Are school mornings stressing you out? This successful morning routine for school will give you tips and tricks to get your kids out of bed, ready for school, and out the door on time. Start the new school year off with a stress-free school routine!
There’s a good reason why many parents dread the daily morning rush that comes with raising a family: the stressful morning scramble.
In the absence of a good morning routine schedule, getting your child(ren) up in the morning and ready for school looks a lot like pandemonium. Does any of this sound familiar?
- Yelling to your kids to get out of bed (for the 4th time)
- Searching for missing shoes (how did that happen?)
- The flurry of grabbing all the things (lunch, backpack, homework, etc.)
- Rushing to school (or the bus stop) to get there before you’re late
Creating A Successful Smooth Morning Routine
Oh, how I wish my family was filled with morning people because it would make mornings SO much easier! Unfortunately, other than my husband, my three kids and I struggle to get moving.
And I’m guessing that if you’re reading this, you probably face some of the same struggles we do! Are your mornings rushed and stressful? Yeah, mine too.
You deserve a stress-free start to your school day mornings, and it’s possible to have a great daily routine that gets everyone out of the house in a timely manner. Use these ideas for a happier and healthy morning routine for school.
A chaotic morning routine for school ends up making you (and your kids) late and leaving you uncentered.
And, if you’re anything like me, you usually end up leaving something essential on the kitchen counter (like lunches or permission slips).
But here’s something I’ve learned: the best morning routine is a SIMPLE morning routine!
Use this free morning routine tips and hacks to help your family:
- wake up on time
- get ready faster
- eat a healthy and filling breakfast
- get out the door with minutes to spare
Note: Big kids (middle school, high school, and college-age) can go through this school morning routine independently once they learn it. Help younger kids go through it and know that they’ll eventually start doing it themselves when they’re old and responsible enough.
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How To Create A Stress-free Morning Routine For School
I spent far too many mornings stressed out trying to get the kids ready and out the door.
It doesn’t help that I have a strong-willed child who often struggles in the mornings. When he’s in that mental/emotional space, going to school acts as a sort of “reset.”
But after a few years of seemingly constant morning battles and chaos, I wanted a change to have successful school mornings. After implementing these “secrets” for a smooth morning routine, our mornings have turned around!
Keep your sanity and get your kids to school on time with these effective school morning routine tips!
1. Morning Routine For School Includes Preparing The Night Before
Smooth mornings for school only happen in our house when we prepare the night before!
This may look like:
- completing homework
- prepping lunches (as much as you can do ahead of time)
- packing backpacks (books, papers, homework, headphones, etc.)
- picking the next day’s outfit
- charging Chromebooks (or laptops) and phones
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This eliminates a lot of drama in our house. No freaking out over which shirt to match with those shorts. No stress over an uncharged laptop.
It takes the stress out of trying to do too much in the morning!
2. Plan The Entire Outfit The Night Before
I have three boys. Two of them can get up and pick an outfit for the day without any problems. But my middle son is different in that regard. He struggles with wanting to find the perfect shirt to make his pants/shorts.
Finding just the right outfit can take up to 20 or 25 minutes, which is nearly an eternity when you’re trying to get out the door!
So, with him, we started picking his outfit the night before. Let me just say that it’s made our morning routine for school with him SO much easier!
We check the weather forecast and pull out appropriate clothes for the day. Younger kids may need a little help picking out clothes that are appropriate for the weather (is my kid the only one who wears shorts when it’s under 40 degrees or a sweatshirt in 90-degree weather? 😂)
Lay Out Those Clothes
Then we physically lay the chosen clothes out. We’ve tried two different ways (for him, neither seems to work better than the other):
- lay them out as they would fit on a person (ex: shirt with shorts down below and underwear stacked on top of the shorts, etc.). NOTE: This takes a LOT more floor space since everything is spread out.
- stack them, folded, according to the order that he puts them on (ex: underwear on top with shorts/pants below that, followed by his shirt, then socks, etc.)
This lets my sleepy boy get dressed without thinking about it, the stress of picking out clothes, or running out of time to eat and get out the door.
Take this step to another level by planning out the entire week of outfits on Sunday! Then stack them on shelves or a closet organizer. Personally, I find this method a little less helpful because our weather often changes so much from the forecast just a couple of days out.
3. Designate “Homes” For Everything
One thing that drives me crazy is having stuff scattered all over the place. Not only does it look cluttered, but it also makes it tough to find what you want, when you want it.
And that eats up valuable time in the mornings – which doesn’t make for an effective morning routine for school.
To solve this problem, teach the kids to put things where they belong. We take a few moments before bed to make sure everything is where it needs to be for the morning.
This is one of those important life lessons of organization!
I like to use a combination of hooks, bins, and designated resting places. You could even use a label maker if you want to eliminate any possibility of confusion.
4. Make Lunches Grab-And-Go Easy
We prep this on Sundays. Here’s what we do:
- Buy items like fruit, vegetables, chips, etc. in bulk. Using small storage containers, reusable sealable silicone bags, or plastic resealable bags, portion out enough of these items for each child for the week.
- I have TWO bins (one in the fridge for cold items, one in the pantry for shelf items) where we hold the items for the week so the kids can reach in and grab them for their lunch boxes.
- While prepping lunches each morning, all you need to make are the main dishes. Everything else is grab-and-stuff into the lunchbox!
Fast And Easy Lunch Ideas For Successful Morning Routine For School
To make school lunches easier, check out these helpful posts:
Need some ideas for easy grab-and-stuff lunch items? Try these:
- Cold slice of pizza
- Cheese cubes
- Cut up fruit (ex: mango, pineapple, berries, melons, apple slices, grapes cut in half)
- Hard-boiled egg
- Pasta salad
- Veggie strips (ex: bell peppers, carrot sticks, snap peas)
- Cherry tomatoes
- String cheese
- Green salad with a separate container of dressing
- Apple sauce
Room Temperature/Pantry Items:
- Crackers (ex: Goldfish, Wheat Thins, Pita Crackers, Graham, or Triscuits)
- Chips (ex: potato, veggie, and tortilla)
- Granola (for yogurt)
- Granola bars (or Raspberry Oatmeal Bars)
- Trail mix
- Dried fruit (apples, mango, etc)
- Fruit chips (banana, etc)
- Fruit leather
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5. Establish A Bed Routine
Ever since my kids were little, I’ve established certain things that we do to get ready for bed.
This may differ for smaller kiddos and change as the kids get older (it has for us). Check out How To Create A Healthy Bedtime Routine for Toddlers to help littles settle down for sleep.
Once they get older, make sure to use these 5 Awesome Bedtime Habits to Help You Sleep Better!
Keeping the nighttime routine the same helps everyone prepare for a great night of rest. Don’t forget to cool down the room and have a little white noise so outside noises don’t interrupt sleep!
We trained our kids not to use a nightlight so that they could rest in a dark space. It took time, stepping down from a nightlight to glow-in-the-dark stickers and gradually removing them until none were left.
6. Maintain A Regular Sleep Schedule
The National Sleep Foundation recommends that elementary kids need around 10-11 hours of sleep at night. Keep in mind that’s a guideline, so adjust it slightly to meet your child’s sleep needs.
When our kids were in elementary school, they went to bed by 8 or 8:30 pm. Now that they’re a little older, they go to bed a little later.
And we let our kids stay up a little later and sleep in a little later when we can on the weekends (about an hour difference).
Our goal is to create a healthy life habit of having a consistent bedtime. We are working to teach our kids to listen to their bodies and get the sleep they need (what is this idea that it’s “cool” to be tired?? 🤷♀️)
Practice a little self-care by making sure you get enough sleep at night too. Even if you can’t get to bed on time every night, aim for at least 3 times a week to catch up on sleep.
7. Teach Kids To Use An Alarm Clock
We spent YEARS personally waking kids up for school. And for younger kids, that often works better (anyone else’s kids SLEEP THROUGH their alarm?).
However, learning how to get themselves up is an important life skill, so start having them wake up to an alarm clock.
NOTE: this can also help those kids who struggle to get out of bed. Don’t teach them about the snooze button! Or put the clock across the room so they have to get out of bed and walk over to turn it off!
Once the alarm is turned off, head right into tip #8!
8. Make Beds
Teach your kids to make their beds. It takes only seconds and should be a regular part of your morning routine.
It may sound a little hokey for people who don’t normally make beds, but it sets your kids (and you) up for a productive day.
Give it a try for a week as part of your morning routine for school – I don’t think you’ll ever go back.
9. Brush Teeth
Don’t forget those pearly whites! Dentists have finally indicated that it’s best to brush your teeth BEFORE breakfast rather than after.
I have trained our kids to brush their teeth as part of their morning routine for school before they come down for breakfast.
10. Prepare A Filling Breakfast
My kids are just too hungry in the morning to leave for school without some nutrition. Plus, it’s been shown that kids who don’t eat breakfast don’t learn or perform at their best.
After a night of sleep, kids need to refuel so they can focus on academics rather than their rumbling tummies!
I recommend a protein and carbohydrate combination to stay satisfied until lunchtime (which for some kids is LATE!).
Here are some examples of things that work well for us:
- Stuffed Breakfast Biscuits (AKA Breakfast Bombs)
- Breakfast burrito
- Apple Cinnamon Overnight Oats
- Egg Scramble (eggs, ham, spinach, any other fav veggies, & cream cheese)
- Pumpkin Baked Oatmeal
- Apple slices with peanut (or other nut) butter
- Healthy Breakfast Sandwich
- Fried eggs with toast
- Baked Oatmeal Recipe With Fruit
- Bacon, Spinach & Potato Frittata Muffins and grapefruit
- Greek yogurt with fresh fruit and granola
- Slow Cooker Apple Cinnamon Oatmeal
11. Morning Chores Are Part Of Your Morning Routine For School
We need to get out of the door on time, but that doesn’t mean it’s ok to skip morning chores. Our dog, Maggie, would be SO sad without breakfast!
We have to allow time in our morning routine for school for household chores.
Our kids may complain about doing chores, but they know what our answer will be: we all have to pull our weight to help the household run.
At this point, even the least morning-friendly kids should be awake enough to take care of the pets, put dishes away,
12. Morning Routine For School Final Details
Can’t forget about the hair! We dedicated a drawer in the bathroom that holds brushes, styling gel, etc. so everything is in one place.
If you have kids who want to use various hair bows, clips, etc, I suggest having some sort of basket or tray in the drawer or under the sink to organize them. Even a utensil organizer could work well!
If there are days when a fancier hairstyle is desired (such as picture day), I suggest getting up a few minutes earlier to allow the extra time needed.
Then, of course, there are those days when everyone is SUPER tired. That’s when I crank up some upbeat, cheerful music like our favorite morning songs that you just can’t help but want to dance to.
Starting off the morning with a blood-pumping dance party makes everyone happy!
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Last Essential Tip For Successful Morning Routine For School
This is a leftover habit from when I worked with developmentally disabled adults (pre-kids). But here’s the thing: offering a time countdown helps kids keep track of time and be ready to get out the door.
I start at 15 or 10 minutes before we need to leave (depending on the day). Then I give warnings every 5 minutes (ex: we’re leaving in 10 minutes).
At time to leave, I usually say something like “the train is leaving the station.”
NOTE: if your kiddo needs a visual reminder, consider setting a timer and placing it on the breakfast table or kitchen counter where the kids can see it.
Then it’s grab backpacks, jackets (if needed), lunches, and head out the door!
Don’t Expect Perfection With Your Morning Routine For School Right Away
If this is your first year implementing a morning routine for school, don’t expect it to go smoothly the first, second, or eighth time you go through it.
But, if you stay consistent, mornings will go much more smoothly before you know it.
Morning Routine For School – More School Morning Inspiration
If you found this post helpful, check out these other ideas too:
- Time Capsule Worksheet: School Years Memory Keeper
- 19 Must-Have Backpacks For Teen Girls
- 15 Insanely Perfect Backpacks For Teen Boys
- Free Back To School Coloring Pages
- Top Back-To-School Preparation Tips & Activities
- 15 Back To School Lunch Hacks You Need
- Your Back To School Guide: Best Ways to Save Time & Money