How to Get Ready in the Morning with Small Kids

by | Beauty & Self-Care, Mindset & Perspective, Self-Care Tips, Wardrobe Wisdom & Style Tips | 0 comments

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As mamas we probably all wish we could take a hot shower, shave, tend to our skin & nails, put on a great outfit, do our makeup, style our hair and leisurely sip a steaming mug of coffee before our babies even stir. 

But in my house that just doesn’t happen.

So with everything we have to do, how can mom find time to get ready? 

I’m so glad you asked! In fact, so many of you asked, we decided to bring you this post: 

How to Get Ready in the Morning When Your Kids are Little

Get up earlier. 

This is obvious but effective!  

If you need to hit the snooze button at least once, set the alarm 5 minutes earlier.  Think of it like paying yourself first. 

Your reward for rising early is “You Time” first thing in the morning!

Doesn’t that sound great?  I get to sip my coffee in peace (usually) and it totally sets the day! 

Everyone on the Frump Fighters team agrees… mama’s mood is SO much better when she’s got that quite margin in the morning before kids wake up.

Corina has shared in her mini course “Motivate & Activate” that she learned to cut off Netflix a little sooner at night so she could get those full 8 hours every night and still wake up early. SO. KEY!

But… but… but!

  • Maybe you’re just not ever gonna be a morning person
  • Or maybe you’re already an early rise
  • Or maybe your kids wake up the moment your hit feet the floor. Without. Fail. No matter WHAT time it is.

How else can you find time to get ready?

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Keep baby close by and toddlers occupied.

You might be wrestling with how to make time for yourself as a new mom, when little ones can’t be left unattended. Oh can we relate!!

Depending on what gear you have, there are lots of places to put your little one safely while you do your quick makeup and hair routine. 

At various ages you can keep your baby close by in a bassinet, Bumbo seat, swing, exersaucer, Mamaroo, or sitting up in a sturdy laundry basket with some toys (beware of tipping as baby gets older!).

My kids are almost one and almost three.  When I still need to get ready after they awake, baby goes in her exersaucer and big sis plays nearby. 

Because my routine is quick, their attention lasts so I can still get ready with small kids

This week I’m going to assemble a few Busy Bins/Busy Boxes (check Pinterest, so cool!).  I’ll stash one under my bathroom sink for when I need a few more minutes and my toddler needs something to do.


Time yourself and make a plan.  

How much time should you give yourself to get ready in the morning

Set that timer so you know how long it takes you! 

Stuff just gets done faster when there’s a deadline!

I’ve been timing myself this week and to shower, shave, do a 5 Minute Face like Corina’s, get dressed, and do a quick hairstyle takes me about 25-30 minutes when I time myself. 

Interestingly it took me about 35-40 minutes when I didn’t have the timer going. 

How can you make your morning routine faster? 

Here’s the trick – – you don’t have to do it all in the morning! 

Have a 5 minute face routine you can implement on those busy mom days!

My 5 minute face: BEFORE


Have a 5 minute face routine for those busy mom days. How to get ready when your kids are little!

My 5 minute face: AFTER

Move your shower time or skip it.

Especially if your kids wake up before or about the same time as you do, get into a routine of showering and shaving the night before. 

That alone can save 10-15 minutes! 

If night sweats, milky breasts, or an early morning workout mean you at least have to do a body rinse off first thing, no problem. That can be done very quickly (just wear a shower cap)! 

On mornings when I work out later in the day, I usually still do hair & makeup first thing and then shower from the neck down later after my workout. (If you want tips on looking and feeling good before and after a work-out this post has the best info!)

When you do want to wash and blow dry your hair, one tip I read recommends slinging it up in a microfiber towel to soak up a lot of the water while you do your makeup.  80% of your blow-drying time is spent removing the water from your hair, so using a towel this way can cut your drying time down a lot! 

Or, you can jump over to our post about how to style your hair when it’s wet and follow one of the wet hairstyle tutorials there.

Another option to try is to braid your hair the night before and see if that gets some extra texture the next morning for quicker, dry hairstyling.

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This is the quickest way I’ve figured out how to get ready in the morning. Even if you have a newborn and toddler, you can use these tips to find time to get dressed, do your makeup and hair. #momlife #fashion #tips #selfcare

Let your hair be dirty.

Skipping a hair wash in the morning can REALLY make your morning routine faster.

Not washing your hair saves a lot of time and you can actually train your hair to go longer between washes!

On the mornings you can’t wash your hair, use dry shampoo to keep it from appearing greasy. 

Hairstyles with lots of texture like beach waves, messy buns, and chunky pony tails actually work better on dirty hair!

Find 1-2 dirty hair go-to styles to rotate into your routine on mornings with less-than-squeaky-clean hair.  

Do your makeup on the go.

While it’s really nice to do your makeup alone in your bathroom, sometimes mamas have to get creative in order to get ready in the morning with small kids

Consider makeup to-go. 

Either keep your makeup supplies in a grabbable container or have travel-sized doubles of your most used products to take on the go so you can get ready wherever your kids are. 

Some examples are:

  • You could keep a small standing mirror in a kitchen drawer to pull out and do your makeup while the kids eat breakfast.
  • I’ve brought my makeup to my kids’ bathroom to do when my oldest wanted to play longer in the tub.
  • One mama I follow shared that she usually takes her makeup in the car and applies it in the carpool line.  

how to get ready in the morning with small kids

Sometimes, you might just plug in your straightener in your dining room and watch your kids play in the mirror while you finish your hair! 😉

Find your paired-down absolute bare minimum routine.

A minimum routine is a must-have!

You need a super quick routine you can do in your sleep – – or your yet-to-be-caffeinated morning state!  

How do you determine that minimum morning routine? 

Find the things that make the biggest difference for you both in how you look AND in how you feel.

“This about the 20% of your get-ready routine that makes 80% of an impact. Clothes are the first 40% of impact and it takes 2 minutes at most!” (source)

As an example, here is my Bare Minimum Morning Routine for summer:

  • Throw on shorts (these twill shorts from Old Navy are my FAVE!) and a front-tucked tee 
  • Brush teeth
  • Splash water on my face, pat almost dry
  • Smooth on SPF tinted moisturizer to even skin tone
  • Brush on bronzer 
  • Apply mascara
  • Do a quick parted pony-tail; use bobby pins to tuck in stray hairs – – sometimes I remember to add a patterned scrunchie which is super fun!
  • Pop in stud earrings


tips on how to get ready when your kiddos are small

My Bare Minimum: BEFORE


tips on how to get ready when your kiddos are small

  My bare minimum: AFTER

For me, the clothes, evened skin tone and mascara have the biggest impact. 

On these mornings I skip brows, eyeliner, lipstick, blush and a more complex hair style.  

So how do you get ready in 5 minutes in the morning?

This paired-down absolute bare minimum routine is the answer! 

I love this video Corina made that shows her 10 minute routine for getting her hair and makeup done – while in her dining room! Whatever makes your mom life a little easier and works for you!💪

Watch for time-wasters and add-ons.

Alright so let’s say you’ve really started to hone in on your morning routine and you’re committed to getting ready in the morning whether the kids are already up or not.  That’s awesome! 

But there are some things that can really sabotage our efforts to get ready in the morning in a quick, efficient way.


What should I wear?  How should I do my hair?

Deciding these things the night before can really help! 

The mornings where I don’t have a plan, I notice that 5 or 10 minutes – or more!! – can easily evaporate. 

Deciding your outfit while you brush your teeth for bed the night before or using our What-to-Wear Outfit Calendar (free preview here) can make all the difference in your morning routine the next day.

Searching for stuff

Now that you’ve decided what you’re wearing tomorrow morning, go ahead and lay out all needed clothes and accessories.

Lately my white shorts and a front-tucked tee have been my go-to summer outfit (this is thanks to Corina’s post on beating the heat!)

But alas, how much time has been wasted when I can’t find the nude undies to go underneath! 

Digging through the clean laundry basket is a definite time-waster.  As I dig, I feel my stress rise because I know my kids are going to need me any minute! 

Having my outfit laid out on the chair next to my bed—complete with the missing nude undies—saves me this time and stress. 

I’ll often even set my straightener and earrings on the bathroom counter too—anything I can to get ready faster in the morning.

Having to remove yesterday’s make-up

With both a 3yo and 1yo, most nights this mama is ready to hit the pillow when bedtime rolls around! 

Taking just a few minutes to completely remove my makeup, wash and moisturize my skin ALWAYS helps my morning routine the next day. 

When I don’t remove my makeup at night, I’m setting myself up for a harder morning routine because it is cakey and WAY harder to take off. 

Yep I tried it. And timed it. I was shocked that it took up almost 5 minutes of my morning routineAnd I wasn’t even wearing waterproof mascara!  No. Thank. You.

Starting with a fresh face makes such a difference!

Corina and many Frump Fighters love using a microfiber cloth to remove their makeup with JUST water! 

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Trying new things

I’m all about variety and getting out of style ruts, but Monday at 6:26 a.m. is probably not the time to try a brand new hairstyle. 

This is a morning for that quick, easy go-to style you’ve done a million times. 

For me it’s a smooth front messy bun.  Here are the steps: 

  • Swipe straightener through the front, sides, and crown of dry hair
  • Do a side part
  • Pull everything back in a bun with a hair tie
  • Secure with bobby pins, twisting sections around for that “messy bun” look
  • Loosen spots at the hair tie and bobby pin to lift for a bit a volume and to relax/soften the look 

Voila, my hair is done in about 4 minutes!

easy hair ideas for how to get ready when your kids are small

My go-to hair: BEFORE


easy hair ideas for how to get ready when your kids are small

My go-to hair: AFTER

Scrolling your phone

We all know how we can look at our phones and it’s like the clock just magically jumps forward 5 or 10 minutes. 

So unless you’re timing yourself to make your morning routine faster, make it a point NOT to look at that screen or jump on social media until you’re ready for the day. 

Instead, spend that time on yourself, mama! 

Get yourself fresh and feeling fine to tackle the day!

I hope this post has given you a few possible answers and ideas for how to get ready in the morning.

The bottom line is that you CAN make and take time to get ready. Even when you are a mom. You deserve it!

Having babies and young kids does not exclude us from getting fresh for the day.

Yes, it will likely look different from what your routine was when you didn’t have kids. 

But just because the kids got up before you got ready doesn’t mean the game is up for you

We may have to apply a lot of creativity to make a little bit of time stretch but it’s worth it!  

Have you found any tips in this list that would help you?
What’s your biggest “getting ready” struggle? 


Click here to leave your response.

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If you are struggling on how to make time for yourself as a new mom, look no further than this mom’s quick system on how she gets ready for her day. #momlife #outfits #fashiontips #style #easymakeup