Let’s be honest, the school morning routine with young kids is the worst!
You have to drag the kids out of bed and then hurtle around to get each and every one of you fed, dressed and out of the door in time to make the school bell.
You tell the kids to get dressed but after 10 minutes you find one of your children will still be naked, running around the lounge, trying to put their pants on the dogs head.
Someone ALWAYS loses one shoe. Another kid suddenly announces that it’s Dress up as a Superhero day today and you have an almighty panic trying to fashion a cape out of an old tablecloth and safety pins. And all before you’ve even managed to take more than a sip of the coffee you so desperately need to function.
SO much stress to deal with so early in the morning with the clock ticking as you risk getting yet another glare and black mark from the school secretary for being late yet again.
To help with the school morning routine during the fragile hours of the early morning, we’ve put together our 12 best tips and hacks to make getting ready for school in the morning a breeze.
Packed lunch production line
This is best done the night before.
Make sandwiches or pots of pasta and bung in the fridge.
Then line up all the other extras on the kitchen counter – fruit, granola bars, drinks…
They are all ready for each child to grab and go in the morning.
Set several alarms and make it like a game show challenge
Set your phone to ding alarms at 15 minute intervals.
You could even pop cards with drawings for each thing you need your child to do before each alarm rings (brush teeth, get dressed, eat breakfast, pack school bag..).
Then do your best impression of a cheery game show host to keep everything and everyone on schedule.
It helps if you’ve had coffee before playing!
Create a do-it, did-it list of tasks
Write down all the tasks your child has to do in the morning on cards.
These might include brush teeth, put on uniform, eat breakfast, grab lunch, get school bag, put on coat and shoes.
You can make flashcards for each and make another organiser with two pockets. One to house all their tasks in a ‘Do-it’ pocket and another ‘Done-it’ pocket for the to transfer each card into once they have completed the task. This puts the kids in charge, cuts down on nagging and keeps the morning routine on track.
You could even keep a sand timer by the list so that, if anyone is behind you can challenge them to complete the rest of their tasks before time runs out.
Check out our DIY morning routine chart here to make your very own school morning routine.
Little kids spill their breakfast and make an almighty mess whenever they can.
Make a rule that uniform goes on last.
AFTER breakfast and after tooth brushing.
If you follow hack #5 below it will be all laid out and ready for your child to step into in minutes.
5 minutes of prep the night before
Before you hit the sack put out breakfasts, lay out uniforms and find anything extra your child needs for the next day.
It can be a drag to think about doing at first, when you’re tired in the evenings. But just 5 minutes of organising saves you bags of time (and sanity) the next morning.
And once you build it into your evening routine, it becomes second nature.
Use hair straighteners to iron out uniform creases
Forget the iron.
Use hair straighteners to smooth out shirt collars and skirts. Keep any wriggling kids away from the iron plates.
In seconds your kids will look immaculate.
Have dump and load designated spaces in the hallway
Mark out designated spaces in the hall for each child to dump their school bags when they come home and for you to add anything they need for the next day.
Hooks and baskets are a godsend.
Each afternoon check schoolbags for any letters and ask your child if they need anything for the next day.
Then put gym bags, signed school trip forms and completed homework straight into each child’s space so you’re all good to go in the morning.
No frantic hunting around for scraps of paper and envelopes in the morning.
Hang closet organisers in the hallway
Find a space to hang a closet organiser with several shelves in the hallway.
You can use fabric paint or a Sharpie to mark each shelf with a day of the week.
Put clothes, gym bags, homework jotters, instruments and any school admin in the designated daily shelves as you go through your week.
That way you know you, and your child, have everything ready to easily find and grab in the morning.
Wake up BEFORE the kids get you up
We know, we KNOW that every minute of sleep is precious.
But if you can get out of bed even 15 minutes before your kids, then you can get yourself prepped and in a better frame of mind to face the school morning full on.
You can grab a super speedy shower or set out breakfast or just enjoy a hot cuppa in peace. It might even become your favourite time of day.
The school shoe sticker hack
Every busy parent knows that several precious minutes are wasted as your child insists they can put on their own shoes (but totally can’t).
A genius tip is to find a big colourful sticker, cut it in half and stick one half in each shoe.
Your child can then line up their shoes in a way that makes the sticker whole.
That way they will know which shoe goes on which foot all on their own.
Keep hair bobbles on a carabiner
You know that somewhere in the house you own about 178 hair bobbles.
But in the morning, when you’re trying to get your daughter’s hair tied up ready for school, you can’t find a single one.
To stop wasting precious minutes hunting them down, keep all the bobbles on a carabiner – one of those large clips that you find in outdoor stores for camping and outdoor sports.
Keep them handy wherever you tend to do your daughter’s hair.
Keep a pack of baby wipes by the door
They’re perfect for the last minute mop ups as your children leave for school.
You can wipe up messy mouths, blobs of Weetabix on school sweatshirts and Marmitey paws.
Ban screen time
Make it a rule that there are NO screens in the morning.
Unless your child is all fed and watered and dressed and packed and ready to go.
If they are in advance of your set (and strict) leaving time then they can be rewarded with a short bit of screen time.
It can work as a bribe if you want to use it!
Don’t forget post-it notes
You’re almost there and everyone is ready to head out of the door.
For a last check stick post-it notes on the door with a list of reminders of what your child needs.
It’s sometimes handy to make post-it notes for yourself too.