Back to School Morning Routine Tips
Since August is about making the most of back-to-school for moms, I’m sharing some tips on having a smoother back to school morning routine and maybe even avoiding some extra stress. School starts in less than 2 weeks for us. We’re thinking through our routine and any changes we need to make, with the first day of Kindergarten quickly approaching. I might add that our older son is super excited to be going to the “big school” as he describes it.
I’ve mentioned before that our boys are up at the crack of dawn pretty much every day, so I’m not concerned about getting the boys up. My focus is more on moving us all toward being ready early enough to get us out the door by 7:15/7:20 and at school by 7:30/7:35. Some days getting two young boys out of the house feels like I’m herding cats, so I’m trying to avoid that feeling EVERY morning. I know at least some moms can relate to this feeling.
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Over the long-term we’ll get into the morning rhythm and make adjustments in the short-term. That’s how moms do it, right? Our struggle is that once the boys eat breakfast, they have had time to play before we head out. We won’t have that play time anymore to make it to Kindergarten on time. And I will constantly have to remind them of that fact. Hopefully, this will avoid the morning mess with toys, which I won’t miss. That morning mess is one of the things I have really struggled with this summer. When you work from home and areas are messy that you see all day, it can be distracting, at least for me.
These are some of the things that have worked for us during the school year and/or during summer camps:
To help with mornings, do as much the night before as possible:
- Lay out clothes night before – both of our boys now have opinions on what they wear, so they lay out what they’ll wear the night before and I can provide input if necessary (e.g., picture day or it’s going to be 100 degrees, so no long sleeve shirts, no matter how cute or fun)
- Get backpacks or baby bags ready, including diapers, and any snacks that are in a package (e.g., granola bars)
- Make sure everything is labeled. Some things, like snack bars in wrappers are easy to use a marker on, but my favorite stick on labels are Mabel’s Labels. They stick on everything, even after being in the washing machine or dishwasher.
- Put stuff out and together and ready for the next step (e.g., lunch box and containers on counter)
- Can you prep anything for lunch the night before? I don’t generally cut up most fruit until the morning of because it can get mushy, but even washing and letting it dry in a paper towel will shave off time in the morning. Some moms I know even prep sandwiches, although I don’t do that either.
- Put items that need to go with you by the door or always in the same place (all our kids’ items like shoes and backpacks go in the mudroom). That way you’re not looking for them the morning of and not wasting precious time.
A more few ideas for the morning:
- I’ve blogged before about using a timer or alarm when I’m trying to limit time on something. That will work in this case too. Set two timers or alarms, one that goes off BEFORE you have to leave (e.g., 10 minutes before) and then another timer/alarm for actual walk out the door time.
- Have your kids count the number of items. We need to remember 5 things: backpack, lunch box, snack, water, sunblock/bug spray (until finally cools off). If you’re wondering when we started this, we started at age 4. Huge help and a great tip from one of his pre-school teachers. And it helps our older son learn accountability and responsibility in a small way.
- Bonus tip that you can do now: Make blueberry muffins and banana nut muffins and freeze them (check out the Mompowerment Pinterest page for these and other yummy easy recipes) . I make these in double batches sometimes since they can be used for breakfast-on-the-go. I sometimes thaw them out overnight in the fridge if I know we’ve got a lot going on in the morning or you can set them out to thaw outside the fridge if you’re up early. And I’ve been known to make smoothies in double batches if we need breakfast-on-the-go. Even a breakfast taco in aluminum foil works for us if we’re on the go.
For moms to start off on the right foot, maybe one of these may help:
- A moment to meditate – I mean minutes here, not hours. Or take a few deep breaths. Deep breathing can be a huge help with stress levels.
- Check in to see how you’re feeling and make any adjustments to your day, based on that (e.g., you’re tired, so you may need to give yourself more time or maybe you’re stressed, so breathe more)
- If you have the time, maybe a quick workout. I sometimes can fit in a walk, which is amazing
Hopefully, these tips will help decrease stress and start the day off with more smiles for all.
Look at my previous blog for more time-saving tips to help you get back into the swing of things during the school year.
What does your routine look like? Do you have tips or steps that help with your school morning routine? I’d love to hear them in the comments.
Suzanne Brown is a wife and mother to two young boys. She works as a strategic marketing and business consultant. Her current project is interviewing 100+ professional part-time working moms to get their insights, advice and ways to overcome challenges when working part-time. She blogs weekly about topics related to work, family or the balance between at www.mompowerment.com.