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Morning Routine that can be Green!

5 Mins read

Raise your hand if you find mornings stressful. In my mind’s eye I see a sea of hands go up.

Mornings can feel like a chaotic nightmare when you have kids. Most parents can testify to this. From the moment the alarm sounds, to the moment you are ready to leave the house, you feel like you are running around like a headless chicken.

Getting your family up, dressed, and fed can be so much more complicated than it sounds.

Pre-children you had a fantasy of feeding your angelic children healthy foods and while you read their favourite books to them in the morning before school. Maybe you sipped a cup of coffee and ate a leisurely breakfast. Ha!

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The reality looks very different: The porridge burnt on the stove, while you turned to deal with that, your toddler got hold of your lip stick and painted the walls red. Your other child asked you to cut up their toast, and then had a meltdown because they’d changed their mind but couldn’t magic the bread pieces back together. Your pet started howling because it needed to go outside, and it turned out that the lunchboxes you needed to pack were still in the school bags from the day before.

Running behind schedule has become the norm, your children moving at snail’s pace as you hurry them along. At the very last minute someone said they were meant to bring their library books to school today.

It’s enough to make you want to tear your hair out, and run out the front door shrieking at the top of your lungs.

The good news is there are a few simple things you can put into place to create a calmer morning routine that will benefit the whole family. On top of that, it can be healthy for the planet too, if you play it right.

And I’m here to show you how.
  1. The key to a good morning starts the evening before. Go to bed 30-60 minutes earlier the night before. Getting just a bit more rest will help you feel less tired in the morning. If this feels hard to do, avoid the blue light from screens just before bed, and drink a caffeine-free sleepy tea. Do some deep breathing or meditating so you can feel relaxed before bed time. Some people find that writing down all their worries before bedtime, helps them go to bed clear headed so they don’t have all those thoughts running around in their heads.
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  1. Set the alarm at least 20 minutes before anyone else wakes up. Having some time to yourself before the others rise will help to keep you sane. In this time do something that will start your day positively. Some people like to meditate for 10 minutes, or dance and sing in the shower. You could journal about the 5 things you are most grateful for or set some intentions for the day. Find what works for you. Maybe it’s just sipping a peaceful cup of coffee in a nature driven environment. Soak in the beauty of your garden.
  • Pro-tip: Every minute is precious when you’re in a rush. Skip purchasing that morning coffee from a cafe, and SHIFT to an eco-friendly option at home like Must Espresso’s coffee capsules for your machine. They make fair trade, organic and compostable coffee capsules for a guilt free option that’s friendly for the planet. Well, that is of course if you’re unable to pitch time to brewing your own loose coffee
  1. Wake up the others in good time so they have time to get ready. Some breakfasts can be made the night before, such as overnight oats or chia pudding. This will save time in the morning. You could even set the table the night before. And as for tiffins, avoid those packaged meals for your babies and the planet’s sake! Just set up a tiffin menu a week before, so you know what goes in exactly and you don’t have to rack your brain for this one mid-week.
  • Pro-tip: If you want to make breakfast extra environmentally friendly, shift to a plant based milk rather than cows milk, as live stock contributes to climate change in several ways. There are lots of tasty ones. I like oat milk as it already has a sort of “cereal-ish flavour.” Or at least, SHIFT to brands offering fresh milk in returnable glass bottles. 
  1. Feed the baby. If you have a toddler and you’re feeding them breakfast it can be messy business with food all over the floor sometimes. Make sure they have a bib on. Keep an extra to hand – the same thing goes for spoons, as they have a tendency to end up missing. To avoid power struggles give your infant one spoon so they can feel involved while you feed them with the other spoon. The less time spent on drama, like who get’s to hold the spoon, the better!
  • Pro-tip: Get eco-friendly bowls and spoons so you know you’re helping the environment and also your child’s health at the same time. Avoiding plastics can be beneficial for so many reasons. And then there’s the silicon bib with a pocket! Eco-friendly and no need to tediously wash that cloth bib anymore. 
  1. Get the children dressed in the clothes that they laid out the night before. This saves time and will drastically reduce your stress levels in the morning. I can’t guarantee a sock or shoe won’t go missing, but at least this reduces the chances of that happening!
  1. Make tooth bushing fun, and not something your kids hate. Make up a tooth brushing song, Switch to a bamboo toothbrush that they get to choose for themselves. Better for the environment by reducing all that extra plastic waste, and fun for them to feel “grown up” enough to choose their own. Find a tooth paste that consists of natural ingredients that is SLS free. Or try tooth paste tablets as a fun alternative – again a better choice for the environment. Win-win for everyone.
  1. Pack bags the night before. Depending on your child’s age, either help them or empower them to pack their own bag the night before. Nothing other than their lunchbox needs to go into the bag in the morning and can all be prepared ahead of time.
  1. Have rewards. Some parents find that by setting a timer and giving the children one task to concentrate on at a time (eg, 15 minutes to eat breakfast, 3 minutes to brush their teeth etc.) that the children can focus better and are less likely to get distracted. If they finish ahead of time they could get a reward, like sticker, or get to read their favourite book or play for 5-10 minutes before they need to leave or start virtual school. You can even begin to add some eco-friendly rewards, for when they think of ideas that are better for the planet. It can include upcycling crafts, mindful purchasing, and waste disposal & cleanup activities. 

Hopefully with this 8 point plan you’ll find yourself less stressed in the mornings and less likely to shout at your kids or silently imagining strangling them because you’ve asked them 500 times to put on their shoes.

These are all little SHIFTS we can make to have a happier morning, and a more environmentally friendly start to the day!

Camilla Gammelgaard-Baker is Parenting Coach and Psychodynamic Counsellor working with clients all over the world. With a background in psychology and with 20+ years experience of working with families, she is known for her work with Mothers to overcome self-doubt and burn-out. She currently lives a very eco-friendly life in Denmark with her husband, son, cat and dog.

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