Last Updated on March 20, 2018

Want an extra hour to get things done each day? Here’s a simple solution: get up before your children get up.

I can hear you groaning right now. And some of you are pairing your groaning with excuses: “But I can’t get up early, I’m barely surviving on the sleep I’m getting right now. The last thing I should be doing is getting less sleep.”

I’m not suggesting that you get up at 4 a.m. every day or that you scrimp on sleep. Instead, I want to challenge you to try going to bed 15-30 minutes earlier at night and getting up 15-30 minutes earlier in the morning.

What I’ve found is that if I get up when my children get up, I start my day off behind — and I can never seem to make it up. If, however, I get up even 15 minutes before my children, I seem to have an extra hour (or more!) in my day.

I use my quiet morning time to drink my coffee, read my Bible, pray, and plan my day. This helps me to mentally and spiritually prepare for the rigors of motherhood, and make a plan of attack for the day. Plus, I’ve found that a little bit of quiet before the day begins helps to improve my sanity and my overall mood during the day.

If I’m really ambitious and go to bed early the night before, I’m able to get up almost 2 hours before my children do. When that happens, I also have time to fit in a run on the treadmill, some blogging, and a shower. By the time my children wake up, I feel so far ahead that I’m almost unstoppable!

Getting up 2 hours before your children do might be completely out of the question in your season of life right now, but I dare you to try getting up at least 15-30 minutes earlier for the next three weeks. I can almost guarantee you’ll love the results.

And hey, if it doesn’t work for you, you can always go back to sleeping in again. 🙂


Image Credit under Creative Commons

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  1. I remember reading this and thought it was silly (mostly because the kids get up so early as it is), but you’re so right! A mere 15-30 minutes can really make or break a day – thanks!!

  2. For the past week, I’ve been getting up half an hour before the baby wakes up and it is AMAZING how it has changed my day. I splash cold water on my face, swish some mouthwash, and read the Bible before heading into the nursery to feed the baby. Then when the rest of the kids greet baby and me downstairs, we’re all ready to start the day. It’s amazing what a difference just 30 minutes makes!

  3. This is so true! I have noticed the same thing — that when I get up an hour or so before my daughter I am able to spend quality time with God and get refreshed for the day! I also feel like I am able to accomplish more during the day!

  4. This is so true and helpful. Although I can’t say that I do it every single day. I do manage getting up before my toddler most of the time at least by an hour give or take. It does make such a difference in being able to have your coffee, shower, reading, blogging, or whatever it is that you need to do in “me” time. It really does work, try it!

  5. I’m fortunate that my husband gets up with the kids and gives them their breakfast. So I have time to get up, shower and get ready before I have to face the kids! It really does help ease me into my day.

  6. I completely agree! It’s just finding the will power that hard lol. Not a morning person. Maybe I’ll ask for the Lord’s assistance because I would love to start each day with peace and quiet.

  7. It works for me! My kids are 2, 4 & 6 and when they wake up, they are busy. It’s nice to get started while they are still sleeping.

  8. A great idea! I love being the first person awake in the mornings.

  9. My kids (4 & 2) must stay in their rooms until 7am, unless they need the bathroom. (They look at books or do something quietly, if they wake up before then.) I usually get up about 6:15 & it makes a wonderful start on my day. Plus, when they do come busting out at 7, I am happy & eager to see them! A great post & as a born night owl, I will testify about how this has helped our mornings.

    1. Same here! I taught my girls (ages 7, 5, 4 and 2 – all in the same bedroom!) to recognize what a 7 looks like on the digital clock in their room. They aren’t to come out until the first number is a 7, unless of course they have to use the bathroom. I usually wake at about 6:15 too, and it’s soooo nice to know that even if the children wake up before 7am, I am still able to have that quiet time to do my devotions in the morning. (Although it’s not always “quiet” , with their room being right above mine!) 🙂

  10. I think you should mention that in order to do this, it’s nice if your children are sleeping through the night. (most of the time. excepting the occasional sickness and nightmares) As my children don’t sleep through the night until age 2, this is physically impossible for me to accomplish in this season of my life (I know you mentioned seasons but didn’t really elaborate)

    1. Oh yes! Totally bobbing my head in agreement. Thank you SO much for your comment! I was beginning to feel guilty and like I was a bad mommy.

      1. Me, too! My oldest did not sleep through the night until 18 months and now I have a 7 month old. I feel like I’m just trying to survive with sleep!

  11. I do always try to get up before my kids but it just doesn’t seem that they ever have a “regular” wake up time. My youngest two (4 and 6) can wake any time between 5:30 and 7:00 so while I always have high hopes sometimes I just have to stop what I’m doing and snuggle a whiny little guy that woke up too early.

    I do completely agree that accomplishing even a mini workout, doing devotions, sipping coffee, starting a load of laundry does revolutionize my day.

  12. You are so right. That is the best thing I learned to do when I had my first son 19 yrs ago. At first he would be my alarm clock and then I would be grumpy that I got woke up. When I started getting up an hour before him, reading my Bible, planning my day, it made a huge difference in my attitude. Now I have 5 and get up at 5 most days so I can have some quiet time and focus and even get some things done before everyone else starts getting up. It isn’t much, because some days my kids have to get up pretty early for early bird classes at teenagers, but still, a little time alone is great!

  13. I am going to try this. I’ve known about it for awhile, but really struggled when my baby wasn’t sleeping through the night – now everyone goes to sleep at 8 pm so I have no excuses :).

  14. I have the problem that my kids hear me get up and get up themselves, unfortunately.

    1. I have this problem, too. I’ve just given this up for now. It’s not worth making myself crazy over.

    2. Me too! It seems like whenever I’m awake early, my kids know somehow. So sometimes I stay in bed but grab a book or read my Bible or something incredibly quiet

  15. I too try to get up before my kids. I like to get up 1-1 1/2 hours before them but sometimes as you said even just 15-20 minutes early is enough. The days that I get up right before or with my kids are the most stress filled, don’t feel like I’ve gotten anything done days ever.

  16. Yes, I’m groaning, lol! I really really don’t like getting up before i absolutely HAVE to, but you are right about getting a lot done before the kids get up. When I am ambitious enough to get up a little bit earlier than they do I actually get a lot done during my day. Now if only I can continue to keep getting up before they do, then I would be unstoppable!!!

  17. I would normally so agree with you, and in fact I did it up until the last 6 months. However, it doesn’t work now that our son is now 2 1/2 and a light sleeper. We live in a super tiny rental house and there is actually not a door on his room. A curtain works well for light, but any noise we make in the AM and he’s wide awake, sometimes before he’s ready. And yes, we do put him back to bed if he wakes super early, but it’s usually not worth the extra 15-30 minutes to make him stay in his bed (and become crabby) if he’s ready to get up.
    We’ll hopefully be getting an accordian door that can open into his small 6×8 room this summer, or else when baby sister starts sleeping in with him he’ll just learn to sleep through noise. 🙂

  18. I’ve been sort of doing this as my baby gets up before everyone else to eat then goes back to sleep. Since it’s not enough time really to go back to bed I make and eat breakfast while doing my daily Bible reading. Not only do I actually get breakfast in I find that starting my day in God’s word puts my mind and heart in the right place. Thanks for the tip Crystal. I think you are spot on!

  19. Amen! I am rabidly defensive of my morning routine 🙂 Sleep is sometimes precious if there is a newborn baby but otherwise that hour or so in the AM before kids wake up is a sanity saver.

  20. I get up 2-3 hours before my children and on weekends when I don’t, I feel so behind, but I do try to relax then. It’s been my saving grace. I NEED that time alone. It’s my only saving grace.

  21. It IS true. I’ve only been getting up for my quiet time 30 minutes before, but it changes my day to have the time to pray for my kids and get my heart right for my day rather than a kid pulling me out of bed to make breakfast. Great encouragement.

  22. My daughters are 2 and 7 weeks and it is the thought of an uninterrupted shower that gets me out of bed in the morning. 🙂

  23. I couldn’t agree more! My morning time is my sacred time – the time when all is quiet and I can complete a ask without getting sidetracked or interrupted. I also find it helpful to do this with my TV viewing. Gives me back hours a week!