Here’s an easy, no nagging, stress free morning routine for school that’ll help your kids get up, get ready, and get out the door.
Next year I will have a 4th grader, 3rd, grader, 1st grader, and Kindergartner to get ready each morning.
And out the door.
By 7:15 a.m.
I don’t need to tell you that this is what movies like Cheaper By The Dozen are made of.
Lots of beds to make, socks and shoes to put on, teeth to brush, and grits to eat. Lots of tears and shrieking and “get in the vannnnnnnnn!” if things aren’t going well.
One morning early on, I was actually so distracted by my racing heart beat from the School Morning Madness that I didn’t gauge my gas well and thought I could “make it.”
Then we broke down at the fire station less than a mile from the school.
We had to walk in a ditch to school because there aren’t sidewalks in the sticks.
I don’t know what to say.
I rock at life.
So that was that and I made some Big Changes, and now we have amazing morning routines for school mornings. Everyone is at the door on time ready to leave the house and I am not yelling.
These school morning routines work so well I barely do anything and have 3 kids (plus my 3 year old) out the door dressed on time.
Oh, and their rooms are clean too!
An Effective Morning Routine For School
Here’s what we’ll cover, all the things that make for a good school morning routine.
It goes without saying – or does it – that a great school morning routine is usually preceded by a bedtime routine that gets them into bed at a decent hour!
Table Of Contents...
If you’d like more specific strategies, be sure to check out my bestselling Simple School Routines.
Some mothers like to go in and wake up their little ones with a kiss on the forehead and snuggle.
This is precious and sweet when it can happen.
But having 3 kids that need to get up and at ’em on school mornings, that doesn’t work for us. Instead, we use alarm clocks.
This helps them get up and get ready for school while I’m getting my own chores down.
By letting your child choose an alarm clock and setting it for a good time, you’re helping your child learn independence and feel the satisfaction of starting their day on their own.
- Figure out what time your child needs to wake up based on their personality. Are they fast moving or slow?
- Give slower children more time so you don’t have to rush them, but not so much they start putting together a puzzle and forget to get ready altogether. #askmehowIknow
Want your kids to learn to independently follow their routines? These visual routine cards do the trick.Learn More
So getting dressed can be the Exact Source of so many power struggles on school mornings. We have these garment bags per child who goes to school.
In the Day Of The Week Garment Bags we have the pants, top, and socks.
If you typically don’t love your child’s choices when they dress themselves, approving everything in the bags then letting them dress themselves goes a long way in the mornings.
Also, if you don’t want to pack for the whole week at once, it’s a good idea to let your child choose their own clothes the night before to save time (and power struggles) in the morning.
Tidy Up Routine
I am not gonna lie…. I can’t stand a mess.
So I have all kinds of routines and systems to help keep the house as tidy as can be.
And one of these is that – before the kids come down/out of their rooms for breakfast – they make their beds and tidy their rooms.
- We use these routine cards to help the kids learn the routine, then they can do it by heart.
- I like bedding that’s easy to make. Nothing too complicated. Some of my boys just use blankets instead of bedspreads since we are in Florida and it’s hot.
- They pick up what’s on the floor, put away pajamas, and will bring down their sheets to the laundry room if there were any potty accidents in the night.
Now this took a while to figure out.
I had one child wanting me to make them grits, another wanted oatmeal, the baby wanted cereal even though it takes him 2343252 hours to eat it and we have 5 minutes.
It was a madhouse and I had no mercy.
One morning my mother was in charge of getting the kids ready and found a better way and now, I stick with it.
- Decide what your children’s breakfast options are. Healthy breakfasts are a plus!
- Where possible (if it doesn’t need to be refrigerated), put it on the table with bowls and utensils the night before so it’s ready in the morning.
- Get a container that keeps breakfast foods like oatmeal packs, grits, breakfast bars, rice cakes, etc. in one place. Put the container on the table if it’s out of reach of the kids in side the pantry.
- Teach your little ones how to prepare anything that requires doing.
This Is KEY!
Otherwise you are stuck at the kitchen table heating up oatmeal when you might need to be spraying your children’s hair to keep lice away or trying to sneak hair gel on your boys’ heads while they’re distracted.
JK. Okay fine, jk about the jk.
Out The Door Routine
So we usually pack lunches and snacks the night before and position the backpacks in one spot for ease of access.
Each morning one of the chores that needs to be done is to take the lunchboxes out of the fridge and put them into the backpack.
- Eat breakfast
- Brush teeth
- Check backpack for snack and lunchbox, zip up.
- Go to “meeting point” when kids are fully ready.
After they’ve eaten breakfast, made their beds, brushed their teeth, they get their backpacks and go wait outside by the van. Depending on where you live, this might not be what you choose to do, but consider it.
This helps you see who is not ready so you can help nudge them along.
At times, I’ll even have the kids go get in the van and wait if I sense that one child is having a Bit Of A Breakdown and needs some more attention.
Morning Routine For School Printable
Get your printable morning routine cards here.
These work great throughout the school year AND summer and are also helpful with younger kids.
Our School Morning Routine
- 6:45 am – Alarms go off, kids get up, get dressed, make beds, tidy rooms (I do a sweep to make sure everyone is up and at ’em and put lunch boxes into backpacks)
- 7:00 am – Kids make their way to the kitchen for breakfast, eat, get on jackets, and backpacks
- 7:15 am – We aim to walk out the door and get in the van
Got a Kindergartner? Here’s my two cents… Kindergarten Morning Routines Little Ones Can Do On Their Own!
Simple School Routines
Follow my 3 step system to organize your mornings, afternoons, and evenings to minimize the chaos and micro-managing.Learn More
Troubleshooting Tips For Your School Morning Routine
Some kids are genuinely slower moving than others. First, ask your child what is causing the delay and see what gems they offer up.
Next, wake your child up earlier, remove all consistent distractions and simplify as much as possible. Remove choices that cause delay.
First let them wake up with an alarm, then come in after it has gone off and offer a quick cuddle and some encouragement. As they absorb one task on their own, add another until they are able. Encourage them and even reward them for gaining some more independence. You don’t have the keep up the rewards, but use them as motivation. The goal = completing the morning routine on their own.
If kids aren’t motivated to get up then you need to incentivize them. First, make sure they go to bed at a proper age appropriate early time so they are ready to get up. Let their alarm wake them, then let breakfast be downstairs. Put music on, set a timer, reward a fast pace, and set consequences.
Whenever they need to get up at a certain time! If your child goes to preschool or elementary school (or even if you homeschool and start at a certain time) it’s a good idea to give your child an alarm clock. You can always go in and make sure they are up and greet them with a hug!