Morning Hacks for Back to School
Mornings can be stressful, especially with school-aged kids. Getting your crew out the door, fully equipped for the day, and on time is the holy grail of parenting goals. Here are some hacks to put into practice as the school year approaches so we’ll all be pros come September.
The Night Before
Morning hacks should be called night-before-hacks, because that’s really when the magic happens. If you can get organized the night before, mornings will be far less stressful. The chaos stems from trying to do so many things in a short amount of time while everyone is rushed. Choose a few tasks to complete the night before. Here are my family’s favourite things to check off the list before we turn in for the night:
- Fill up the kid’s water bottles and put them in the fridge. This is a great job for the kids!
- Make lunches. Have the kids choose a few healthy snacks and have an adult work on the main course (be it sandwiches, pasta salad, or meat and cheese).
- Pack lunch boxes and put them in the fridge. If the ingredients are already chilled come morning, ice packs can last longer because they aren’t working as hard. Especially important if lunches include meat or dairy!
- Have the kids organize their back packs. Stray homework and show-and-tell objects need to be in the bag before lights out. Have a home base for the kid’s backpacks (I suggest near the door) so they know where to find them as they’re heading out for the day.
- Pick out your outfits for the next day. Give yourself and your kids the freedom to hem and haw over an outfit and change your minds five times, if you like!
- Get a good night’s sleep. This one is the most important! Mornings are hard enough, so be kind to your body and your family by making sure that you’re well rested for the day ahead.
By putting some night-before-hacks into place, your mornings will be significantly more peaceful. But here are a few additional tips to make the mornings flow smoothly:
- Wake up early! Early is a relative term, of course. If you’re up all night with a baby, disregard this completely and sleep when you can! But if you have to be out the door by a certain time, give yourself wiggle room by setting your alarm 20 minutes earlier. It’s a sacrifice, but you’ll benefit by being able to take those extra few minutes doing your makeup and having actual conversations at the breakfast table. The easiest way to not be rushed is to have more time.
- Have a breakfast menu and stick with it. When you have multiple children, it’s easy to let breakfast (or any meal) get out of hand. One way to keep things hemmed in at breakfast is to offer the same meal to everyone. It saves time during meal prep and clean up, and keeps things less chaotic.
- No distractions allowed. Mornings are already harried so put a ban on screens, devices, and consuming activities. For my family, this means no smart phones or Lego because they’re just too hard to pull away from and not helpful when we’re already in a hurry.
Mornings don’t have to be hard. As each family member goes their separate ways for the day, we want those first few hours of the day to be formative and sustaining, not draining and stressful. Hopefully these hacks can make your mornings a better foundation for the day and have everyone in your family starting the day on the right foot.