Less Manic and More Manageable: How to Revamp Your School Day Morning Routine
Does this morning routine sound familiar on a weekday? You rush around, already 10 minutes late, when you notice that your student forgot to tell you that you needed to sign a test or permission slip or their communication journal. Then you notice their backpack still has their lunch bag in it and the contents resemble last week’s science experiment. Never mind the fact that you have no idea what to give them for today’s breakfast and lunch! As you panic your student is still standing in their closet, wondering what to wear as you yell that you need to leave now! All the while, “Just another manic Monday…” is running through your head on a loop.
Mornings are tough at the start of a new school year after having had the entire summer to chill out, and let time just do its thing. But it is possible to get your mornings back in shape and on track. The key lies in the night before.
Pre-planning may not sound like the greatest idea after a long day. However, if it gets you to a morning routine where you aren’t running around like a chicken with your head cut off, it might be worth it!
Here are some ideas how to take the sting, and stress out of that weekday morning, the night before:
- Lay out the next day’s school outfit. This eliminates the decision making that can cost you precious minutes in the a.m. Pro-tip: Take it one step further and create a capsule wardrobe for your younger students for ultimate mixing and matching. You can even encourage your pre-teen and teen students to follow suit (pun intended). Bonus: Capsule wardrobes tend to be less expensive, create less laundry, and they are better for the environment!
- Go through backpacks for any time-sensitive materials that need signatures, empty (or semi-empty) lunch bags, garbage etc.
- Pack food for the next day (breakfast, lunch, snacks). It doesn’t necessarily need to be Martha Steward or Food Network quality either. Do what you can with what you have! Pro-tip: Prepare meals on the weekends (yes, you have heard about meal prepping a million times and there’s a reason…it works!) For some great ideas check out this list of easy breakfasts, and lunches, some of which can be made ahead of time. And you won’t need any fancy bento boxes either! Well, maybe just a mason jar…
- And this oldie but goodie…get to bed on time. A consistent, healthy amount of quality sleep can make all the difference when that alarm goes off in the a.m.
Other tips to make mornings less manic.
- Create a consistent morning routine and consider making checklists. Up by a certain hour? Check! Performed all required hygiene? Check! To the table for breakfast at a certain time? Check! Collected all belongings before heading to the car? Check! Pro-tip: I put a huge pink sticky presenter note with my checklist on the door so that I would not forget certain things. It’s worked about 99% of the time (no one’s perfect).
- 15 minutes of “you” time. Try getting up a few minutes earlier than your student(s) and enjoy that cup of coffee, exercise, journaling, or whatever it is you need to do to make your morning a little more zen.
- A place for everything and everything in its place. Even if you do not have the super trendy setup of hooks and cubbies for every person’s stuff in the house, you can still maintain some organizational sanity. Designate a spot for things like backpacks, shoes, and even try using the same shelf in the frig for breakfast, lunch and snacks. That last-minute hunt for an errant shoe or missing lunch bag can be frustrating.
- Long lines at the school drop off? Make the time fly and alleviate a little stress by playing some good music, an interesting podcast, or a road trip game.
The best part about these tips? They are made to be customized! At the end of the day every family’s needs for a morning routine are different and you need to do what works for you. So, give a few of these tips a try and see what sticks!
If they get you through at least 3 mornings per school week, that’s a win!