

3. Try out a make-ahead breakfast
Preparing breakfast the night before can save you a whole lot of time in the morning. There are plenty of tasty and nutritious options, such as these delicious Carrot Pineapple Overnight Oats, or this incredible veggie-packed Breakfast Loaf, which can be sliced and frozen ready for a quick reheat in the mornings. Planning on a simple cereal breakfast? Even just getting out cups, bowls and spoons ready to be quickly filled in the morning can make a difference if you have a flailing toddler underfoot.

4. Try to act relaxed and cheerful - even if you're not
Toddlers are very observant and will quickly pick up your mood. If they see you acting stressed or cranky they will probably follow suit.

5. Stock nappy/diaper bag
Don't rush around at the last minute before heading out the door trying to find that pack of wipes you swore was in the kitchen (but is now 100% emptied out on the coffee table). Pack wipes, nappies, spare clothes, sunscreen, rash creams, etc the night before so you can just pick up the bag on the way out and go.

6. Pack your handbag
Don't have a handbag? Get one! If you plan on going out the next day, quickly make sure your wallet, keys, glasses, or anything else you would normally take with you are already ready to go in your bag. It's probably a good idea to put this bag out of toddler-reach, or you may easily find yourself at the shops while your bank cards are safely nestled in the cutlery drawer at home.

7. Prepare a packed lunch
If you will be out through the day, plan ahead and prepare any snacks or meals you will need while you're out and about. Invest in a simple cooler bag / lunch box so it's all easy to grab and go. Fill your little one's drink bottle ahead of time as well.

8. Get up before your toddler does
If you have a toddler who wakes up at 5am every single day then this one may seem daunting, but even just 10 minutes to have a cuppa, a quiet breakfast, or simply use the bathroom by yourself can make a huge difference to your attitude for the rest of the morning.

9. Do a quick tidy up
Once your toddler goes to bed, you get your house back! You can sit a coffee cup down on the coffee table without fear that tiny hands will tip it out everywhere, you can pull out all your paperwork and spread it out on the kitchen table when doing schoolwork/paying bills/whatever else, and no one is going to annihilate it all in a fit of giggles. It's fantastic! But a huge tip to remember is that before you go to bed, do a quick sweep of the house and make sure you put it all back to it's former toddler-ready state for the next morning. This ensures that you won't be rushing about after your little one as soon as they get up taking cups off them, or quickly packing up the pens you forgot about before you end up with a nice scribble on the wall.

10. Take time to connect with your toddler
Rushing about in the morning getting ready and getting things done can leave your toddler thinking "what about me?" which quickly leads to some serious attention-getting behaviour. Take just a few minutes when your toddler gets up to talk to them, tell them a story, sing them a song, or play a short game so they don't feel left behind. This can make a huge difference to them, and gets them in a positive mood right from the start.

11. Sleep!
If you're like me, you wake up tired in the morning and swear that tonight is the night you are definitely gonna get to bed early and catch up on some sleep. But by the time your little ones go to bed in the evening you've got different ideas. On the one hand you're seriously tired, but on the other hand you're getting some time to yourself and are able to get things done. Ideally we should all be getting 8+ of sleep every night, but if you just can't manage that consistently (and since you're reading this, parent of small children, I bet you can't) then try to dedicate one or two nights a week to catching up on some serious sleep. You will feel brighter, healthier, and much more relaxed.

Do you have any helpful tips for taking some of the crazy out of mornings with a toddler? Share them with us in the comments below!




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