What's Your School Morning Routine?

Updated on August 10, 2010
M.S. asks from Geneva, IL
14 answers

Last year we had afternoon kindergarden and have gotten a little used to hanging out in the mornings. This year will be a huge change for us. One child on the bus at 8:20, another in the car off to pre-school at 8:45, then mom had to head to work. (I can alter my schedule which is why I am starting early this fall).

I plan on getting clothes lined up on Sundays for the week. Lunches the night before, backpacks the night before. What do you do that morning to keep your turtles moving? My kids seem to move so slow ALL the time. We are always late for everything, even if it's an activity that starts at noon.

Please share tips. Thank you!

1 mom found this helpful

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answers from Phoenix on

My oldest is three so I don't have this issue yet, but I have a friend who picked out clothes the night before and still had fights when the girls wanted to wear something different in the morning. After fighting, crying etc. she decided that since kids were bathed the night before they could sleep in the clothes they wanted to wear to school. They don't get dirty overnight and in an agreeable, ready for bed mood, they easily picked out an outfi. It worked wonders for her. Hope this helps!

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answers from San Francisco on

We have tried it both ways, dress first than breakfast and breakfast first than dress. Definitely breakfast first then dress works better because my kids are messy eaters. I get them up an hour before we have to go. After they are completely ready and are eating breakfast then they can turn on the tv as a reward for being ready to go.

I make sure that we leave the house fifteen minutes before school starts even though it only takes six minutes to get there. I find if you at least double the time it takes to get there you can account for traffic or any unexpected delays. We have never been tardy to school. When desperate I make it a game. 'Who can get in the car the fastest?' 'Who has their shoes on?' etc...

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

Mine is older so I have it down!! We have to be out the door at 7:45. I get DD up at 7, she eats some breakfast, then gets her teeth brushed and dressed (we have clothes, hair bows, shoes set up the night before), then hair gets done (which always take the longest) and then she is out the door and ready for her ride. Lunches and outfits MUST be laid out the night before or you WILL have pandemonium in the morning. Make sure also that their backpacks are set. Homework, school notes, etc.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Raleigh on

Go to www.flylady.net. She has a whole back to school section and a kids' section. There are lots of ideas for getting your kids organized.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

We have everything done the night before. Lunches are packed, clothes are pciked, and bags are by the door ready to go - along with any project that may need to go. I like to be completely ready to go before I even get them up. They like to watch a cartoon also. For the last two years, my daughter had breakfast at school so we did not eat at home. My son who will be in kindergarten this year has never been a breakfast fan, and he had snack at pre-k around 10, so he didn't eat either. And my youngest, who is now 3, would just bring a nutragrain bar in the car. We did bus, immediately to pre-k, and then home. I work full-time, so I only do this every other Friday. My sister watched my kids for YEARS and she did this routine with her baby in tow also. It works for us...but every kid and family is different :). Better to have extra cartoon time in the morning than to be screaming at the kids that they are late...good luck!



answers from Pittsburgh on

Clothes ready, backpack packed, special projects ready, etc. I plan lunch but prefer not to pack it til morning, while my (soon) 2nd grader eats his breakfast. I find it goes more smoothly if he's not up TOO early...30-45 min before bus stop is good.
He eats, brushes teeth, hair coming, face washing then dressed last. Shoes on & out the door.

Oh--I had p.m. K and thought it was going to be REALLY tough to get him into a routine when he was used to lounging around and eating breakfast at 9:30-10:00 but I was happy that it only took a week or two to get him into the a.m. groove! Good luck!


answers from Erie on

We have a few simple rules.
1. My children get up no earlier than 45 minutes before they have to walk out the door. If they get up any earlier, they dawdle too much.
2. Lunch is usually packed the night before and almost always made from the previous night's dinner.
3. They must be dressed before coming to the table for breakfast. If it's winter, they must have their snow pants on.
4. Backpacks/notes signed/etc.. always done the night before.

With four children to get ready, I always make sure that they each have a hat and mittens ready to go (in the winter) the night before. I check the weather forecast. Breakfast is simple, cereal and fruit. "Plan ahead" is the Golden Rule around here. And definitely NO TV!



answers from Washington DC on

During the school week , I make the lunches the night before and get out what they will be wearing , and backpacks are ready apart from the lunches. On the morning I get up 30 mins earlier than the kids so I can take my shower in peace , then I wake them up at 7am (need to wake them earlier than needed as they are slow so need a little "wake up" time). By 7.30 I need them to be eating breakfast , then they get dressed , brush teeth , brush hair and then out to the bus for the eldest , once he is on the bus I take my daughter to preschool.

I highly reccommend doing a trial run , because they have so long off of school over the summer they completely forget what it is like to get up and ready for school , so the last week of th summer break I treat like a school week and we get up and ready as though we are off school , that way come first day of school they are semi used to it and we don't have the risk of being late the first day!!!


answers from Phoenix on

You didn't say how old your kids are. Mine are 14, 10 and 7. The kids get up and come to breakfast. Then my 10 yo dtr hops in the shower while the other 2 get their clothes on. She takes a shower in the morning instead of at night because no matter how much water we put on her hair in the morning while brushing it, it still looked a mess! We also have given up on making lunches. It always stressed me out and they never wanted the same things. (I work full time outside the home). So now they all get lunch money and eat the school lunch. This cost us more money, but we have cut back on other things since it's saved us so much stress. Or I should say ME so much stress. I take the 14 yo to school first (she's in a spec needs class) and then have time to drive the other 2 back to school so they don't have to walk (school is practically across the street from the house). I think you have to start the kids at an early age and just keep on schedule. We don't have a lot of "down" time in the morning. They have just enough time to get what needs to be done and out the door. Hope you find something that works for you! Good luck!



answers from Washington DC on

If they move slowly, get them up earlier.
Everyone up at 7am.
Get dressed. Put dirty clothes in hamper. Make bed. Pick up room that should have been picked up the night before.
Coat and backpack.
Give them time limits - you have 10 min. to put your clothes on.
If they don't want to get dressed - fine.. they go to school in their pajamas.
You have until 7:35 to eat your breakfast.
If they don't want to eat - fine. They won't starve. They can eat at lunch time.
It only takes once... :-)
My kids take their breakfast to school because they are teenagers who can't/won't eat immediately upon rising.
When my kids were little they used to give me a hard time about wearing a coat in cold weather. I took a frozen steak out of the freezer and said, "If you want your insides to turn into this, don't wear a coat." I then put the steak back in the freezer and said no more.
They wore their coats AND they buttoned them up.



answers from Chicago on

My Mom got us the audobon bird clock for our kitchen. We have a different bird that chirps every hour when the kitchen light is turned on. So, we can say, "the...o'clock bird just chirped its time to eat breakfast etc" It is a cheerful sound. When the kitchen light is turned off, the birds don't chirp on the hour...



answers from Chicago on

The most obvious answer is NO MORNING TELEVISION. It wreaks havoc on anything that closely resembles a schedule.



answers from Oklahoma City on

I get up at 6:50 and fix breakfast. I get him up at 7:00, he eats and I sit with him and we talk or I just watch him eat. When he's done he washes his hands, gets dressed, brushes teeth, deodorant and fixes his hair. Then he puts on shoes and gets his backpack then out the door by 7:33 to catch the bus at 7:35. If I am taking him to school, same routine except I wake up at 7:20, him up at 7:30, then out the door at 8:00.
I fix his lunch (if taking one), get backpack ready, shoes by front door and clothes picked out the night before..



answers from San Francisco on

We lay our clothes out on Sundays as well--ea. outfit (everything from socks to hairbows) is folded into a leveled hanger in my toddler's closet. She has a chore chart (picture-based w/ velcro-backed 'done' markers) as well as a Time to Teach clock (turns green when she can get out of bed & is the start time of her chore work). As soon as she gets up, she goes potty, makes her bed, puts her lovey away, gets dressed and then comes down to eat breakfast. After that, 1 more potty trip, grab school stuff (backpack, lunch bag, show & tell, books, etc.) and straight to the car.
Toys stay away, TV stays off.
We wake up earlier than I'd like, but it keeps the stress level WAY down, as it gives us some wiggle room if my daughter's slower than usual (or has a struggle w/ the closure on her clothes, or wants to eat a lot for breakfast).
My daughter is pretty cooperative, so I'm lucky in that sense, but in the rare moments where she refused to get dressed (insisted she couldn't get her socks on herself...even though she's been doing it for 2 years) or dilly-dallied, when it was time to leave, we left as-is. She only had to go to school half in her jammies & without eating much breakfast once ;)
Just set your schedule (even an actual schedule on the wall: http://www.lakeshorelearning.com/seo/ca|searchResults~~p|... 'cept with 'get dressed', 'breakfast', 'brush teeth', 'gather supplies', etc. on it. ) so they can see how close they are to 'go time'. It'll really help them to develop a sense of time & to know that it's important to be on time. Allow plenty of time to get where you're going (without having a casual 'Go ahead and take all day' schedule) and be consistent.
Kids crave routine & predictability. They'll fall into line quickly if you stick to it!

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