8 Insanely Simple Tips To Make School Mornings Easier
My youngest child just graduated from high school, and I thought this was going to be the first Fall that I would not have to worry about getting a child up early and out the door on time for school. Wrong! Wrong! Wrong!
My daughter will start college this Fall as a commuter. She will have a 50-minute drive to school two days a week. Not bad! But she will have to leave at 6:30 a.m. for school (that’s bad) to dodge the morning traffic, get a decent parking space, and get to class on time.
Thankfully she (we) established a morning routine early in her elementary years to keep her on schedule and out the door on time EVERY morning for school. Hopefully, she will continue with her routine this Fall as she enters her College days.
Having a routine seems to make each morning flow smoother and allows you to embrace the mornings stress-free. Well, almost stress-free. I am human! 🙂 Yes, there have been mornings when I needed to “talk” just a little louder to emphasize the time and to keep her focused and on task. She gets that honest–My daughter and I are so easily distracted!! 🙂
Here are 8 Insanely Simple Tips To Make School Mornings Easier that have seemed to help her/us have a stress free morning and get out the door on time. And it looks like these tips are still going to carry on for her College days as well 🙂
Create a Morning Routine
This is important. Creating a morning routine or schedule is very helpful. If you have young children, use a chart to help them visually see the things they need to be doing to get ready. This helps them to stay on task and also holds them accountable and makes them more independent for getting themselves ready. I have made a chart for younger children. (Just fill in your email address below to receive your copy). Older children WON’T go for a checklist, but if you have already established morning routines early in their school days, those routines will be ingrained in their memory, and minimal prodding will be needed.
Teenagers feel the need to connect with social media ALL THE TIME–so, establishing a social media time in the morning may be necessary. For example, no social media until you are completely ready for school, everything is done, and you are sitting by the door ready to go. Social Media is a huge time suck, but it is so important to teens.
Pack Your Backpack the Night Before
This task is crucial. Don’t wait till morning to pack homework, signed papers, books, money, and so forth. You will forget something. Pack everything at night before going to bed.
This includes lunch money, snack, sports gear, practice clothes, and so forth. Don’t say-“I’ll just do it in the morning.” That will be the morning you are running behind, and you WILL forget something.
Put ALL of Your Items in the Same Place EVERYDAY
Seriously! Have a designated spot in your house for backpacks, lunch boxes, coats, shoes, keys, etc. This is mandatory. My children had a designated drop off and pick up place in the house every day for their school belongings. Every night–before bed– they would pack up books, papers, homework and whatever they needed for school the next day and put everything in that designated location.
This was mandatory, and they knew it had to be done before they could go to bed. Believe me, once you get them into the habit of doing this, things will run smoother in the mornings. There will be no hunting books, permission forms, or homework assignments on your way out the door.
Prepare and Prep for Lunches the Night Before
Go ahead and do whatever you can the night before. I know some moms get a head start on Sundays and bag up cookies, and chips for the week and set them aside. This makes prepping the night before a little easier and faster. If you need to cut up fruit, do it at night and put it in a container ready to pop into their lunch box, have their thermos washed, containers washed, and lunchboxes ready to be packed in the morning with the last items.
I have found that putting “lunch supply” items in a designated drawer in my refrigerator helps me to stay focused in the mornings when fixing lunches. This also gave/gives me a visual to see if I need more lunch meat, cheese, yogurt, or fruit before the next morning.
Get Up Before Your Children
Yes, get up and get yourself ready before your children get up. I found this to be necessary for my house for the mornings to run smoother. I also enjoyed the quietness of the morning. This would allow me time, once the children were up, to tend to their needs, fix lunches, pack snacks, prepare breakfast, and give guidance and nudges when needed. It also makes for a less stressful start to the day.
Eat something before school. Yes, I was undoubtedly guilty of shoving that bagel and juice box into the hands of my children on the way to the car. I am human–not perfect. In an ideal world, we would all sit down to breakfast, talk about the day ahead, and sing beautiful songs-but that didn’t happen in my house.
My children did have breakfast every morning, usually something on the go–scrambled egg sandwiches, muffins, bagels, yogurt, etc. and I will continue to have my daughter something for breakfast. And yes, more than likely, it will be on the go! I know she will be racing against the clock every morning to get ready and out the door and sitting down to breakfast is not on her morning checklist. But, she is in college, and she can eat on the way to school and also in between classes.
** TIP** If you have more than one child to get up and get ready, stagger the wake-up time. I found this to be helpful in sharing the bathroom. My daughter required more time to wash her face, brush her teeth, and do whatever… than my son did. So I made sure to wake her up earlier to get to the bathroom first. This cut down on worrying about who was “hogging” the bathroom.
Have Extra Items In Your Car
These items include money, rain jacket, umbrella, practice shorts, t-shirts, and socks.. I always kept– and still do keep– an emergency fund in my car. This is just a plastic bag with loose change and a few dollars. You know, when your child forgets to tell you the night before they need money to buy ice-cream at school during lunch, have an extra program at school that day, need to buy extra milk or a drink after school. Having an emergency fund seemed to come in handy on many mornings.
I also kept a bag in my trunk with extra shorts, t-shirts, and socks for those after school practices that we seemed to “forget” about until we were already in route to school.
Most importantly, stay calm. It does no one any good if mom flies off the handle and has a raging fit. Again, I speak from experience here. Even if your children are moving as slow as snails–stay calm. Take a deep breath. Believe me when I tell you your children will not move any faster no matter how crazy and loud you act. In fact, they may even stop what they are doing and watch the show you are putting on for them.
Some mornings may seem to feel more challenging than others, and that’s perfectly normal. Your goal is to get your children ready and out the door on time. By not yelling and nagging at them, you are helping them (and you) to have a stress free morning.
Focus on these simple routines, and they will help you to have a great start to every day.
If you have small children, I have made you a chart with morning routines for them to check off each morning. You can print it out for them to look at every morning and have a visual image to refer to and check off during the week. You might also turn it into a game for them to see how many checks they can get by the end of the week. Hey–just do whatever works! 🙂
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These tips are great. My mornings are always hectic. I have four kids ages 17, 11, 5, & 4. My 17 year old always hogs the bathroom so I have her get up earlier.
Yes, I have been there with my children and also growing up in a house with 4 sisters and 2 brothers.
All good tips – my fave of course – is be prepared the night before. Saves heaps of hassle in the mornings.!
Yes, this was absolutely necessary for my family. It saved us a lot of time in the mornings not having to hunt for our school stuff.
Staying calm is soooo importnat (and such a struggle for me). We homeschool, but a few times a week we have somewhere we need to be in the mornings. Making morning routine charts for the kids is something I want to work on for the kids this week.
Hope you have a fantastic school year!
My 4 yr old starts school in September so I really need this!!
So glad it was helpful!
When I was a kid, I always packed my backpack the night before. I was not a morning kiddo so it was nice not to have another thing to worry about. Great tips!
Great tips! I’m kind of nervous – it’ll be the first ever year that both my kids will be in school. So I’m preparing ahead to get ready for the chaotic mornings and running around.
You will be okay. Just prep at night and follow the tips as much as you can. You will find that establishing a routine will be helpful to them and you as well. Be sure to grab your free printable for your little ones.
Great tips! My oldest starts kindergarten next week. And she will be riding the bus which comes earlier than I expected. My kids are typically my alarm. They wake up early enough for me to get them ready for daycare and me for work. But with this early bus schedule, I will my routine and wake up before them. Thanks for these tips.
Yes, it will help to prep at night and get as much done as you possibly can. I hope she has a great kindergarten year!
These are all wonderful tips. I try to do each of them weekly and feel way more prepared and less stressed each morning, which is the goal! Thanks for sharing!
Thank you! Yes, being prepared for the next morning does help to cut down on stress.
Packing lunches the night before really helps. I always start doing it at the beginning of the year and then I get lazy by November. By March I am sending a piece of bread and an apple. Just kidding!
Love it! The thought of sending an apple and a slice of bread has crossed my mind a time or two. 🙂
My daughter starts pre-school next week so these tips came just in time! And thanks for the checklist- I just downloaded it from your resource library 🙂
Thank you so much! I hope it comes in handy this year!
These look like some great ideas! Having a routine is SO important!
Yes, having a routine is so important not only for my children, but for me as well.
Excellent thoughts! I love the idea of staggering wake up times! For the first time ever, this year I will have 4 kids to send to school! Yikes! For years, it was just my daughter. Then last year my foster daughter started pre-k, and now this year, 4 kids in school! There’s going to be a learning curve but these tips will definitely help!
Great post and tips, especially the stay calm and breathe! Having a plan or checklist are so important to keep you and the kids focused. I look back now that my sons are adults, and wonder how we survived all this. Thanks for sharing!
Great, helpful tips! I’m fortunate to have kids who get up early and ready on their own so I got lucky there. But, I do need to keep extra clothes, school supplies in the car because they always forget something. I love the emergency funds idea. My son is notorious for remembering he needs money for something at school as we’re walking to the bus stop. A few dollars in his backpack would be smart. Thanks for the ideas.
I have a Tween! So those ideas are so spot on. Social Media time, great push for them!
All wonderful tips. Keeping a routine is so important. I agree having it done the night before keeps is almost stress-free in the am.
These are great tips. Setting up things the night before made such a difference for us compared to our usual scrambling to find everything before rushing out the door.
Lovely list! The hardest (and probably most important) is staying calm, but it’s just so hard sometimes when the kiddos are just trying your patience!!! Thanks for the great list!
This is a great list of morning hacks!
I just started getting up earlier and it’s making such a difference!
Putting stuff in the car is a great idea!