When You’re Not a “Morning Person”

Almost every book, article, blog post, etc. that I’ve ever seen for moms and especially homeschool moms recommends getting up early. These writers always have good reason for recommending this, sometimes even backed by Bible verses.

But what if you’re just not a morning person? What if you come alive at night and drag every morning? Is it hopeless?

when you're not a morning person

Spoiler alert: I am not a morning person. While I admire and respect people who bound out of bed every morning in the dark, I am not and probably will not ever be that person.

As it turns out, I’m OK with that. My husband is OK with that. And our kids? None of them are exactly bounding about in the mornings either. (Hooray! I hit the parenting jack-pot, I know.)

Still, even if we’re not “morning people” we have to, you know, get up and get going every day.

Advice for moms who are just not “Morning People”:

Use your nights wisely.

Use your evenings to work or relax, as you choose, but don’t fritter away the hours mindlessly.

Reading a book? Good use of evening hours. Mindlessly surfing the internet? Deserves a few minutes at best. (Unless you stumble on a good longform article, of course…)

Sharing a few pictures with far away family on social media? Probably good. Trying to correct everyone who’s wrong on the internet? Futile and absurd.

Make small changes.

If you’re used to staying up until midnight you will find it extremely difficult to go to bed at seven and nigh impossible to rise at five.

If you truly want to get up earlier, change your wakeup and bedtime in small increments. Fifteen to thirty minutes is probably do-able. Gradual change is the name of the game here.

Minimize decision making in the mornings.

Lay out your clothes the night before. Have a morning routine the kids can follow. Don’t turn on your phone until a specified time or chore list has been completed.

Have the breakfast options decided already. (And don’t forget to streamline your coffee routine! Get that caffeine into yourself as quickly and painlessly as possible, is my philosophy.)

Teach your children to be independent in the mornings.

Whatever this looks like for your family (in ours it meant teaching an early riser how to put on her own DVD to watch), be proactive about it.

Some kids will wake up and read. Some will not. You have to help children learn what is acceptable behavior when they wake up before Mom.

Children can be taught to dress themselves, get their own breakfasts, or even start their morning chores. Your children’s ages will, of course, dictate some of this. And children will have to be taught and trained these habits, which can be tiresome, but the payoff down the road makes it worth it.

simplify breakfastSimplify breakfast.

Let me just ease your guilt here: if you are not a morning person, then the kids will probably not be getting bacon and eggs and pancakes for breakfast. That’s OK.

Our family relies on cereal, oatmeal, toast, and frozen waffles or pancakes (whether purchased or homemade and then frozen). Why? Because most of our children can fix those for themselves. We have a couple kids who don’t love breakfast in the morning. They tend to depend on fresh fruit or yogurt (or both) to satisfy our “you need to eat something” requirement. (This “requirement” is enforced more strictly when we need to be somewhere like co-op or doctor appointments. It is relaxed if we’re just staying home all day.)

Side note: our family does actually love a big, hot, breakfast. We just eat it at night for supper instead of at o’dark thirty in the morning.

bible reading is soul careDon’t forget soul care.

Reading your Bible, praying, drinking a hot cup of tea or coffee, etc. These are not luxuries. Don’t fall into the “I slept too late and I can’t fit them in” trap. You can. Even if you’re getting a late start to your day, start it right.

If you don’t have time to read your Bible before your children wake, read it while they eat breakfast. I sit in my favorite chair and read while I supervise my kids’ breakfast time. Is it quiet, uninterrupted time? Not usually.

But it is good that they see that it’s a priority in my life. And sometimes I read a passage aloud to them, or tell them about what I’m reading.

It doesn’t replace quiet, uninterrupted study time. But it is valuable.

Not everyone has to be a Morning Person

There are reasons other than internal clocks, why mornings may not work best for your family. One or both spouses may work odd or swing shifts. Frequent travel. New babies. Summer light lasting late into the evenings.

Each family has its own unique strengths and challenges. Work with them!

In my own homeschool I have children who need to finish Math first thing or it won’t get done. And I have children who need Math to be after lunchtime so their minds have a chance to wake up. Why would I force either type of child to conform to the other?

what to do when you're not a morning person
Simplified Organization

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  1. i love being a morning person, the day lasts longer, it seems.

  2. Thank you for this post! I used to be a morning person, and now with a 3 year old and a 1 year old who are not good sleepers, there is no way that I’m getting up before I have to. I appreciated your tips–I’ll be using more of them as our kids get older!