Oh beautiful morning routine…. Who doesn’t like a rushed school morning, where you ask your kids 1,001 times to put their shoes on, the water bottles are MIA, and you forget to pack your daughter’s field trip money….
It actually takes a lot less organization than you think, to move over to calmer mornings. I won’t call them calm, and I won’t tell you that I don’t yell at kids playing Lego instead of putting their shoes on… yes, I do need to ask 5 times, but for the most part, we get the 5 of us ready, from wake-up to buckled in the car, in 20 minutes, thanks to a well-oiled morning routine.
1- No One Goes To Bed Until Homework Is Done
I hear many moms at school, tell about their kids finishing up their homework at breakfast.
We have a golden rule in our house. It is respected and, while it might not seem fun to the kids, it works best!
When we get home, I give the kids a snack. As they finish eating, everyone starts their homework. Everything that was assigned that day, no matter when it is due, needs to be completed as soon as we get home.
So far, homework has never taken longer than about an hour, and we usually get it done in less than 30 minutes.
But our kids know that, once their homework is done, the rest of the day is theirs to spend as they please. Doing homework is not fun and we want to be done with it.
That way, we don’t have any late nights, or early morning rush, to finish everything that is due that day.
2- Get As Much Done During Weekends As Possible
I love that our kids get a monthly planning of homework and tests. On Saturdays, we sit down and do everything we can do ahead of time – which is usually spelling and writing.
That way, on week nights, we only need to do the short math homework assigned each day!
If you are a meal planner, weekends are a great time to cook and pre-package their lunch and snack boxes.
If wish I could give you amazing tips but I am not a meal planner and usually wing dinners based on what is in the fridge and what we’re in the mood for 🙂
My life goal would be to be able to have all of their meals ready over the weekend. It is my most-hated chore but I also feel like I’d need a whole separate fridge to stock it all.
Check our Lisa’s article for ideas – she has 2 sets of twins and likes to photograph her kids’ lunch boxes. I love the inspiration!
3- Nighttime Shower Time
I feel like this one divides our world in 2 categories: there are the morning shower-ers and the nighttime shower-ers.
I love showering everyone at night for 2 reasons:
1- they go to bed clean from their day of sweating, school, and sports
2- we don’t waste precious sleeping time, showering in the morning!!!
I also like the relaxing effect of showering or bathing at night. The warm water, followed by drying up and just wanting to jump and cozy up in bed!
4- Stick To Their Bedtime
You know how they tell you to have bedtime routines? While we are not overly strict on the actual routine, we follow a general sense of: teeth, potty, reading, bed.
What we are strict about is their bed time however. I believe in sleep, and want them to sleep as long as they possibly can.
Their bed time is 8PM and non-negotiable. On Monday nights, when we get home late from gymnastics, it means less time for reading, but they will be in bed by 8PM.
We recently allowed our 7-year old to read an extra 15 minutes in her bed since she can’t seem to fall asleep at 8PM anymore.
But I am a strong believer in a strict bed time, allowing them to wake up rested the next morning!
5- Get All Outfits Ready At Night
This is, honestly, my biggest time-saver in the morning routine, and what allows me to wake up just 20 minutes before we leave for school.
As I put them to bed at night, I spend 5 minutes in each kid’s bedroom and prepare their outfit for the next day.
I then bring everything downstairs and have a pile for each child on the couch.
In the morning, it’s as easy as asking them to get dressed. Everything from socks and underwear to sweaters and beanies are ready!
6- Pack Lunches And Snacks After Kids Are In Bed
When Christian and I both worked full-time, we would prepare the kids’ lunch and snack boxes right after putting them in bed.
While I very much dislike the exercise, I would definitely not want to have to deal with it in the morning.
Within 15 minutes of the kids being in bed, their boxes are in the fridge and all we have to do in the morning, is to take them out and pack them in their backpacks.
Now that I work from home and pick up the kids from school, I get all of their lunches and snacks prepared as I supervise their homework.
7- Check Kids’ School Schedules In The Evening
Once the food is ready, I go to each child’s monthly planner and make sure they have what they need for the next day:
- library books for the one who has library the next day
- all homework packed in their folder since we do a lot of it over the weekend
- all permission slips, forms, money clipped in their agenda
- gymnastics or golf clothes for after-school activities
8- Let Them Sleep As Long As Possible
As I mentioned before, sleep is sacred in our household. I will let our children sleep as long as they need to.
They rarely need to be woken up to go to school, but if one of them is sleeping in, I will wake him up 5 minutes before leaving, help him to get dressed and give him cereal bars in the car.
I always found that the extra 15 minutes of sleep much outweigh the grumpy breakfast they would have had if I had to pull them out of bed to sit at the table!
9- Make Breakfast A Routine
If you’ve been reading us for a little while, you know that meal times are not a negotiation in our household. There is one meal and everyone eats from it. I don’t cook twice or customize to anyone’s tastes, and our kids know the rules and eat from everything!
Mornings are no exception. It is milk and cereals or oatmeal – it is actually the only meal where they have a choice.
For them to know what to expect, makes our morning routine very easy. I put milk in everyone’s bowl and set 5 or 6 boxes of breakfast cereals on the table. From there, they tell us which kind they want to eat and breakfast is a 10-minute exercise.
10- No Screen Distraction In The Morning
You know I am not a big fan of screens at anytime of the day for kids. But mornings are DEFINITELY screen-free!
The hardest part is on us, parents. I do enjoy reading my emails and catching up on social media as I have breakfast….
On days when I don’t, however, my stress level is close to none. I’d much rather chat with the kids, make sure everyone is getting ready, supervise the dressing-up and shoe process, and ensure everyone is doing what they should be doing.
By removing the screen distraction from my own schedule, I save precious time and stay focused on leaving the house on time.
As far as the kids go, there is absolutely no screen in our house until 6PM anyways 🙂
Morning Routine For Stress-Free School Days
We have followed this morning routine for the last 7 years and it has been a life-saver. I don’t like getting out of bed myself and having everyone efficient in the morning, allows me to only get up 20 minutes prior to leaving the house!
Most of it is simply planning and organizing the night before.
Some of it is also setting expectations with your children. Mornings are meant for being efficient in waking up, getting dressed, eating breakfast, brushing teeth, and leaving the house on time.
Our kids are now 7, 5, and 3 and our mornings are generally well-oiled and stress free!
If you have any other tips, please share them below for our other parents!!