Mornings are probably the most challenging part of the day, particularly when you need to get sleepy and cranky children up, fed, packed, and off to school on time! Thankfully, there are a few tricks we’ve learned over the years to help moms make school mornings a little easier on everyone.
School-aged children need approximately 10-12 hours of sleep per day. While teens aged 12-18 years might get away with 8-9 hours, everyone in the house must get an appropriate amount of sleep every night if they want to be their best the following day.
This goes for the grown-ups of the house as well! Turn off Netflix, put down your book, and silence your cell to ensure the entire family can wake up well-rested for the best chance of a leisurely school morning.
2. Get up 15 minutes earlier
Setting your alarm just 15 minutes earlier allows you to take a breath and a little me-time before the rush commences. This could be the time you need to eat breakfast on your own, do a short guided meditation, or practice some mindfulness as you quietly make some coffee… We love our pour-over coffee maker as it forces us to slow down and relax while we brew the perfect cup of coffee to give us the energy to face the day.
If you can’t face getting up any earlier than you already do, spend those extra 15 minutes relaxing in bed. You could listen to a podcast or your favorite tunes. Anything to put you in a calm and happy mood for the day.
3. Prepare the night before
Between getting the kids out of bed, ensuring everyone has breakfast, getting bags prepared, and dealing with the inevitable lost sock, getting as much prepared as possible the night before will make your morning go far smoother.
With the kids:
- Do baths and showers before bed
- Go through the next day’s schedule
- Check all homework/gym bags/coats/etc. are organized and ready to go
- Select an outfit for the following day and lay it out (including underwear and accessories)
Once the kids are in bed:
- Pack lunch boxes (including your own, if needed) and fill water bottles
- Pick and layout your own outfit
- Get things ready for breakfast
- Hang up necessary items near the door (coats/hats/gym kit/etc.)
- Check your keys/purse/wallet are together and ready to go.
4. Make ‘wake up’ more pleasant
If you or your youngsters aren’t morning people, you can make wake-up more pleasant than the usual BUZZ of an alarm clock. Look for alarms that can play your favorite music instead of buzzing or beeping. Alarms that feature a lightning wake-up are also great ways to awaken in a softer, more pleasant way.
Keep fluffy slippers and dressing gowns near the bed, too, so it’s not so cold and unpleasant when you get out of your warm cozy bed (this goes for the children, too!).
5. Create a schedule and routine
The best way to make any event run smoothly is to have everything scheduled and create routines that the whole family can rely on. When you’re first creating this routine, it might be beneficial to write it down and pin it up somewhere prominent in the house (the bathroom or kitchen are great spots) to remind everyone precisely what they need to be doing.
Kids who struggle with reading might benefit from a picture schedule.
You can also include times here. Keep multiple ‘in-your-face’ clocks around the house and have older children wear a watch so they know precisely where they should be and when.
6. Be organized
We recently incorporated a ‘school nook’ in our house. This nook is positioned by the front door and is where all school-related items live and are color-coded, so each kid has their own designated space.
We use colored hooks to hang coats and backpacks (packed and hung the night before), then matching colored storage bins hold smaller items, including shoes and sports equipment.
7. Double checks
No matter how organized and prepared you and your family might be, it’s almost inevitable that something will be forgotten in the morning school rush. To combat this, write out lists of what every individual need for their day and pin them near or on the front door so you’ll see it before you leave.
Before anyone steps out the door, have them go through their list and double-check they have everything.
Younger kids might even enjoy making up a song to help them remember everything that they can sing to themselves as they get ready for school.
8. Stay calm
Whatever the morning throws at you, the best way to cultivate a smooth morning routine is to stay calm, even when things go astray. Remember, the more rushed and frantic you seem, the more your kids will absorb that energy and become challenging.
Stay calm and get everything as prepared as possible to enjoy stress-free mornings. Your kids (and your mental health) will thank you!