How We Changed Our Morning Routine



My daughter is in a constant state of motion. This is not a new thing for her. It actually started from the minute she was conceived. While I was pregnant I never had to do kick counts, as she was ALWAYS moving in my tummy. After she was born, things were no different. She has never slept well (probably still doesn’t really sleep through the night,but she’s old enough not to come in and wake me up now, so that’s a plus.) She has always been up before the crack of dawn too. We had to tell her that she couldn’t get out of her room for the day until SIX A.M.! Yes, 6:00 a.m.

Now that you have the background, I’ll share that we took her to a counselor recently. We didn’t do this because of anything really in particular, we just felt that she was crying a little too much for her age, about not getting her way, and things like that. We just wanted to try and give her some tools to better control how she was feeling.

As we were talking to the counselor, she asked us what we were doing to help with Maddie’s ADHD. Not that I hadn’t suspected prior that she could have ADHD, but the counselor didn’t even ASK if she had it, it was stated as a fact. Having a name and an explanation for the way my daughter behaved made all the difference in the world. It was like the day I found out she needed glasses. Suddenly so many of the things she did made sense, like when she was about 14 months old, and I took her to a play date with several other kids. All them were fine sitting and listening to the songs and clapping along, but my daughter was off and running. I called my sister crying, thinking what a horrible mother I was since I couldn’t get my kid to do the things all the other kids were doing.

The other thing the counselor asked was what kind of exercise Maddie was getting, and what was she eating for breakfast. She informed us that carbs can really get an ADHD mind racing, and aggravate her symptoms.

What was she eating in the mornings? Her favorite breakfast was a bagel, or cereal, or waffles, or carbs upon carbs upon carbs. It was easy for me to whip up a bowl of cereal or make her a bagel. I would wake up at about 7 a.m., get her breakfast and ready for school, and leave at about 7:40 a.m. to take her to school. Since I work at 8:00 AM (from home), I wouldn’t end up taking a shower until my lunch break.

I made a decision that we needed to change up the morning routine to get her mind ready for the school day, and not overly excited, so she could pay attention more in school. At this time I also decided that both Maddie and I needed to get more exercise. So, I set my alarm for 5:15, and was ready to change up our morning routine. Now this is what happens…

5:15 AM – Wake up, read scriptures, say prayers

5:45 AM – My regular workout (including some High Intensity Interval Training)

6:45 AM – Maddie joins me for a lower intensity workout

7:00 AM – Make breakfast for Maddie which consists of Eggs, Bacon, and Fruit

7:15 AM – Maddie does her checklist, while I take a shower

7:40 AM – Off to school

8:00 AM – I start work

Now that we’ve changed up our morning routine, both of us are ready for the day! Her teacher has informed us that her behavior in class has very much improved. She’s always been super smart, and reads well above her age level, but her behavior in class could be disruptive to the other kids. Now that we’ve changed her breakfast to something that is more healthy for her ADHD symptoms and we are getting some of that excess energy out first thing in the morning, she is able to concentrate in school much more easily. These simple changes we made have made all the difference in the world!

This post is part of BlogHer’s Rush Hour Tips editorial series, made possible by Got Milk?


About the author

Sarah Kimmel

Sarah Kimmel, the Organized Mom

Find out more on Sarah's Google Profile.


  • wow this is REALLY interesting. I have a VERY high energy 11 m/o. She already has temper tantrums. She doesn’t sleep through the night. She is incredibly difficult to put to sleep even. She is very active, racing around all the time. I feel the same way you described, all the other kids sit nicely in the nursery and at the library..while my kid is grabbing all the other children (and scaring them away), and running circles around them.

    My husband has ADHD (or had, not so much anymore as a grown man). I do wonder if my daughter has ADHD, so this helps…perhaps I can somehow adapt this for a toddler.

  • My daughter has always been a ball of energy. Getting her to bed was a challenge. In kindergarten we found she had ADHD and at the advice of a friend, we took her off all dairy products. It helped with her attention span and being able to settle down and go to sleep at night. At the beginning of 3rd grade we found out she was allergic to her cat, our dogs,milk,wheat, yeast,pork and tuna.Allergies can cause hyperactivity. So I suggest allergy testing for kids with ADHD or ADD. Eliminating foods they love is hard once they’ve eaten them for years but we are working on it. She still takes meds for ADHD but the mood swings, crying fits and her ability to fall asleep at night have been so much better with the food changes we have made due to allergies. ( and finding new homes for the pets.)

  • My son is also VERY energetic. I don’t believe it is ADHD in his case. But I love the things you are doing with Maddie and I think I will begin using some (or maybe even all) of your ideas with him.

  • Hi Sarah,

    I think this is great! I have written a book on toddlers and ADHD and discus morning routines and food that helps the brain focus, whether a kid has ADHD or not. Great job adjusting the structure to meet the needs of your child!

    -Donna Mac-

Leave a Comment