Heading back to school can be a stressful time for kids and parents. And one of the most stress-inducing parts of starting a new school year is the mornings.
Getting the whole family fed, ready to go, and out the door on time each morning is often a big ordeal that can end in tears.
But school mornings don’t have to be a nightmare!
Follow these six simple tips to make your family’s back to school mornings run more smoothly this school year.
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Get Plenty of Rest
A stress-free morning starts the night before – by making sure everyone in your family gets enough sleep.
There’s nothing than will slow down a morning than a tired and cranky kid.
And in addition to making your kids a little more pleasant as they get ready for school, a good night’s sleep will also make them more attentive and productive throughout their school day. That means sleep is an essential element of a smooth morning routine.
To ensure your kids are getting the necessary rest they need each night, they need a scheduled bedtime.
School-age children need between 10 and 11 hours of sleep each night. So, if your child wakes up at 7 a.m. on school days, they’ll need to go to bed between 8 and 9 p.m. each night.
Wake Up Early
Set your alarm for 15 minutes before the kids are scheduled to wake up.
This small task will give you a little breathing room before the chaos starts each day.
Take this time to enjoy some quiet time alone. Whether you enjoy a cup of coffee in silence, eat breakfast on your own, or simply take the time to relax, having a little me time each morning can help you become centered before the day begins.
And if relaxing isn’t your thing, you could still benefit from these extra moments each morning.
Consider using the time to get yourself organized for the day so you can focus on getting the kids ready after they wake up.
While your kids may only have a few responsibilities each morning, you’re left with a long list of tasks that need to be finished – make breakfast, pack lunches, pick out clothes, organize backpacks, get all the kids ready, get yourself ready – the list goes on and on.
To make sure your morning runs as smoothly as possible, think about things you can handle the night before. Taking a few tasks off your plate in the mornings will definitely make things less stressful for you each day.
Here are a few things you can handle in the evening to make your school mornings easier:
- Pack lunches and store them in the refrigerator
- Lay out everyone’s school clothes for the next day
- Prepare a make-ahead breakfast
- Pack backpacks and your purse
- Hang up necessary items near the door (coats, hats, sports equipment, etc.)
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Before the school year starts, take the time to organize a back to school space in your home. Find a spot near the door where you can easily store everything your family needs to head back to school.
There are a variety of ways to set up a back to school space in your house depending on the space you have available.
Hooks (like this colorful set so each child can have a designated color) are ideal for hanging coats and backpacks, while storage bins are great for organizing smaller items like shoes and sports equipment.
When creating your back to school storage space, think about the items your kids need as they leave for school each day. Then create a storage space that works for you.
Have a Routine
Kids thrive on structure, so following the same routine each morning can be a great way to make the day start more smoothly.
Doing the same activities in the same order every day will help your kids stay on track during the busy morning hours. And since you’ll soon be transitioning from the lazy days of summer to a stricter back to school schedule, it’s a good idea to put the morning routine in writing.
Post the schedule in a prominent place in your home and make sure everyone understands their responsibilities each morning.
No matter how much planning and scheduling you do, there will always be days where something goes wrong. And the more rushed and frantic you begin to feel, the easier it is to start getting frustrated and angry.
Instead of yelling and venting your frustrations to your kids, take a few seconds to calm down before addressing the situation.
Using a calm voice to hurry your kids along can make a big impact on how the rest of the morning goes.