School is back in session and I’m already mourning the loss of my easy, lazy mornings. Long, leisurely breakfasts will be traded for efficient morning meals and when we head out the door for the day, we’ll be carrying backpacks and work bags instead of coolers and towels. Everyone is excited about the beginning of the school year, but it’s a jarring transition to say the least.
To make the adjustment easier, I’m already thinking about ways my family and I can make the 45 minutes between the kids waking up and all of us leaving the house as stress-free as possible.
Don't Make Lunch at the Last Minute1 of 7
A basket of lunch items in both the refrigerator and pantry makes it easy for parents and kids alike to grab a granola bar or pack of crackers from one basket and a cheese stick or yogurt from the other. Pair with a small baggie of pre-washed and precut fruits or vegetables, and most of lunch is already made.
Sandwiches, wraps or meat and cheese (to go with crackers) can be prepped the night before, and anything that goes in a Thermos can be done quickly in the morning. My kids like leftovers or soup heated and put in their Thermoses and they love taking cereal in a baggie to pour into a Thermos of milk.
Lay Out Clothes the Night Before2 of 7
My kids love coming downstairs in clothing appropriate for the exact opposite of that day's weather forecast. My son tries to wear long-sleeve shirts and pants all summer long and my daughter often needs to be sent back upstairs to take off the tights she's pairing with her summer dress.
I want my kids to have the freedom to pick their own outfits, but I don't have time for several wardrobe changes in the morning. Giving them a little direction at night and verifying their choices saves everyone time and frustration. When I'm really on my game, I have them pick out their school clothes for the entire week. I save myself morning aggravation by planning my work attire at night, too.
Keep Important Items by the Door3 of 7
If a child needs to take something to school on a particular day, I place that item in front of the door the night before. This way, we can't leave the house without picking it up or tripping over it. Backpacks, shoes and outerwear go by the door, too.
Provide a Checklist with Timeframes4 of 7
List exactly what your children are responsible for in the morning, and if possible, include timeframes. Ours has things like: get dressed (including shoes), eat breakfast, pack lunch, brush teeth and hair and pack backpack.
Offer Incentives5 of 7
My kids know there is no TV, books or toys in the morning until they are completely ready for school. If they are on task and have extra time, they can play until it's time to wait for the bus. With a 7:45 a.m. bus pickup, they don't often have time for fun in the morning—but it's a nice reward when they do.
Simplify Breakfast6 of 7
Sometimes my husband or I make the kids breakfast, but we also have easy options so they can whip up something themselves. They like cereal, yogurt, toast, hard-boiled eggs and English muffins with peanut butter. We expect them to make quick breakfast decisions because there isn't much time in the morning for standing in front of the open refrigerator hemming and hawing over the options.