Got stuff to get done before the kids wake up? Here’s a sample 5am morning routine for moms, the pros and cons, etc.
There were times, when I had 5 kids 5 years old and under that I simply Did Not Have The Hours to get things done during the day.
Not because I was teaching them that fairies lived here and wanted to get it all done while they slept. But that I needed a few hours uninterrupted to do some stuff.
To carry out 5am morning routine in peace.
- work out
- read my Bible
- spend a few moments in silence
- take a shower
- have a coffee / Diet Coke / whatever my fave drink was at the time
So, as I’m a Routine Mentor for Moms (trademark, on to do list ha!) I know a thing or two about routines. The 5am being one of them.
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Here’s what we will cover in this post.
- Pros of getting up at 5am
- Cons of the early morning wake up
- Considerations for choosing the TIME you get up
- How to get kids to sleep later (to capitalize on this time!)
- Creating boundaries around kids not getting up early
- Organizing your mornings so you don’t waste them
- Avoiding the “now that I’ve started, I don’t want to stop” flow
- Troubleshooting the 5am wake up challenges
Pros for getting up at 5am before the kids wake up
Obviously, moms forever have been rising with the roosters (figuratively or not!) to get things done before the kidlets wake up.
- house is quiet
- nobody is underfoot
- you can concentrate on things that need quiet like work, prayer, reading, working out, etc.
- uninterrupted time when you’re not tired unlike in the evenings
- space to get things done without being interrupted
- alone time
- ability to concentrate on a task which minimizes guilt moms have when kids are awake
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Cons for the 5am morning routine
Even though this post is about the 5am wakeup, there are some considerations on whether or not it’s a good fit currently.
Remember, motherhood comes in seasons.
- you get less sleep
- you can get “in the zone” and then resent the kids for waking you up and spend the rest of the day wishing you were working again
- kids often sense you’re up and get up earlier (can cause early wake ups)
- hard to keep up if you’re in a busy tiring season which then causes guilt which brings on more stress (something the 5am morning routine is purposefully supposed to alleviate)
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Considerations for choosing the TIME you get up
If you’ve decided – RIGHT, that’s it! – I need to get up earlier than the kids, the next question is this.
What time should I aim to wake up?
First, ask yourself a few questions and go backwards.
What time do I normally wake up?
If you usually get up at 7:30 am and want a bit of peace, start at 6:30 am. Starting too early, like 5am, is a bit like going from 0 exercise to marathon plans. You simply won’t keep it up because it’s too daunting.
What time do my kids wake up?
This is perhaps arguably the most important factor. If your kids get up at 7am then you know what time your morning routine will end. So you start with their average time, and go back from that.
What do I actually need to do during this 5am mom power hour?
If you just want some space, some quiet, and some peace, an hour might be enough. If you just want to read your Bible and pray and get a coffee, 30 minutes may suffice.
That said, if you have to work, want to work out, and still need more time, then you may want to have an hour minimum. Without being too Pie In The Sky, decide what you really want to happen.
How to get kids to sleep later (to capitalize on this time!)
For sure you will be Highly Annoyed if you get up at 5 am for your routine and the kids then wake up at 5:30 am and now you’re ALL UP and you didn’t get your time.
Boy howdy, that’ll burn.
Here are some strategies to get the kids sleeping later:
- white noise
- blackout blinds (these are super popular)
- age-appropriate bedtime so they don’t wake up (from overtiredness)
Creating boundaries around kids not getting up early
So now you’ve decided you’re getting up early. You’re in the groove with it, praise be. And then the kids start getting wind of this new development.
Maybe they wake early once and you let it be.
Maybe you even feed them – bless, you took a wrong turn here, but okay.
And now you want to make sure they don’t get up early just because you are. Because that defeats the purpose of getting up early. Here are some boundaries.
- Get kids wake-up clocks
- Create a time that it’s okay to “come out” of their rooms, then communicate it (depending on kids’ ages)
- If your toddler or preschooler comes out, take them back to their room to quietly play. This is easy to do when you have a wake-up clock above so your child can visualize red to green.
- Create a Breakfast Time the kids can recognize.
- Don’t test them. If your kids normally wake at 6 am, don’t expect them to sleep until 7 am.
These 3 nighttime habits (good for moms with toddlers up to teens) will set you up for smooth-sailing success in the mornings!
Organizing your mornings so you don’t waste them
This is a big one.
Whether it’s a morning routine, an evening routine, or a basic self-care routine. You’ve gotta know what you’re going to do. And have the pieces of it all there so you can dive right in.
- Create a basket in your area. If you are doing devotions, reading, etc. keep it together.
- Go to the same place every morning for your routine. A nice chair, on the couch, kitchen table, a prayer closet, etc.
- Have all your coffee or hot drink stuff ready so you don’t have to bang around and make noise.
- Make things ready so you aren’t stomping around making noise. Choose a quiet place where keyboard banging (my keyboard is very loud which I like) doesn’t wake up little ears.
Avoiding the “now that I’ve started, I don’t want to stop” flow
This was massive for me when I got up early with the kids.
I’d start work, get into a groove, and then be So Annoyed when they woke up. I didn’t want to stop working because I was in Deep Work. If you can shut work down easily, then I wouldn’t worry about this.
If you struggle with this, then choose what tasks you will do purposefully, set bite-sized chunk goals, and stop a bit before the kids are likely to wake up.
Stopping 10 minutes before they’re due to wake will help you reset.
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5 am Morning Routine Example
Alana Fincham wrote in with her routine and it goes like this.
5:00 – Wake up, get dressed, do makeup, do hair
5:20 – Time on the phone catching up, etc.
5:30 – Go to kitchen to prepare breakfast for myself and my 6-year-old, cut up fruit for him to have in the fridge to have with dinner, put spoons, yogurt, water, get mine and his vitamins out. Make my coffee in the Keurig.
Son gets up anywhere between quarter after 5:00 and 6:00… His alarm is set for 6:00… If he gets up early I tell him to go in his room and play so I can do my stuff.
6:00 – get him up and eat breakfast
6:15 – do the dishes
6:30 – brush teeth time and tell son to get dressed
After I brush my teeth, and print a little bit more… I put the lunches together that were made the night before, heat up my coffee for the thermos and into the nap sacks…
7:05 – Out the door to get to school.
Give it a whirl!
If you’re in the fence, give it a whirl. But give it a couple of weeks before you call it a miss :)
R A says
Thank you for this! I have literally been trying to make this happen for about 2 months. No 3 :'( Because now I have no. 2, I find it harder to focus on work at night like I used to. I thought wake up early and get fitter would make everything better. My issue is that every time I’ve tried, I’ve either overslept due to prior sleep deprivation, or my 19 month old who is teething has woken up soon after/even before anyway. I then got no work done cos I lost the morning and had not worked at night, plus I actually slept v little as I found it hard to go to sleep the night before from worrying about not having worked. It all got too much and I had given up literally this week but then saw your post and wondered if I should retry. I am curious why you say give it two weeks, is that how long it takes to adjust? What do I do in my situation in your view? Many thanks for your always helpful advice.
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