Organizing Your Children’s Morning Routine

The before school shot

(On this day, she decided she wanted to wear her hair in one ponytail and one braid.)

If you have children, you can appreciate the challenges involved in the school day    morning routine.

My daughter is young, so my husband and I are newer to this experience.  A few ideas we implemented along the way have helped us greatly.  If your children are older, then you may very well have their routine figured out. However if you find this to be a struggle at all, continue reading.

We noticed the first challenge when we realized that our daughter could not multitask. Not too many children have this skill set at the age of 5, so I shouldn’t have been surprised. However, it manifested itself when she continually wasn’t finishing her breakfast before school.  So one of the first things we did was to simply focus on eating breakfast.  I pack her lunch while she is eating, so we do get some time to visit and discuss the day ahead.  Other than that though, she eats without the distractions of TV, books, toys, etc.

The next challenge we had was dealing with the stress of her picking out her clothes for the day.  We initially attempted to do this the morning of school.  It only took me a few days of frustration (both her and I) to decide there had to be a better way. It wasn’t though that I should start picking out her clothes (which is what she wanted).  Now, when she takes her evening shower, she picks out both her pajamas and her clothes for the next day.  Problem solved.

For her lunch, I started pre-packaging everything I can once a week into snack size bags for the entire week. I keep one drawer in the refrigerator for lunch stuff.  This makes packing lunch a breeze, as all I have to do is make her mainstay (sandwich or bagel in example) and grab the rest from the pre-packaged bags.  This has been a huge time saver for me in the mornings.

And the big (yet little) idea I implemented to ensure that both of us are on the same page in the morning, was to create a school day routine checklist.  Though this may seem too simplistic or even silly to some, never underestimate the power of a checklist– no matter how many things you think you can handle.  This checklist has helped in several ways, but the 2 that stand out as the biggest benefits are:

  1. I now get a daily picture of my daughter to see how she grows throughout the year.  This helped me implement a goal  I had for some time but could never execute.  My daughter helps hold me accountable to this, except on the days she doesn’t want to get her picture taken.  This is OK by me, as I have lots of those days myself!
  2. It’s helped develop my daughters independence, as she can look at the checklist and make sure everything was complete before she leaves for school.

Here is our checklist.  We had to recently add the last text about leaving with backpack and lunch.  It only took me one time to forget this, to know it needed to be added to the list.

Morning Checklist

Do you think something like this could help you with your school day routine?

Helpful insight provided by: Julia Ritzenthaler

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