Running out the door at the second. Trying to find an errant sock that you know was on the counter a minute ago. Last second trips to the bathroom! This year, school mornings are going to be different… right?
Whether you cut everything down to the wire or try to plan as much as possible the night before, it seems like school mornings with kids are almost always harried. No more! From home organization tips to the perfect alarm clock, these 15 tips with help make mornings streamlined and stress-free. For real.
1. Choose clothing the night before
There’s nothing worse than hearing the bus in the distance while kids are still scrambling to find their favorite sweatshirt. Get prepared the night before by helping kids pick out every single item of clothing, from their shirt down to their socks and shoes (see No. 3 below) in advance. And make sure to check the weather forecast when doing so!
2. Designate one place for clothes
Once you prepare an outfit, have kids put it in a designated spot. That way, when morning hits, kids will know exactly where to go to find their clothes for the day. No more “Where’s my [fill in the blank], Mom?!” #iykyk
3. Keep shoes organized
You can waste heaps of time in the morning by trying to sort through mismatched and disorganized footwear. To avoid this, have a designated shoe bin for each child in the mudroom or hallway closet. You can also have kids keep their shoes with the clothing they will be wearing the next day, so that everything is all in one place. Genius? We think so.
4. Make sure kids complete homework before bed
Don’t fall for every child’s favorite “I’ll do it in the morning” line. Mornings are hectic enough before you add schoolwork into the mix. And no kid does quality work while trying to race out the door. Your best bet for getting things done the night before: Have a designated homework spot.
5. Make lunches the night before
This is a no-brainer, but the more you can do the night before, the better. Make sandwiches, fill water bottles, prep snacks and keep everything in the fridge or a designated spot so you, or the kids, can grab them easily and get out the door on time. Not sure what to make? Check out these healthy school lunch ideas.
6. Keep backpacks fully stocked
You can also prepare kids’ backpacks the night before. Make sure that homework, school supplies and permissions slips are all safely tucked away. And place backpacks next to the door so kids can grab them quickly on their way out.
7. Organize your own items
You can be a good model for kids by making sure that everything is in place on your end. To keep things running smoothly, make sure to organize all the items you and the kids use in the mornings in advance. Do you know where your car keys are? Your phone charger?
8. Have kids shower at night
Bathing the night before can save kids a lot of time in the morning. And it lets them sleep more!
9. Set alarms 15 minutes early
Having a few extra minutes can ease stress levels for everyone. In fact, it’s always best to allot your family more time than you think you need.
10. Invest in a light alarm
Some kids have a really hard time waking up. It might help to get an alarm that uses light along with sound. These alarms mimic the sunrise, which helps ease kids awake.
11. Ban screens in the mornings
Kids will be able to get out the door faster if they are free from distractions, like trying to finish one more Youtube video or the end of a cartoon show. In the moment, it may feel like it’s helpful to have everyone sitting down in one place, but in the end, it’ll bite you!
12. Set a timer
If kids have a real issue staying on target, try setting a kitchen timer in the morning. This can give them an idea of how long they have to dress, eat and brush their teeth.
13. Simplify breakfast
Busy school mornings are usually not the time to have an elaborate egg and bacon breakfast. Choose healthy and quick options that are packed with protein. Better than that, stock simple items for breakfasts kids can make themselves.
14. Use weekends to plan
Use the weekend to get caught up on laundry and stock up on school lunch supplies. The weekend is also a good time to ask kids if they have any upcoming projects. No one wants to hear that a kid needs a poster board 20 minutes before the bus arrives!
15. Cross-check everything the night before
It can’t hurt to double check that everything you and the kids need in the morning is laid out properly, especially if little ones took the initiative to prepare their outfits and supplies themselves. By doing this, you can rest easy knowing that there won’t be any big surprises in the morning.