Can you believe it’s almost time for back to school?! I live in the northeast, so we have another month of summer, but other parts of the country are already preparing to hit the books.
This can be a big transition for the family, especially if you have relaxed your schedule for the summer. Maybe wake up times and bedtimes have shifted and meals happen when we feel like it.
On the other hand, having a good routine at the start of the school year can make for happier kids, happier parents and more productive days. I mean, when you start your day stressed and shouting and frazzled, it’s hard to get back on track. But, if you have (relatively) calm mornings, then your whole day goes better.
What to Do the Night Before?
Just like with adults, a good morning starts the night before. The more you do before you go to bed, the less you have to do in the morning.
I always have Tyler put his homework in his book bag as soon as he finishes it. He also packs up any special things he needs for the following day like a book for story time or a toy for show and tell.
For my part, if I have something that needs to go to school like a signed permission slip or a note to the teacher, I make sure to put it in his folder as soon as I complete it. Doing that one extra step in the moment can save a lot of extra stress in the morning.
How do I Help My Kids Have a Better Morning Routine?
The best way to help your kids have an easy morning is to work together to create their routine. Sit down with your kiddo a week or two before the start of school and perform the following steps to create their routine.
Try it out for a few days and make tweaks as necessary. It’s better to work out what does and doesn’t work before school actually starts.
Perform a brain dump of everything that needs to get done in the morning. This should include absolutely everything including what they already do now.
Once you see everything listed out, dole out the tasks to who will accomplish them. Maybe mom dresses the baby and dad helps dress the toddler. The school aged kid can dress himself. Maybe mom puts a lunch in the bag while dad puts the baby in the car seat. Everyone should have jobs to do and they should know what they are. This will help mornings run much more smoothly. There will be far less confusion.
Put together a schedule. With more things to do in the morning it's good to put together a time table of when things should get done. This way you know if you are on time or not. Everyone should have their own schedule. You don't want to have to look through a bunch of items to figure out what you need to do. Have a child who can't read yet? Use pictures to create his or her morning routine. For example you can have a picture of toothpaste and a toothbrush followed by a picture of clothes and then a picture of breakfast.
At least a week before school, have a trial run of your routine. See if anything needs to be changed or times tweaked. Practice until you think it's just right.
Build an extra few minutes into your routine for the inevitable mishap. Things happen. The baby has a diaper blowout just as you're leaving the house or the toddler spills juice on his school clothes. It's best to have a few minutes built in to accommodate these types of events.
If you want a step by step workbook to help you through this process, you can check out my Manage Your Mornings Workbook which is available on Etsy. It also includes images you can cut out to make a morning routine for any kids who are not reading yet.
How Do I Get My Kids to Eat Breakfast Before School?
Getting your kiddo to have breakfast before school is a struggle for a lot of families. You want to provide them with healthy options that will sustain them until lunch, but you are often crunched for time and may even have to take breakfast on the go.
Here’s how we deal with breakfast.
In general, we like to keep it simple. We might go with peanut butter on toast or a simple smoothie.
We also like to prep breakfasts in advance. We often make hard boiled eggs at the beginning of the week so we can take them on the go throughout the week. Another fun option is egg muffins which you can bake on Sunday and then grab and go during the week. Those are also a good way to get some veggies into your kiddos.
Yogurt is also a good option along with some toast. You can also try some overnight oats.
The main idea we try to follow is to make something nutritious and portable in case there isn’t enough time to sit down and eat.
In general, it’s important to work with your kiddos to create a morning routine that works. I really encourage you to make the whole family’s routine together. I mean if you are making breakfast at 7:30 but your child has eating breakfast at 7am, that’s not going to work.
You want to make sure that everyone is doing things in the right order so that no one is waiting on each other and everything gets done.
Especially when things are changing, print out the new schedule. It’s way easier to have something to refer to than to try to remember all the things that need to get done. Eventually, most things will become automatic, but at the beginning, it’s good to have reference.
Do you have any tips for back to school morning routines? Share them in the comments!