As summer winds down and a new school year filled with uncertainty is on the horizon, one thing is for sure: mornings are hectic. After months of no schedules, getting back on track, with lunches packed, agendas signed, both left AND right shoes located, is a lofty goal we all share. But making it happen? That’s a feat. Try practicing some of these things each day whether you’re leaving the house or not and once school starts, getting school started on time will be a breeze.
Organize & prep your seasonal clothing shift
Getting clothing organized ahead of time will make mornings easier once school starts. And even if you don’t do a big shop before school starts, organizing your kids’ clothes so they’re prepared to take an active role in dressing is a great way to improve self-esteem and is a time saver too.
Warm days usually linger well into September, so don’t pack away all of your kids’ summer clothing just yet. Instead, keep out a few of your kids’ faves and pack the rest away in clear bins with labels so they’re easy to spot and grab next year when the weather warms up. Be sure to keep out any clothes that will not fit your kids next year and put them aside to sell, donate or pass on.
Make breakfast DIY
Simplifying breakfast can work wonders to save you some time during the morning time crunch. Have your kids help you on the weekend with some make-ahead breakfast prep and allow them to choose their own nuts and fruit for delicious meals that keep kids included. Here are a few ideas for easy breakfast meals – a quick online search will provide you with tons of great recipes.
- Breakfast bars or even breakfast cookies – make these ahead with kids and they’ll last all week in the fridge
- Overnight oatmeal – prep the night before and let your kids add fruit and nuts
- Breakfast toast – let your kids get creative with toppings like avocado, hard-boiled eggs made ahead of time, sliced fruit and nut butters or honey.
- Healthy cereal – make your own granola on the weekend or combine some healthy cereal options. Kids can add fruit or yogurt for a yummy and healthy breakfast.
- Yogurt parfaits – easy to make ahead of time, prep these in small mason jars so kids can grab and go when necessary.
Plan out clothes for the week
Each weekend, take some time with your kids to pick out clothes for the week. If they’re old enough, let them choose their own and you can approve them afterward. Or, if they’re still a bit young, allow them one day per week to get creative and choose their own clothes – with no intervention by you! Whatever they choose, as long as weather appropriate, let them wear it, mismatched prints and all. Choosing clothes and dressing themselves is a simple way to help kids own their individuality and power and to express their creativity. It may not always be your taste, but hey – indulge their use of imagination and revel in their beautiful uniqueness.
Connect each morning with positivity
Planning ahead will help alleviate morning stress, but keep in mind that mornings are also one of the best times to connect with your kids before a busy day that may include some school or social stress. Each morning, take a few minutes to talk about the day ahead and include some positive affirmations, mantras or goals. Affirmations like “I am brave”, “I am strong”, or “I make good choices”, are powerful messages that create lifelong habits of positive self-talk. Later that day when you reconnect, check in to see how the day went and how the positive messaging translated throughout your child’s day.
Play upbeat morning music to get the day moving
Music can get the grumpiest, sleepiest kid moving in the mornings. Start the day with some fun, upbeat tunes to help you all feel a little lighter. Music is also a great way to keep the routine in place. Offer your kids the length of a song or two for different morning tasks like dressing, grooming and preparing their backpacks and outerwear. Music makes it fun and also teaches kids appropriate time frames for certain tasks. Here are a few of the faves in my home:
- Here Comes the Sun – The Beatles
- Happy – Pharrell Williams
- Don’t Worry Be Happy – Bobby McFerrin
- This list of the top 20 happy songs by Billboard
Have a backup plan
Even with the best intentions, sometimes the days get away from us. If your morning has been highjacked by one calamity or another, don’t fret. Plan ahead for tough days by keeping a few extra emergency items in your garage or car to grab at the last second. Extra clothes, including shoes and rain or snow gear, have saved many a trip back to the house or school. Keep some extra snacks and water bottles on hand as well for days when breakfast gets interrupted or a fit of hangry (hungry +angry) moodiness sets in.
When we teach our kids how to prepare for school and get themselves ready on their own, we help boost confidence and teach accountability. We also send the message that we believe in them and their ability to get things done! As we offer support, positivity and a helping hand when necessary, without taking over or doing it for them, they hear loud and clear how much we trust in their abilities.