If you’re reading this post, it’s likely you have two children under two years and you may be struggling with your morning routine. I have been there. I found that there are several steps, that now became habits, which make morning easier, more in order and more joyful! Follow our 10 habits to make morning routine easier with baby & toddler!
When my first daughter was born, my life turned upside down. I love routines and it bothered me so much that we could not establish a routine for good six months. Therefore, when my due date with baby #2 was getting close, I prayed that things start to feel normal as soon as possible. I knew our family should and will face many changes, but at the same time I wanted us to get used to new situation immediately.
Fast forward to my postpartum journey. Everything was going well when I had help from my husband and family, but I knew it will come that first time when I will stay alone with two kids. My daughter was 1 year and 9 months when her brother was born.
That first day seemed like my worst nightmare. I didn’t know how to meet my toddler’s and baby’s needs at the same time. I cried several times that day and anxiety really hit me. The next day was better, the day after even more better and so on.
I could sum up several of my mistakes in those first days of being mom to baby and toddler (two under two):
- I thought that my toddler shouldn’t experience any differences comparing to before she had a brother. With time I realized I was wrong. My toddler SHOULD learn that she is not the center of the world (in no bad way) and even if those changes feel hard in the beginning, it doesn’t mean they are bad and that we cannot overcome them and learn from them.
- I thought that at the same time I should be two moms: one who only has a baby and one who only has a toddler. Of course it was impossible. I learned that both my baby and toddler have a privilege: a toddler had all my attention when she was the only child, and even though a baby didn’t have as much attention as she did (simply because now there are 2 kids), he got a better, more confident mum with much more experience and knowledge.
- I thought that I should be able to keep up with my home in exactly same way as before. Since all other things and routines in our lives changed, it was clear that ways of housekeeping and homemaking will change too. I was putting too much pressure on myself and I know I needed to change something.
As time went by, I realized that there are several ways I can make our mornings easier and more joyful. I didn’t want to just “get things done” or live in that survival mode, I wanted to be content, joyful and make my family truly happy.
Here are my 10 habits that make our morning routine better with baby and toddler:
1. Wake up before the baby, or ideally, before both baby and toddler.
I only managed to wake up before both of them once, and I absolutely loved it. There was enough time to pour in myself so I could pour in my little ones. I read God’s Word, prayed and had my coffee. The reason I only did this once is either my toddler who wakes up the second I get out of the bed, either the lack of sleep during the night because of which I simply don’t have energy to wake up before everyone.
But I found out that waking up with my toddler before the baby can also be enough. When my daughter wakes up, I nurse baby and he continues to sleep for at least an hour. During that hour, I have just enough time to make everything I want so our morning isn’t all messy and chaos.
2. Make coffee, breakfast & get ready both yourself and a toddler for the day before the baby is up.
When my daughter and I wake up, I first make sure to change her diaper and get her dressed. Then I get dressed myself, brush my teeth and style my hair. Sometimes I put a little make up even if we’re staying home.
Then I make coffee for myself and breakfast for my daughter. It’s our special 1:1 time and opportunity to connect. I always try to give her undivided attention while her little baby brother is still sleeping.
3. No screens in the morning. This is our best habit for peaceful morning!
Most of the time we do not use screens at all, but several times my toddler turned on the TV by herself or took my phone. She didn’t even watch cartoons, but I noticed that she is very nervous when I take the phone or turn off the TV.
I also noticed she has hard time playing after any kind of screen. She would constantly ask for more TV, a phone or cartoons. Tantrums are also worse and harder to handle if the reason for them is any kind of screen.
4. Make chores that need to be done (and include toddler!).
This includes preparation for lunch or dinner, quick clean up and general tidying. I like to cut the vegetables or prepare the meat for lunch/dinner. Or, for example, cleaning after breakfast or pick up toys and put them in place. I also do a load of laundry almost every morning. This way I never get a big pile of laundry.
5. Pack a bag for park.
We go to the park almost every day in the morning, so I make sure there is all we might need in our bag – some clean diapers, water wipes, snacks, water, etc. We go to the park by car, so I make sure that everything is near the door so my hands are not even more fuller when we’re leaving the house.
6. When baby wakes up, pray together.
When baby brother wakes up, it’s snuggling time! Meanwhile, we pray together. We often sing Hymn of the Holy Spirit. My daughter usually can’t wait for her brother to wake up, and also, when he sees her, you can clearly see his enthusiasm and happiness. It’s such a blessing and I keep praying God that I never miss to be grateful for what I’m given.
7. Go outside when baby is about to have a first morning nap.
As soon as our baby brother is tired, we head to the park knowing that he will fall asleep in the car or in the park. That way I can play with my daughter or just sit on the bench watching her play.
When the baby was few weeks old, he would often sleep thru the entire time in the park, which was usually about two hours. Now that he is bigger, he wakes up and chills in the stroller or watches his sister playing.
8. Go back home when toddler is about to have nap.
If you’re lucky like I am, your toddler will fall asleep in the car and stay asleep while being transitioned to bed. This “hack” is lifesaving to me, because I still haven’t figured out how to put a toddler to sleep with a newborn awake. If you try it, let me know if it was successful! What surprised me even more is that she will fall asleep in the car even if her baby brother is crying (this happened once!).
9. When toddler is napping, try to rest.
For me, rest doesn’t include napping. Well, sometimes it does, but in most times it means to sit and relax, to gather my thoughts and quick pray. It means to stop and see where my day is going. Am I being present, am I grateful? Or am I just nervously getting things done in a day?
10. Prepare lunch while toddler is sleeping.
It doesn’t have to be anything complicated. I like to always have lunch ready when my daughter wakes up so I can dedicate to her more, and also because hungry toddler + potentially crying baby are not a good combination for preparing anything! That way I stay one step ahead.