Back-to-school can mean back-to-hectic for many moms and dads.
Trying to get yourself ready for work while also feeding, cleaning, and dressing your little ones is truly an art, especially when your kids are being gremlins and resisting the new school year tooth and nail!
Below are some easy ways to simplify your family's morning routine.
1. Prepare lunches the night before.
You can easily chop up fruits and veggies the night before and place them in Tupperware containers. Certain things are less straight forward (like sandwiches) as preparing them the night before could make them soggy. However, you can still save time by making the fillings before bed. Once the kids are in bed you have some time to get this done while the house is peaceful.
2. Lay out everyone's outfit the night before.
Making this a part of everyone's routine is so important. Have everyone choose their outfit prior to bedtime, and you can double check they've done it when you go to tuck them in. This will save you and your loved ones an incredible amount of time in the morning. Be sure to always check the weather the night before so you put the right clothes out.
3. Don't put on the T.V.
Studies have shown that people take longer to get ready in the morning when they have the T.V. playing in the background. So turn off the tube!
4. Set up a family bathroom schedule.
This is especially important if you have many children! Work out time slots where each family member has priority of the bathroom to avoid any arguments.
5. Do showering or bathing at night.
It's amazing how much freer your mornings will be when you don't have to struggle with your five-year-old to get his or her hair washed! Build this into your nightly routine instead of morning and see if it makes an impact.
6. Have a special place where you put your essentials.
How many times have you been on schedule, only to fall behind because you can't find your keys? It's a good idea to have a special place where you store essentials so that you always knew where to find them.
For you: Try to get in the habit of dropping your keys and purse at the door, in a bowl or basket or hanger, every time you get home.
For the kids: At minimum, have a special spot for their backpacks to hang. For maximum organization have a designated area for each child (kind of like a cubby) for their shoes, jackets, backpack, gloves, etc. That way there isn't a mad scramble of finding two matched shoes from a pile every morning!
7. Teach kids the habit of placing homework in their backpacks as soon as they have completed it.
This builds off the point above, but this makes mornings more efficient AND instills organization and responsibility. I wish that I had mastered this skill as a youngster! (In University, I got docked late marks more than once for forgetting an important assignment at home.)
8. Establish a strict morning schedule - and stick with it!
Always do the same morning activities in the same order. For example, if your family usually eats breakfast after getting dressed, make sure you always do this. Kids thrive with routine, and establishing one will make mornings much more efficient.
9. Establish an early bed time for the whole family.
The more well-rested your kids are, the easier it will be for them to get out of bed, and the more efficient they will be in the morning. The same goes for Mum and Dad!
10. Reward kids for being ahead of schedule.
Lastly, a bit of positive reinforcement can go a long way. One idea for this is to have a reward system based on how ahead-of-schedule your kids are.
For example, if they're ready five minutes earlier than necessary, put one dollar into a "family fund". If they are ready ten minutes early, put two dollars in. You get the picture!
For more back to school advice, have a read of the following articles:
Read more about the author
These are great tips! My kids have to get up almost TWO HOURS before go-time on school mornings. Mostly this is due to how slowly they eat breakfast and how much they TALK nonstop. Plus, they have chores in the morning, in addition to being responsible for all of their essentials. It's been this way since they were super little, so it works pretty smoothly now. Our biggest issue? Getting to bed on time the night before...
Prepping stuff the night before makes sense, like laying out clothes and packing lunches. I wonder if prepping breakfast / knowing what peeps should have for breakfast makes sense too? Decisions around food and clothes slows the whole morning routine down for sure.