How to Create a Morning Routine (That Lasts)

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How to create a healthy morning routine
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I’ll admit — I am not naturally a morning person and if I didn’t have a family to take care of, my morning routine would probably look something like this:

Wake up when I feel like it, shower (alone without kids asking for breakfast), take supplements, drink coffee, go for a walk, eat breakfast, then start working.

My current state in life doesn’t allow me to have such a leisurely morning routine. In fact, all those things tend to be an unspoken message to my children to come ask for something!

Tired of yelling to get your kids attention- try one of these

But because of this, a morning routine is incredibly important for a productive day. I sometimes get asked how I “do it all” (which is simple enough to answer, because I don’t) but making the most of the morning hours goes a long way toward a productive and relatively stress-free day.

A Realistic Morning Routine for Moms

Oh the ever-elusive morning routine … there are books about it and websites that sing its praises, and it always seems like such a great idea… until the alarm goes off. And while these tools are great, I felt like a more practical resource for moms like us was needed.

Most of the books and articles I’ve read about creating a morning routine talk about “thinking about what you need to get done that day” and “spending 30 minutes of quiet time meditation” or even “follow the exact same routine at the same time each day.”

Those are all well and good … unless you have a nursing baby, a potty-training toddler, an early morning dentist/doctor/vet appointment, or someone peed in his/her bed or spilled a gallon of maple syrup on the kitchen floor before you even woke up. (*Ahem.*)

Figuring Out Your Own Routine

I’m nowhere close to perfect at keeping a morning routine, but when I do, I definitely have a better day. Of course, our days vary quite a bit depending on scheduled activities and just by the nature of having young children around, but I’ve found that a 30-minute routine in the morning is doable if I plan ahead.

These are the factors that make the difference for me and I work everything else around these:

1. Get Up Before the Kids

To actually accomplish this routine, I find that I have to wake up before the kids by at least 30-45 minutes, which is easier said than done at times. Like I said, I’m not a morning person by nature and I don’t like getting up any earlier than I have to (aka, when the first child wakes up and asks for breakfast).

I am definitely a happier mom when I get some time to focus and have quiet before the hustle of the kids’ morning routine, and the early wake up is worth it.

2. Lemon Water

I’ve written before about the benefits of drinking lemon water in the morning, and how this can give you an energy boost, help promote good digestion and clear skin, and flush the body of waste that accumulated overnight. This water usually gives me a boost of energy and makes me less likely to want to head back to bed.

3. Pray, Journal, or Meditate in Natural Light

Focusing my thoughts through prayer, journaling, and meditation really helps me gain direction for my day and prepare for the chaos when the kids wake up. I’ve also tried the five minute journal in the morning and it is a quick way to journal effectively in a short amount of time while focusing on gratitude.

I try to do this outside in natural light if possible, or around a sun lamp (link to mine below). This was a tip from my doctor and the purpose is to help correct cortisol levels and balance the adrenals.

4. Exercise

Movement of some kind helps get the blood flowing. For me, this varies by day and may be as simple as stretching, rebounding, taking the dog for a walk, or may be sprints or swinging a kettlebell. It just depends on the day.

There are so many benefits to regular movement, and getting your blood flowing first thing helps you have more energy for the rest of the day. For me, this is the best time to workout before the kids wake up so I’m not dodging toddlers while trying to do a workout DVD or taking a parade of kids on a morning walk.

5. Shower

If I don’t shower before the kids wake up, it is usually a dry shampoo kind of day because there often isn’t time the rest of the day. When I do shower, I also dry brush before showering for an energy boost and softer skin.

6. My “Most Important Thing(s)”

Several books I’ve read have suggested figuring out the single most important task that must be done that day and writing it down so that you can tackle it first.

It is a great idea, but a single task was never realistic for me, so I always write my top three tasks for the day. Sometimes, they are as simple as finishing a few loads of laundry, or writing a blog post, but writing these down really helps them get done.

7. Breakfast

At this point, the kids are usually awake and I start preparing breakfast. I try to prepare something protein-rich that contains at least one vegetable. Check out my list of recipes if you need some healthy breakfast ideas.

How to Stay Motivated to Keep the Routine

I find it is often easier to “do it all” than to try to do some of it. It’s easier to have a schedule and clean the house, teach the kids, cook three meals, blog, work outside, and read a book all in one day than to only get one thing done and have everything else looming over me.

It’s the reason that baseball teams are more likely to hit when they’ve already been hitting, and athletes are more likely to win if they’ve already been winning.

Action breeds motivation, not the other way around.

The journey of a thousand miles does begin with a single step, but sometimes that first step (in any direction) is the most important.

An object in motion stays in motion (thanks Newton) and it is easier to adjust the course mid-step than to start moving in the first place.

Practical Application

So how do we apply this? How do we take the first step without waiting for another Monday? Pick baby steps and make them one at a time.

  • Don’t try to change your diet, lifestyle, and schedule completely overnight. That’s not practical and is completely overwhelming. Baby steps are key to preventing total mom burnout!
  • Decide on one baby step and start there. Drink lemon water, wake up a little earlier, quit drinking soda, walk for 15 minutes a day. Just make a small change and focus on that. To make sure it sticks, try tracking it with a habit app or in a journal. Once you’ve done that for a few weeks, introduce another small change.
  • If you find yourself procrastinating, ask yourself why? These anti-procrastination strategies can help you get to the cause and combat it.

Make a list of the changes you eventually want to implement and work backward to implement them.

Plan the Day

I’ve found that I’m much more efficient if I have a pre-planned schedule and checklist for each day. Creating a rough daily outline enables me to focus on those items that are most important and assign chores to the kids to help get everything accomplished that needs to be done for home management.

How I Manage Our Daily Routine

I keep all the information I need to run our household and stay healthy in one place. I have lists for cleaning, organization, major chores, etc. and I store all of this in the notes app on my phone for easy reference. While I used to keep everything on printed pages in a binder (which I termed “the football”), I now find myself using my iPhone to keep track of these items since I always have it with me, and especially for meal planning, which is so easy now!

In this binder/my phone I keep:

  • my daily outline & schedule
  • important tasks & top 3 things to accomplish
  • weekly routine of cleaning & other tasks
  • monthly items that occur once a month
  • meal plan for the week
  • my health journal
  • room cleaning checklists
  • daily chores

I recommend printing out a list of daily tasks and referring to it often (or keeping them organized on your phone for easy reference). Mine include: Daily Outline Sheet, Daily Chores Sheet, Weekly Routine Sheet, Monthly Routine Sheet, Meal Plan Sheet, and Room Cleaning Sheet, along with my daily “To-Do List” Sheet. (Get all of those printables here.)

What My Typical Day (Usually) Looks Like

As I mentioned earlier, my daily routine can vary from day to day, but it typically includes some of the following:

My Morning Routine

Around 7 a.m.: Wake up and drink a glass of warm water with lemon or salt. Take a swig of sesame oil or coconut oil for oil pulling. Dry brush skin and hop in to shower (or do a sauna session with the hubby if time allows before showering).

In shower: Still swishing for oil pulling. Oil cleansing on face, use homemade soap on skin and clay shampoo on hair.

Get out of shower, spit out oil, rinse with salt water, and brush teeth with remineralizing toothpaste. If needed, I also use a lotion bar on my skin. This is also when I make time to get some wave vibration and use my red light to get my lymphatic system functioning optimally.

If I don’t have time for a shower, I use homemade dry shampoo and DIY beach waves spray and throw on some homemade deodorant. Since almost everything is homemade, my bathroom counter is filled with glass jars filled with homemade products … not fancy, but it works. If you’d like to try some of the DIY beauty recipes I use, you can find them all here.

7:45ish: Then, I spend some time outside or in front of the 10,000 lux light while I pray/meditate and journal. (This doesn’t happen every day but it is really helpful when it does).

Family Morning Routine

8:00 a.m.: Family breakfast time! I try to cook a protein-rich breakfast (usually one of these recipes). We take most supplements at breakfast time, so I give these out too.

8:30-11:00 a.m.: Morning time includes exercise with the kids, school time, time outside for the vitamin D/barefoot time, etc. Also includes morning chores for all of us.

Afternoon Routine

Keeping a solid routine the rest of the day makes a morning routine possible. Our routine doesn’t end at noon …

12:00 p.m.: Lunch time is usually some form of salad with protein or leftovers from the night before.

1:00-4:00 p.m.: Afternoon is work time and time to get the house clean(ish), fold laundry, and play with kids. I also usually make any needed household supplies during this time or do regular kitchen jobs like brewing kombucha or water kefir, restocking my pantry order, etc.

Evening and Bedtime Routine

5:30 p.m.: Family dinner time. We try to eat early to give our bodies time to digest before the kids go to bed.

6:15 p.m.: Family time until the kids go to bed. We all do evening chores and bathe and get PJs on. About an hour before bed we dim the lights and start putting aways electronics to start winding down for sleep. Often, we take magnesium and drink herbal teas in the evening before bed. I also rub magnesium oil on kids (and my own) feet before bed to help improve sleep and take Probiotics before bed most nights.

8:00 p.m.: Kids go to bed. The husband and I get some time to talk, and I try a few nights a week at least to take some time for a little more self-care. I might take a bath for relaxation after the kids go to bed or do another red light therapy session to wind down.

Of course, this day just includes the health aspects and doesn’t include the running kids to activities, extra chores that need to be done, appointments, etc., but it gives the very basics I try to stick to daily. Most of these extra things happen in the afternoon window so they don’t interfere with our routine too much.

Read more about my approach to building a nighttime routine here.

Bottom Line: If At First You Don’t Succeed …

Try, try again!

With homeschooling and working from home, our routine allows us to get everything done with the least amount of stress. This exact routine won’t work for you, and it took me quite a while through different stages of kids to find what’s working now.

Hopefully these examples will be helpful in finding your own optimal morning routine. The important is to start experimenting and stick with what works for your situation and stage in life.

If you’re looking for a little extra help resetting or creating a routine that works for a family, the book A Mother’s Rule of Life has been extremely helpful to me in finding balance and sticking to a routine in all aspects of my life. I’ve found this book to be beneficial to all mothers for the organization and daily routine suggestions.

This article was medically reviewed by Dr. Sheila Kilbane, MD, a board-certified pediatrician, trained in integrative medicine. As always, this is not personal medical advice and we recommend that you talk with your doctor.

Do you have a morning routine? What does it look like?

How to create a healthy morning routine- for moms

Katie Wells Avatar

About Katie Wells

Katie Wells, CTNC, MCHC, Founder of Wellness Mama and Co-founder of Wellnesse, has a background in research, journalism, and nutrition. As a mom of six, she turned to research and took health into her own hands to find answers to her health problems. is the culmination of her thousands of hours of research and all posts are medically reviewed and verified by the Wellness Mama research team. Katie is also the author of the bestselling books The Wellness Mama Cookbook and The Wellness Mama 5-Step Lifestyle Detox.


38 responses to “How to Create a Morning Routine (That Lasts)”

  1. Wendy Rhodes Avatar
    Wendy Rhodes

    I had so many small details in my morning schedule that I would often find myself in the car on my way to work thinking, “I forgot to take XX supplement!” or “I forgot to put on earrings!” Those things weren’t so important in and of themselves, but overall it made me start my day feeling unorganized. The day I arrived at work and discovered I had forgotten to put on makeup was the last straw! I sat down and made a list (I love lists). I wrote down every detail of my morning routine from the time I get up until I leave the house, like a checklist. It took off a lot of stress, made me more organized, and made me feel like I was back in control. I no longer have to worry that something like my husband starting a conversation with me will interrupt my focus and make me forget to do something. Ahh.

  2. Alicia Avatar

    “The plans of the diligent surely lead to success, but all who are hasty surely head for poverty,” Proverbs 21:5. I liked the idea of just getting in motion. When we make plans we have something to aim for. Excellent tips for the busy Mom! Thanks!

  3. Debbie Engel Avatar
    Debbie Engel

    I have followed this routine for years – up early (exact time can change – as I get older, I wake up with the dawn and then as soon as it isn’t bright and sunny at 5:30, my husband’s alarm gets me at 6 am anyway – I feel much better when waking naturally, sigh.); change into exercise clothes & robe if cold outside; prayer time; exercise time; shower and dress after waking kids somewhere in there, hoping they stay awake! Then we eat, or at least kids do, and start our school day or break day! Oh, I did drink a warm lemon, green supplement, turmeric/ginger/salt/pepper mix for the LONGEST time and somehow quit that in May during our last vacation. A step to add back in… Night time routines are not my strong suit, but I have mornings pretty set in a way that works for me!

  4. Melissa O Avatar
    Melissa O

    I appreciate you so much Katie! Thank you for devoting your life to sharing your knowledge and experience!

    I so wish I could implement this routine! I am a shift worker, so mornings are rough for me. If I work until midnight, I’m not in bed until around 1 am. An early wake-up, before my daughter, is just not going to happen. I am going to be off for 3 weeks heading back into school, so I will definitely give it a go then. I just wish it could be truly sustainable for me.

    Thanks for the reminder about lemon water! I’m not a coffee drinker, but you reminded me how good I felt when lemon water was part of my routine. Time to get back to it!

  5. Valeria Avatar

    Thank you so much for your website. You have helped me so much and I really admire you. I just wanted to thank you for helping so much people and making this a better world <3

  6. Christina Avatar

    Do you homeschool everyone in just one or two hours a day? If so, how do you get all the lessons done? Do you have a homeschool routine?

  7. Denyce Avatar

    When do you actually cook breakfast? It looks like you start breakfast at 8:00 and finish eating at 8:30, so you must not be cooking it then. Do you do it the night before?

    1. Wellness Mama Avatar

      Often times breakfast is leftovers from the previous night’s dinner with some eggs, or a smoothie. This makes the breakfast process go super fast. Plus some of my kids are older now and can reheat food and cook eggs themselves – a win!

  8. Kate Avatar

    I feel like I just hit the “mother load”. I’m just starting out with homeschool and have a 5-year-old and a 2-year-old. I never had much of a routine before, but I’m finding it will be crucial, as the 5-year-old seems to need quite a bit more structure in his day than I ever have. I can’t wait to do some of the reading suggested and implement your general process of figuring out what will work for us! I had been feeling a bit daunted by the task before stumbling upon this. Many thanks!!

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