As a parent of constantly changing little folks, my schedule is constantly changing as well. Some nights we get basically uninterrupted sleep and others there’s a nightmare or two to battle. Some mornings we ease into our routines and others it’s like rousing a house full of tiny but ferocious monsters.

No matter your experience, with kids or without, one thing’s certain: We could all use a little bit of peace and tranquility as we transition into our days. This quick list of five morning ritual ideas is not intended to be yet another thing you’re not doing but a few ideas to get you set up for success.

(1) Write

Of course, the writer says this, but I’m not the only one.  I’ve been journaling in the morning for years, and I’ve got archives to show for it. This practice clears your head and helps set up your day or week.

Best-selling author Julie Cameron started a Morning Pages challenge, encouraging people to write three pages of stream-of-consciousness style writing each morning. While three may seem a bit overwhelming, starting with a few sentences or paragraphs won’t be too rough on you. Try doing this right as you get up, when the house is still quiet. House not quiet in the morning?  Do it after you get the kids off to school before you get too deep in your daily routine.

(2) Diffuse oils

It’s pretty difficult to miss the popularity of oils these days. I swear this is not just a fad and exists for a reason.  I have my desk set up right by my diffuser and then have another downstairs by the couch. Diffusing lavender and bergamot together is calming, while peppermint and orange is energizing.  The possibilities are endless and there’s nothing like starting your day with a little aromatherapy.

(3) Meditate

 Meditating for just five minutes can make a big difference in your day. Think about it — is there any portion of the day from the time you get up until the time you go to bed that you allow yourself to just be, to not think?

Taking just 5 minutes to clear your mind and set an intention can have a big impact on how you view whatever the day brings. No need to make it into a big spectacle — just find somewhere quiet to sit, preferably with your eyes closed. Set a timer and focus on your breathing. I swear by box breathing: Four counts in, hold for four, four counts out, hold for four, repeat. I also do my meditating at my desk right before I do my writing, while my diffuser is going. It’s the trifecta of morning boosts.

(4) Put your phone down

Resist! Sure, you’ve been sleeping seven or so hours but must you catch up on emails or social media first thing when you wake up? Checking your phone rushes your mind into waking and can easily set you up for stress about all that needs to be accomplished for the day. Maybe decide to check it once you’ve done some more calming activities and have allowed yourself some time to be disconnected.

(5) Engage with loved ones

The morning can bring a rush for work or school. Choose some time in the morning — over coffee and breakfast or on the way to school — to chat about the upcoming days. This can help your kids set their intentions.

Instead of having conversations revolving around directives and pleas to put on shoes, use this time to intentionally engage. Ask them what they hope for from their day or what they are most excited about. Encourage them to make good choices and have a great day at school and with their friends. You can do the same with the other important people in your lives. It may seem silly or forced at first but once genuine morning conversations become routine, you’ll be amazed by how much closer you feel to those in your family.

Give some of these a shot and get ready to watch your mornings — and days — be transformed.

Photo: Liz Logan

This story was written for CharlotteFive’s latest channel for parents in the QC, called QC Playground. Sign up for the weekly QC Playground newsletter here.