Stress free ways to get kids ready for school in the morning

There is nothing worse than disorganization and chaos while you get ready for school and work! When my daughters started going to school at the same time every morning, my husband and I quickly learned our easy going, laid back routine was not right for our family. Over the years we have learned the best way to get ready for a new school year is to adjust to a different morning schedule BEFORE school starts!

Here are some stress free tips for preparing your family for a new school year routine:

Plan outfits for the week

My daughters love to put together their own outfits, but we sometimes disagree on choices made. Whether it's not matching or clothing for the wrong season, I’ve wasted a lot of precious morning time arguing with my daughters in the past. To save time in the mornings, I let my daughters choose five outfits on Sunday to wear any day of the school week. Once we determine their choices are school and weather appropriate, we hang them up for easy selection.

My oldest, Annabelle, hangs her clothing on a shelf with hooks, but there are different ways to display the week's outfits. From knobs to canvas closet organizers to small clothing racks, you can organize outfits for school in a variety of ways. 

Don’t forget shoes! My daughters’ shoes are organized on a hanging shoe shelf in the closet. Each morning she can choose a pair to go with her outfit. You could also use hanging shoe shelves to organize socks and undergarments for the week!

Establish bedtime, wake-up routine

Children thrive on routine. A bedtime and wake-up routine establishes important habits for children, such as brushing your teeth. A week before the first day of school we implemented an earlier bedtime. Our daughters spent the summer going to bed and waking up at different times each day, which does not work well during the school year.

Every night Annabelle and Ailey take a shower/bath, brush their teeth, eat a vitamin, and read books around the same time. In the morning, we allow the girls to wake on their own as long as they are up by 7:30. If your children start to sleep in too late (or wake too early), invest in a children’s alarm clock. After the girls wake up, we follow a morning schedule to stay on track.

Save lazy mornings for the weekend. It's important to get ready as soon as you wake up on a school day instead of lounging around.

Follow the same schedule

Children do best following a routine, especially in the mornings when they just wake up. I make a schedule based off of the most important tasks my daughters need to accomplish before we leave for school. A schedule gives the girls a way to organize their morning — and a sense of independence.

The schedule is hung on a magnetic board in our kitchen command center. The girls use magnets to mark which task is complete while they get ready for school. You can also laminate the schedule and use a dry erase marker to check off each task.

Annabelle loves to take control of her morning by following the schedule in whatever order she wants. Ailey is younger and a little tricky to trust on her own. I guide her through the tasks she needs to accomplish right from the moment she wakes up.

Note: I always prepare school lunches ahead of time, usually while the girls are still asleep. 

Avoid morning TV

Morning TV shows always make my daughters crabby on days when we need to be productive. After they get ready for school, they are allowed to color, read, or play together in the playroom. Even though TV is a convenient way to spend time before we leave for school, I prefer happy kids at drop-off.

Family command center

Before we tore the wall between our dining room and kitchen down, the space served as our Family Command Center. We now utilize space near the refrigerator for schedules and a family calendar. My husband and I use a large dry erase calendar to keep track of important dates, as well as a white board to record special notes. I use hanging folders to store Annabelle and Ailey's school papers, as well as monthly bills or other special papers.

Not only does the area serve as a command center for the grown ups, but also the kids. Annabelle's Specials Schedule for school hangs on a metal board. She knows when she has to wear sneakers for gym or bring library books back to school.

Caitlin Houston is a Wallingford blogger and mom of two who loves sharing all of her favorites on the Caitlin Houston Blog. Learn about fun activities at home, family friendly travels, easy recipes and more.

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