17 ways to streamline school mornings in your house, so you can turn the chaos of your morning routine into a calm stress-free experience instead.
Are school mornings in your home chaotic and stressful? Your morning routine can set your mood for the entire day, so we need to ensure it runs as smoothly as possible.
School mornings in our house have changed for the better in the last few years. My three kids are now in high school and have become more independent with making lunches and getting breakfast, but the foundation for this started when they began kindy. I worked out a strategy with my kids that made the mornings less rushed and hectic, and I have included my tips, charts and routine tricks below so that you can enjoy stress-free school mornings too!
ON THE WEEKEND
WRITE UP A LUNCHBOX PLAN – Making a plan of what to put in the kids’ lunchboxes through the week not only helps to ensure that I have the fridge and pantry stocked with lunchbox food items, but it also helps the kids know what to pack in their lunchboxes.
WASH AND IRON UNIFORMS – Over the weekend I clean all uniforms and have the kids’ formal uniforms ironed and in their wardrobe ready for the week ahead. I then do one small load mid week so that their school uniforms last the whole week (this also means I do not need to purchase a uniform for each day of the week). For more advice on managing your laundry check out my Tips To Get Through The Laundry Pile Faster.
READ MORE: How Many School Uniforms Should You Buy?
THE NIGHT BEFORE
It is a good idea to prepare a few things the night before to reduce the amount you need to do in the morning.
MAKE LUNCHES – making lunches the night before has become a huge timesaver for me. I have always made the kids lunches, purely because I really enjoy it. A few years ago though, my youngest asked if she could help me by making the lunches. To be honest I didn’t want to let go as I liked making lunches for them, but she really wanted to help out. It became a tremendous help and I loved watching her independence.
Doing a bulk bake-up of freezer friendly lunchbox snacks is another thing I love to do, as it’s a really easy way to ensure there’s lots of food on hand to pop into the school lunchboxes the night before – and it’s super easy for the kids to then grab these themselves too!
Another tip is to fill their drink bottles and put in the fridge, or half fill them and put them in the freezer for hot days.
LAY UNIFORMS OUT – Make sure all the kids’ uniforms are washed and clean. Lay them out over a chair or hang them up in their wardrobe so you don’t have to rush looking for them in the morning.
MAKE KIDS SHOWER/BATH – Not only are they clean for their bedsheets, but having the kids bathe in the night eliminates wasting precious morning time.
CHECK PLANNER/CALENDAR – Before you go to bed have a look at what appointments or tasks are due tomorrow so that you are well prepared for what the day will bring. I love The The Organised Housewife 2020 Planner and Wall Calendar for this – unfortunately both products literally ran off the shelves! If you don’t want to miss out next year, make sure you pop yourself on the waitlist for our 2021 goodies!
THE SCHOOL MORNING
When the kids were younger, I would wake them 60-90 minutes before we had to leave. I would then hop in the shower and get ready myself. Now the kids are older they wake up by their alarm clocks.
SET ALARM EARLIER – Set your alarm 15 minutes earlier than you need (as you know you will press snooze!) and make the alarm a song so that it’s more energising than the hooting sound of an alarm buzzer. This will make waking up easier and much more pleasant.
WAKE FIRST – Have some ‘you time’ in the mornings before the chaos. Exercise, meditate, read, have a cuppa, check emails, review your planner/calendar – whatever you need to do to feel calm and to help with the transition into hectic school morning mode.
EASY BREAKFAST – Make breakfast healthy… and easy! I always buy healthy breakfast options for my children as it is considered the most important meal of the day. I don’t mess about with time-consuming cooked meals, but instead opt for a cereal that’s packed with essential nutrients and energy for growing bodies. When my children were younger I would set out the bowls, spoons and cereal on the bench the night before to get them ready for school faster.
MORNING PLAYLIST – Create a morning playlist that’s packed with upbeat and energising songs! It’ll put everyone in a better mood (as opposed to listening to the TV and news), and will help get the kids and you moving quicker.
PREP A QUICK LUNCH – If you’re not one for preparing school lunches the night before, then make it easy on yourself by either having baked goodies in the freezer that are ready to go, or opt for some readymade school lunch ideas that are available straight from the supermarket shelf! Having these on hand will make it quick and easy to throw together a balanced school lunch for your babies.
READ MORE: Readymade School Lunch And Snack Ideas
STEP BY STEP TASKS – I’ve used routine charts with my kids since they were toddlers, which has helped to create habits that have stuck with them for life. A morning routine chart not only stops parents having to constantly repeat themselves, but it also makes mornings predictable for kids by providing a visual aid that’s easy to follow. One big thing I found important when I created these charts for my kids back when they started kindy, was to have the ‘brush teeth’ task before the ‘get dressed’ task. I found my kids would blob toothpaste on their clothes and would therefore need to get changed again! This chart helped them see that they needed to brush teeth before getting change, which also meant less washing for me!
I understand that every family and every home is a little different though, which is why I have just created a new printable in my shop that allows you to personalise the tasks and the times of your child’s morning routine. I have added in the time component in the hope that it helps your kids stay on track with what’s expected of them in the mornings.
RELY ON CLOCKS – Put digital clocks in a place that are easily visible so that your child can keep track of the time whilst following their morning routine chart – in your child’s room, the bathroom, the kitchen etc. This is also a good opportunity to introduce a Time Teaching Clock for your child.
GET DRESSED – If your child has showered the night before, getting dressed into their already laid out uniform should be quick and easy! Ask your children to put on their socks and brush their hair at the same time, so that they are ready to walk out the door.
LEAVE BEDROOM TIDY – Open up the blinds and curtains to let some natural light in, get the kids to make their bed and clear their bedroom floors of clutter. If someone is going to be home, open up the windows to let fresh air in throughout the day.
FINAL PACK OF SCHOOL BAG – Ten minutes before we leave the house, my kids grab their lunchboxes from the fridge and place it into their cooler bags, along with anything that hasn’t been put in there yet (i.e. crackers, muesli bars etc). At this stage they need to check they have remembered to pack their homework books, computers, etc. I use a school bag chart to help prompt the kids so they don’t forget anything important. I used to have this laminated and placed next to their school bag storage rack. Just like with my routine charts above, the Weekly Have You Packed Chart can also be personalised, and the images make it very easy to follow for young children who may not be able to read yet.
OUT THE DOOR – If they are ready before we need to leave, the kids usually sit down with me and watch the Today Show… we love Karl, he is an absolute hoot!
WHAT HELPS YOU GET OUT THE DOOR ON TIME FOR SCHOOL?
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