With back to school season upon us, parents are already wondering how to make those busy back to school mornings easier. With multiple kids to get out the door (and sometimes parents too), it can be a wee bit chaotic.
How to Make Back to School Mornings Easier
So to help with that, I’m sharing my best ways to make back to school mornings easier with all of you. I definitely have some experience in this department; my oldest is going into grade 8 this year!
I’ve done it all – mornings where I have older kids to get ready and babies to tend to, taking one kid to school and another to daycare, trying to get myself ready while I get the kids ready, and so on.
In fact, this year is the first year where my mornings are actually going to involve getting all the kids out the door and staying home with an empty house.
But that also means I need refreshers on how to make my back to school mornings easier too. Especially now that I have to get 5 kids out the door for a very early rural bus ride.
Do as much as you can the night before
Everyone says this but it’s the best advice for anyone struggling with busy mornings. Prep lunches, and lay all the backpacks out the night before so in the morning you can just grab and go.
I personally like to make lunches the morning of. So instead, I make sure my kitchen is tidy and all my lunch making supplies are organized and easy to access. That way I can whip them up while the kids eat breakfast.
Plan clothes a week at a time
This makes things go so much easier with younger kids in the house. Organize their clothes into outfits that includes everything they need. That includes socks and underwear, plus any accessories.
Then use a 5 drawer bin organizer, a hanging one, bins, or shelves to separate the outfits. You could even label with the days of the week. Either way, it’s something you can prep on the weekend that will save you the headache of ‘I can’t find pants!’ all week long.
Turn your kids into team players
Sometimes no matter how much we prep for the morning, grumpy kids can throw the whole thing off. If you’re dealing with school aged kids, they’re old enough to understand that they need to cooperate for everyone’s sake.
Set rules and expectations about mornings, and issue consequences for non compliance. For example, when my older kids can’t find their mittens or boots in the winter because they threw them somewhere and we almost miss the bus, I make them get all their stuff on earlier and sit on the step waiting the next day.
It’s also nice to offer some incentives, especially with younger kids. Use a reward chart where if they have good mornings all week, you do a special activity on the weekend together.
Too much chaos makes mornings even more chaotic. This is one area of life where streamlining and simplicity is really important. Get yourself into a routine, one that operates like a well oiled machine. Trust me, it works.
That means making sure all your morning areas are clean, organized, and tidy. Make sure things are put back in the same place every evening so they can be found easily.
Keep the TV off
One thing that is guaranteed to throw a wrench in our mornings is the TV being on. While I don’t allow it, last year the preschoolers would sometimes be watching in the mornings they didn’t have preschool. Anything, Paw Patrol, seems to distract my older kids!
Don’t turn the TV on while you’re getting out the door, even if it’s something you’re watching. Likewise, take away phones and tablets if the kids are getting distracted in the morning. One thing you can do though is put on music – I find it can be motivating and energizing first thing!
Make a checklist
I have the morning routine up on the wall for the kids to see. That way they can be reminded about what they need to do, with less reminders from me. I also use a personal checklist when I’m heading out the door to make sure I don’t forget anything.
Even my tweens (who should know better) benefit from this.
Get in the habit of check kids’ backpacks
One of the worst things that can throw off your morning is the unexpected. Sometimes that comes with a field trip form due today and you scrambling for some cash, or incomplete homework. Make checking the kids’ backpacks part of your evening routine (ideally right when they get home) so you can stay on top of things.
Wake up earlier
I get up about half an hour before my kids do so I can get a head start. I use that time to drink a bit of a coffee, get organized, and start packing their lunches or making breakfast.
Then I wake kids up and help them get ready one by one. It can be chaotic with 5 kids (I often say ‘I can’t do everything at once!’ as the demand things) but it does help things go a bit more smoothly.
Do a dry run
Before school starts, practice your back to school morning routine. That way you have a bit of extra time to iron out the details and work on problem areas.
It also gives a chance to coach young kids (especially those going to school for the first time) on how they’re supposed to behave in the morning and what your expectations are.
Try and stay calm
I know this one’s tough, even for me. I feel so guilty when I’ve yelled at my kids right as they’re getting out the door. Even if they aren’t listening, I hate that the last thing they got from me before going to school all day is negativity.
If you stay calm, everyone in the household is calmer. It creates a more calming atmosphere, and sometimes helps bring kids down when they’re starting to lose their cool.
Take time for yourself to make back to school mornings easier
Hopefully these tips on how to make back to school mornings easier will help. Even if it’s just a little.
If you’re a stay at home mom, or you’re working from home, then take advantage of the kids being in the school and take a few minutes to yourself to cool off after all the morning chaos before you start the rest of your day.