Set down the latte and homemade hand soap, it’s time to talk about creating a practical routine (also known as a simple schedule).
Oh don’t worry, we won’t need to break out the black leather day-planner or the red pen. Schedules are designed to motivate, inspire, and give us that little kick to get going. And truthfully, without a good schedule in place it’s hard to get “everything” done, or at least the essentials. Keep the day-planner on your desk, we’re going get creative and organized!
I’m a schedule kind of person. If I have a schedule in front of me, dictating exactly how to spend my day or what to cook (no wonder I’m a meal plan junkie), then my days are productive. Well, except the laundry. I’m still looking for the magical motivator for that beast of a task. I’ll let you know when I find it.
With a written schedule (daily routine), life flows beautifully–simple and organized. Without a schedule, nothing but Pumpkin Spice Lattes and Downton Abbey occur in my 12 hours of daylight. There’s nothing wrong with classic drama and a good (okay, uh-amazing) cup of joe, but I also have tasks which must be accomplished to keep my family healthy, clean, and fed.
I wake extra early in the morning to accomplish my chores, starting with the garden, then the chickens, and finally ending my morning with a hearty breakfast and a chance to chat with to you. Clockwork!
Once the kids are awake, my morning goes from running seamlessly to pure crazy. My two year-old wants food immediately, while my four year-old wants to start his morning in solitude with a PBS show (introvert?). Suddenly I feel pulled in every direction and my mind can’t work, “What should we do first? How am I going to get these children ready for the day?”
Without a plan I simply can’t think and soon 8am turns into 11am, and I stand looking in the fridge with my meal plan wondering how I’ll ever get dinner on the table and still run errands and find time to play, clean, and sip that latte.
Depressing, right? Or maybe it’s just what we call the blessings of motherhood?
After creating a simple morning routine the early hours are cheery again and run like clockwork . Sure, we still have mornings that stretch on until 11am, but we have a plan in place. The kids and I know what must be done before starting our day and enjoying the beauty of life together.
How to Create a Stress-Free Morning Routine:
1. Brainstorm: On a quiet evening, after the kids went to bed, I sat down and brainstormed a few tasks which I wanted to accomplish in the morning. Here’s what I came up with: make the beds, get dressed, brush teeth, morning hugs, eat breakfast, and clean the dishes. To break down the tasks in a kid-friendly way, I created a card for each task. A simple, doable, and fun approach to completing the morning necessities.
2. Family PowWow: I called a short (like five minutes short) meeting with the family. Dustin and I shared each routine card with the kids and talked about each task. We talked about why each task was important.
3. Test Run: I created a board for the cards with hooks, so each card could easily flip over once the task is completed. For one week the kids and I practiced each task.
I showed Piper exactly how to find his clothes (stored in kid-friendly baskets at his level) and how to put homemade toothpaste on his toothbrush. Londyn (two) will need my help completing each task for some time, but she’s also enjoying the beauty of a schedule and knowing exactly what to do when she wakes up.
Today I’m sharing my morning routine cards with you, because I know I can’t be alone in my desire for mornings to flow in a more organized fashion. These cards are designed for toddlers and preschoolers and can be printed on card stock or laminated for everyday use. I’m excited for you to create your own morning routine. I’ll be sharing our evening routine with printable cards next week.
- Morning Routine Cards (printable)
- picture frame
- scrap book or construction paper (for the picture frame background)
- command hooks (where to buy)
- Print the morning cards on card stock or printer paper. Laminate if desired. Punch a whole in each card.
- Place the scrap book paper in the picture frame. Secure the paper in the frame.
- Peel and stick the hooks on the glass of the frame.
- Place one card on each hook.
- After your child completes each task, ask him/her to flip the card as a sign that the task has been completed.
If you’re interested in developing more routine in your life, I’ve written a 128 page book walking you the nitty gritty of how to plan, prepare, and eat real food. This book not only teaches you how to develop a schedule (routine) by planning and preparing meals, but also includes over 20 beautiful printables. You can learn more here.
More Planning Tips You May Like:
Planting a Real Food Garden & Planning Printable
Healthy Lunch-Packing Tips & Printable
We have been using your morning routine printable and project since you posted it. We love them and I get comments all the time about how pretty they are.
I noticed at the bottom of the post you planned to provide evening routine principles the following week. Am I missing those? Or are they still in the works?
Hey Danielle, I’m so glad you’re loving the cards. Here are the evening cards: https://livesimply.me/2014/10/28/create-stress-free-bedtime-routine-printable/
Hi! Is there any way to get additional cards? My elementary schooler loves these, but we really need to add in two cards including “Pack your bag” and “Fill your water bottle”… I have made my own to add in but they look awful with this pretty set 🙁 Any chance of getting these two for me to print and laminate? Thank you!
Hey Julie, I can ask my graphic designer. Custom cards would come at a cost (he charged me to make these), and I can ask how much.
Yay! I have been thinking I need to create something like this, but I don’t have the time 🙂 this was a lot easier. Thank you! I am so into your site, I love all the recipes I have tried and now I am discovering the wellness category, I have tried several very simply facial recipes and they have worked wonderfully.
My routine cards are not fitting in a 8×10 frame. Did you change the size of the pics after printing?
These are great! What size picture frame did you use?
Hey Kae, Thank you. It’s an 8×10 frame.
I love that you have included cuddles in both the morning and evening routines! It’s really nice to see that it is about teaching children to be kind and loving not just to focus on chores. I really love the simple imagery, definitely going to put some of these together x
Thank you, Bree! I’m so glad you like the morning routine cards!
Oh! I’ve been looking for nice images for such a system of my own, love these! I see in the comments you also have night time cards? Love to have those too, where can I find them?
Really like the card idea by the way. Most systems have magnets but they also ways seem to small for my taste. Definitely copying your way! Thanks!
Awesome, Lisette! I’m so glad you like the routine printable cards. The cards have been perfect for my kiddos. Here’s the bedtime routine cards: https://livesimply.me/2014/10/28/create-stress-free-bedtime-routine-printable/.
Do you have any more for like daily tasks? like clean up, homework, nap time, time to eat lunch/dinner etc? my so is special needs and i have yet to find a good set and i love the way yours look!
Hey Alicia, At the moment, the morning and evening routines are the only two printable options available. Maybe in the future we will create more.
Do you have separate sets of cards for each kid?
Hey Katlyn, Right now the kids use the same cards since they are both on the same schedule–my daughter will be coming to school in the morning to drop-off my son.