There’s a reason why Monday mornings are awful for many of us: it’s the mad rush. If you don’t have a proper morning routine, it can lead to chaos as you help your child get ready for school. Yelling in the hallway to wake up your kids (for the third time) – feverishly searching at the last minute for inexplicably missing shoes – and, in a cyclone of stress, book bags and mental checklists, getting everyone out the door to make it to school before the last bell rings. And you know what, Monday and every other Monday through Friday morning doesn’t have to be like that. Once you’ve created a school routine that works for your family, getting out the door in the morning isn’t as difficult as any other part of your daily schedule. Of course, such changes don’t happen overnight. It takes time for everyone to get used to the new morning routine at school. But when things start to settle down, you’ll wonder how you ever got out of the house in the morning. Try these smart steps to kick-start your school morning routine.
#1. DO YOUR HOMEWORK
That’s right, mom; you also have a little homework to do. Here’s the thing, although it’s the kind of task that will make your life that much easier. First, check the weather reports to see if you need to bring an umbrella. Then, take a look at your children’s school calendars to remember any special events that may require additional attention (like sending sports teams for a game, etc.). So yeah, technically, your morning routine starts the night before.
#2. GET A HEAD START
Go ahead the night before and prepare as much as possible. Anything that can be done ahead of time, just take a few minutes here or there as you go through your nightly routine and cut them out. Design the clothes for you and the kids, or ideally, have the kids design their own. Have everyone gather everything that needs to go in their backpacks. Ensure any device someone needs the next day is connected to the charging station for phones, laptops, and tablets. You can also save valuable time from your morning routine by taking baths or showers the night before. Cousin? Doing it 15 to 20 minutes before bed is relaxing, which is great for the evening.
#3. COMMUNICATE CLEARLY
Although this seems like such a logical step that it doesn’t seem necessary, real children are not usually logical creatures. So that means you need to explain exactly what you expect of them if you want to avoid the added frustration of repeating yourself 7 million times. Unfortunately, however, you’ll probably have to repeat yourself at least a million times. But practice makes perfect!
#4. ESTABLISH RULES
This requires a bit of mommy magic: anticipating problems before they arise. For example, does your 10-year-old get caught up in television and forget to do the essentials like brushing his teeth and comb his hair? Make a no-tech-at-the-morning-table rule. Put your kids on a rotating seat schedule and give them a little thought, so you don’t fight the same time-consuming battles every morning.
#5. CREATE A MEAL PLANNER
Listen, no one says you have to be one of those perfect Pinterest moms who has everything pre-cooked, prepackaged, and in perfect portions. However, even having a general idea of what to have for breakfast and lunch during the week can make a big difference in your morning routine. To avoid either, but I don’t want this drama, you can let your kids help you make your meal plan by simply asking them what they want (within reason).
#6. DELEGATE APPROPRIATELY
Repeat after me, Mom: I can’t do everything. Because even if you can get the whole morning going on your own, you shouldn’t have to. And having your children take responsibility in an age-appropriate way is good for them. Of course, as they get older and more independent, you can tinker with your morning to-do list, but the point is, you should always play an active role. Just don’t try to cram into life lessons the morning of. Instead, sculpt time off on the weekends to teach your little ones the things you want them to do on weekday mornings.
#7. STICK TO IT
And of course, a morning routine is only a routine if you really stick to it. Just like at the gym, you have to take the time to get started and really get going. You can always make adjustments to find what works best for your family. Think of your morning routine as an exercise. If you’re running a little late, going to the gym can feel intimidating. But the more often you do it, the more normal it will feel. It builds muscle memory, which makes it easier to work out. Before you know it, working out becomes a habit. It’s part of your daily schedule.