Our children are in two different schools this year and neither one of them have a bus to ride. This means that I’m doing a lot of running around in the mornings and there’s not a lot of time to waste. Over the years, we’ve had our fair share of difficult mornings, and even on the first day of school this year – I lost my keys and was saved from disaster by multiple friends. Over time, by following these strategies along with placing a high importance on an adequate amount of sleep, we’ve been able to make most mornings very smooth and relatively simple.
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So let’s jump right in:
- Mark gym days, picture days, and due dates on your calendar and SET REMINDERS! This has saved me so many times. Siri and I are BFFs.
- Set out the week’s clothes on Sunday. You can do this with hanging cubbies like this one. We used these for years. There’s one cubby for each weekday and we’d put everything down to socks and shoes in them. I don’t need to help my oldest pick out clothes anymore, but my 6 year old still need help. Usually, we choose outfits on Sunday together. I have cleared out a dresser drawer where the outfits for the week are kept and she picks what she wants from the drawer each day.
- Get up before the kids, even if it’s just 15 minutes. I need 15 minutes minimum to wake up. I prefer to wake up at least an hour and a half early so I can have quiet time, coffee, and get some things done before they wake up.
- Meal Plan. If you know what you’re eating for the week – you’ll have food in the fridge and you’ll have direction for breakfasts and lunches. You might even be able to throw dinner in the crockpot if you’re lucky.
- Quick After School Routine. For the kids, not you. When my kids come home, they empty their backpacks & lunch boxes and put them away. Then they hang up their coats and bags on the command hooks on the inside of our coat closet (pictured above.) This is also when they do their homework & practice instruments.
- Check Bookbags/Homework As Soon As You Can – Preferably Right After School Now – this might not be feasible if you work outside the home, but try to look through all of the papers that come home each night – deal with what you can right away and send what you need to right back to school. Then – you can forget about it and it keeps your stack of papers from growing out of control as fast. (Extra tip: I throw A LOT away every day after school. I only save special papers.)
- Divided ziplock lunch trays!! I know I’ve said it before, but around here, these little divided containers are only a few dollars for two of them. Find them on Amazon here or at Target. It eliminates rushing around for baggies and containers. I try to plan and cook ahead, but I find that my daughters love “lunchables.” Since we have some food allergies, I buy/make ahead things she can eat and separate them into compartments and it’s so much easier. They are also leakproof! I try to re-pack lunches as soon as the kids get home from school while they empty their book bags so they’re ready for the next day. This doesn’t always happen.
- Pack a few lunches To piggy back off of tip number 7. Pre-packing a few lunches at a time saves a ton of time and stress! And with the divided containers – you can back a bunch and toss the whole thing into their lunchbox when it’s time to go. (Ziplock really should pay me for my obsession with those containers.)
- Keep kids’ toothbrushes & toothpaste all together in their rinse cups where they can reach them. Doing it this way allows kids to grab everything at once and cuts down on time.
- Pack book bags the night before When they’re all ready to go with library books and picture-day money, all you need to do is toss in their pre-packed lunch and you’re ready to go. (You might want to make sure your keys are where they should be the night before too, so you don’t end up like me on the first day of school!)
- No electronics until kids are completely ready – down to shoes and coats. You’d be surprised at how motivated kids are to get ready in the mornings when they can’t have their electronics until they’re ready. This has been extremely helpful in keeping our mornings smooth.
How do you keep your mornings running smoothly?