We are now a week into school in San Antonio, and the back to school excitement has definitely faded at my house (that tends to happen with the first homework assignment!). Usually during the first week of school I don’t have too much trouble getting everyone up and out the door, but as time goes on, it gets more and more difficult.
We’ve had a bit of practice with the early morning routine, and I think we’ve got a pretty good system set up. We’ve never had a tardy, and we’ve only had to drive our kids a couple of times. Let me just say though, that each child is different. Up until last year we never had a problem waking any of our kids up … and then it was our middle child’s turn to start school. Most of this routine came about because of him. Just to give you an idea, I got a call from the school one day asking me to come and bring some clothes, because this child had gone to school in his pajamas! He just forgot to get dressed! Now this child and all the other kids have a checklist, and it has made our mornings a lot smoother!
Here is how we do it:
Night Before Prep
The night before is when we do all the big stuff. We make sure that shoes and clothes are in their designated spots. At our house we have a table with baskets and everyone places their outfit in before bed. Make sure to include shoes and socks, those are always the things that seem to go missing when you’re running behind.
Before bed is also when we set out the lunch boxes in the kitchen. I try to make sure that I have most of the lunch stuff prepped so that in the morning we can just pack and go. For more on how we do lunch, you can check out this post.
We have a set of hooks in our hallway that are designated for backpacks and clipboards. The clipboards hold homework and things that need to be signed. The night before we clear the clipboards and zip up the back packs. Since my kids started walking to school this year, we also keep travel umbrellas in the backpacks. You can never find an umbrella first thing in the morning at our house!
Maybe the most important thing about the night before is consistency. We have a bedtime and a bedtime routine. My kids need a certain amount of sleep to be coherent in the morning, so they know what time they need to go to bed.
Morning High 5
You can’t underestimate the importance of something as silly as a high 5 in the morning. I learned this trick from a friend of mine a long time ago, and it has worked wonders for us. We made a list of 5 things that we thought were essential for our kids to do before school, and if they get all of those things done, they get a high 5 on their way out the door. I can’t believe how much my kids look forward to their high 5 every morning. When they get the high 5, they’re in a good mood, and it makes for a great start to their day.
Part of the High 5 is eating breakfast. I think it’s common knowledge that kids need a good breakfast to help the be their most productive selves at school, and part of my job is making sure that a healthy and filling breakfast is available for them. When I’m really on top of my game, I’ll make a hot breakfast, or some muffins, but most mornings my kids get their own breakfast. They’ll either heat up a breakfast sandwich, or have some cereal and a drink.
This year we added a new element to our morning routine, and that’s the power pose. Late one night I was up nursing the baby, and I was watching Ted Talks on Netflix. There was a great segment on Power Posing, and I highly encourage you to watch it here. It has made a big difference with our kids and it only takes 1 minute. Give it a try to see how it works for you!
What makes your morning run smoothly?