Heading back to school is one of the most fun and most nerve racking times for both parents and children. Everyone is excited to see their friends, learn new things, and have fun new experiences. But let’s face it… those school mornings aren’t exactly the easiest. Especially the first few weeks.
If you’re anything like me, it’s hard to get yourself up and motivated and out of the house on time… add in a few kids, breakfast, school supplies and lunches and it can make for a hectic morning.
If you’re not careful, your mornings may start out by including a tardy bell.
Believe it or not, it’s actually really important to have your day start out as smoothly as possible. Think about it, it’s literally setting the foundation for the rest of your day. So if you don’t have your shit together when you start out, the rest of your day has the potential to end up in chaos as well. So here are my top 10 morning hacks to help keep your mornings running smoothly and your kids from having to pick up that tardy slip on their first day of school.
Get some ZZzzzZZzzzZZzzzZs
Everyone knows that kids need to get 8 hours of good quality sleep at night in order to function the next day but it’s just as important for you to get that quality sleep at night too. You may not need a full 8 hours in order to function, but you do need to get 4 to 6 hours of good quality sleep. Without it, it’s hard to function. You’ll end up finding yourself running around in a fog, being grumpy, and just not able to perform like you need to. So parents… hit the sack earlier than you normally would, stop binge watching The Handmaid’s Tales on HULU, and shut off those phones and tablet, and get some sleep.
Wake up before the kids get up
I HIGHLY recommend waking up at least 30 minutes before the kids. I know this means that you have to get up even earlier than you were already planning but trust me it’s worth it. I love being able to begin my day without the noise and craziness of the kids running.
Begin your day with something stimulating
No, I’m not talking about coffee. I’m talking about stimulate your mind. Start out your morning with a bit of yoga, meditation, or just writing in your journal or planning your day. It will allow you to focus your mind, move your body, and ground yourself before heading into your activities.
Write it out
Speaking of journaling and planning, I love to keep a notebook on my nightstand that I can use to write out my plans for the next day. I can also add things to my plans the next day that might pop into my head while I’m preparing for bed. I can then use this list to help me get through the morning, even through that morning, pre-coffee, brain fog and get my daily To-Do list built.
Water before Coffee
Aside from getting up before the kids, this has probably been one of the biggest changes to morning routine I’ve made that has had the biggest impact on my day. Each morning, before I even get out of bed, I have a glass of water. I always keep a bottle of water on my bedside table and when I wake up in the morning I drink at least half of it before I get up. I’ll drink the other half while I’m sitting at my desk working on my daily To-Do list. This is normally while my coffee is being made, but I can say, doing this really does make me feel better. It’s allows me start my day out hydrated and refreshed.
Lay out clothes the night before
Morning times are already crazy enough, who needs to add in the questions and fights about what you’re wearing that day? Spend a few minutes the night before picking out all of the clothes you and the family will be wearing the next day and have them laid out neatly in an easy-to-find place for the next morning. If something needs to be pressed, go ahead and get it done. Don’t forget to have shoes and socks ready too and all the accessories that you may need for the outfits. This will remove all the guesswork and allow for a much more fluid morning. It will also allow kids to have more independence with getting themselves dressed in the morning, again saving you time.
Have lunch in the bag
We all know that our kids are going to have to eat lunch the next day, so go ahead and get it ready before hand. Most sandwiches will keep well in the fridge for a couple of days, so I found that it was easier to just make enough sandwiches for the week, on Sunday nights. Then the night before I’d pack the lunches for the next dat and have it ready to go for the kids to grab out of the fridge in the morning before heading to school.
Prep it and Make it
Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, and it’s important to make sure that kids are having something that will fill them up and help them feel good throughout their morning. But let’s face it, reality tells us that it’s easier to throw a pop-tart at their face as you’re heading out of the door in the morning for them to eat in the car on the way to school. To prevent this from happening, I suggest having something quick and easy to eat ready to go. Make a few bacon, egg, and cheese, sandwiches, some healthier homemade muffins, pancakes, or whatever else your kids may be willing to eat on Sunday and toss them in the freezer. You can also make up a few smoothie packs as well. Then in the mornings, pull out what your kid wants for breakfast, heat it up and let them eat that with some fruit or a smoothie. It’ll be just as easy as the pop-tarts, they can still take it in the car with them, and it’ll be a little healthier because you know it won’t be loaded down with all the salt and sugars of pre-made, store-bought, foods.
Get the kids a list
Just like having a To-Do list helps you to be more organized and helps you to stay on track, a To-Do list for the kids will do the same thing. Put it up in your families command center so they can keep up with everything that they need to do each day. Have an inbox for them to throw all of their paperwork into as soon as they hang up their backpacks, a homework station to put all of their homework in, and have their check list pinned somewhere close so they can check off everything that they have completed and have a reminder of everything that they still need to do
Set your alarm
One of the best things about having phones with us all of the time, is having the ability to have a mobile alarm system with us at all times. So us it. Set alarms to remind you wake up, get the kids up, get dressed, brush teeth, eat, etc. The alarms will seem annoying at first but once you get used to the schedule, it’ll make your day run much more smoothly.
If I could add one more bit of advice, it would be to allow yourself some grace. Some mornings are just not going to go as planned, and that’s ok. If something messes up, allow yourself the ability to move past it. Develop a plan around it and keep moving forward. SO if one kid wakes up sick and you still have to get the other three to two different schools, let sicky stay home with dad or hang out in bed and just get up to hop in the car in their PJs. If someone forgets their homework, Email the teacher and ask if you can fax it to them later that afternoon or email it to them once the kids get home from school. If someone spills something on their clothes in the car, pop out an outfit from the emergency kit in the car and let them change on the way to school.
So there you have it guys, a guide that will hopefully make your mornings run more smoothly. Let me know, in the comment section below, what your favorite tip is and what you plan on trying this year.
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