Next week my kids head back to school. YES and DOUBLE YES! They will hate that I’m saying that but after two long summer months it’s time to get back to the school thing. And to celebrate that, I’m going to remind my kids (and all of you who are reading) of some back to school tips that help us manage our crazy mornings.
Mornings during the school year can be hectic…am I right? After all the days of sleeping in during the summer, suddenly you are forced back into an early wake up call. And in the span of an hour it seems like you do 100 things to get inside the school building just in time.
It doesn’t have to be so hectic. In fact, I could count on one hand the number of times last year where we were truly rushed and almost didn’t make it to school.
Those who know me will say, “But you only live seven minutes from school!” To which I say, it doesn’t matter. When I worked in education I knew of people who lived that close and seemed to be late every day. So with that in mind, here are some back to school tips that we’ve learned over our 11 years of seeing our kids off to school.
6 Back to School Tips for Your Morning Checklist
Our mornings aren’t perfect by any means. But doing these things has sure helped us:
#1 Tip: Establish a routine
Kids need and – if they will admit it – love routines. Routines provide direction and focus to get things done. So establish one for what happens in the morning.
Do your kids want to eat breakfast or get dressed first? Make their bed or clean up in the bathroom? Most likely each one of your kids will be different. So work with them to map out a plan of what works best. This will help especially when it comes to things like managing bathroom time for multiple kids. (We have 4 so I know of what I speak.)
For the most part, our kids all come downstairs and eat breakfast first. Then they get dressed and clean up in the bathroom. After that they make sure all their books and any extra clothes they will need for the day (PE, sports clothes) are in their backpacks. It’s the same system day in and day out.
The best part is that it requires very little management on my part. I just have to keep them moving in the event they get sidetracked.
#2 Tip: Do as much as possible the night before
I should have put this as the #1 of the back to school tips. I’m amazed at how much time (and stress) it saves.
We try to prep as much as possible the night before. That means we are taking evening showers, looking at all homework assignments that need attention, signing any teacher notes, laying out clothes for the next day and packing lunches.
Our kids always have time in the evenings to do these things. It takes them about 30 minutes to get everything ready.
#3 Tip: Get organized
How many times have you been searching for that missing folder or shoe because it’s not where it’s supposed to be? The solution for this is to get more organized.
Our kids know exactly where to put everything when they get home from school. Book bags go here. Lunchboxes go there. Homework goes here. Coats go there.
If they place their school items and clothes in the exact same place each day, they will know where to find it in the morning. This will eliminate the frantic effort of searching down things they will need for school.
#4 Tip: No TV, video games or social media
There is absolutely no TV or video games in the morning. We also try to limit social media in the morning although that is getting tougher with teenagers.
TV, video games and social media serve as a complete distraction from morning prep. If your kids get involved with them they lose track of time and have to scramble to get ready. This results in stress and items forgotten.
If our kids have extra time in the morning, we have them read. They are usually reading the Bible or some other non-school related, fun reading material.
#5 Tip: Breakfast in the kitchen
As much as possible eat breakfast at home and not on the road. This will require kids to get up in enough time to spend 10 minutes eating at home.
Eating on the road causes all kinds of stress. You have to go to a drive-thru that may be packed and cost you valuable minutes in getting to school. Your kids could spill food on their clothes. Or your teen driver could have an accident because they are trying to scarf down an Egg McMuffin while trying to make that left hand turn.
Eating in the kitchen limits distractions. It’s definitely cheaper. It also could provide quality family time if you are in the kitchen with your child.
#6 Tip: Leave early and time the buses
Even though we are only seven minutes from school we still have to fight the buses. We have several that roll though our subdivision. A host of others crowd the road between our house and school.
After about two weeks of school we figure out when certain buses hit certain stops. Then we adjust our departure time from home accordingly. If we end up missing our designated time to leave by a couple of minutes it could make our trip to school five minutes longer.
These are some of the things that work for us. I’d encourage you to put some of these suggestions in play or come up with your own. Not only will it save you time but will reduce the stress of the morning which is always a good thing.
Questions for Discussion: What other back to school tips for managing the mornings do you have? Anyone just have an awful time getting to school every day? What seems to be the biggest hang-up in the morning?