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It’s Back-to-School season, and we all know what that means! The dreaded weekday morning struggle of getting your kids ready and out the door in a timely manner. No matter how many kids you have, how old they are, or whether they have a Type-A or B personality, your morning is guaranteed to result in fighting with kids, everyone starting their school/work day in a bad mood, forgetting something important at home, and just a whole lot of unnecessary stress and anxiety.
I did not anticipate going back to school this year! I have a 9 month old at home and am trying to make money writing lesson plans on Teachers Pay Teachers. Being a full-time mom, wife, and entrepreneur is hard enough! But randomly last weekend I decided I needed to get out of the house twice a week and do something fun. So, I texted my old boss at Faithful Academy — a local homeschooling academy in Southeast Texas — and asked her if she needed anybody. Long story short, this year I will be teaching American Sign Language — which I could do in my sleep — and a creative/artsy/calisthenics/cooking/etc. class for K-4.
Related: When to Teach Baby Sign Language
Want my Elementary ASL lesson 1 & 2?
What about my ASL 1 Lesson 1 & 2 for Jr High & High School?
So, now I have to balance mommin’, wifein’, me-time (‘cuz that’s super important!), bloggin’, and teachin’. At first I had a minor heart attack, and then I realized I’m the QUEEN of schedule-making. 👸 I wrote down my morning routine, followed it while going to inservice all last week, perfected it, and now I have stress-free mornings just in time for school.
You may be thinking, “She has an infant and no school age kids. She doesn’t relate to me with how stressful our mornings are in our house!” But getting a 9 month old dressed, fed, and packed for grandma’s who lives 45 minutes away from me is just as insane, so I hope you can translate my morning routine into what works for your family.
I will share my routine below, but then after that I want to provide some time-tested advice I’ve received from mamas with school age children!
See also: The Work-At-Home Mom’s Flexible Schedule
My Morning Routine
Night before: My clothes laid out, Joshua’s backpack packed, Bible by my bed
1. Wake up and have God-Time – 6:30
2. Get dressed, brush teeth, make Joshua’s and my breakfast – 7:00
3. Wake up Joshua, change diaper, get him dressed – 7:20
4. Joshua breakfast (me trying to eat breakfast) – 7:30
5. Put Joshua in car seat and head out the door – 7:50
6. Leave for MiMi and Pop-Pop’s – 8:00
7. Meet MiMi to hand over Joshua – 8:30
8. Work – 9:00
You may also enjoy: How to Manage Your Time with a Baby
Back-to-School Advice from Real Moms!
Some wonderful mama’s dished out their best advice for helping all you ladies have stress-free weekday mornings from August to June! If these ladies wanted credit, I tagged them next to the advice they gave! If you use the advice or just really like it, make sure to click on their links and follow them as a big “THANK YOU!”
Check out: The 10 Mommin’ Commandments
Before the First Day of School
1. Write down a morning routine with specific times like I did above
2. Practice this routine for a week or two before school starts so you and your kids won’t be running around like a chicken with its head cut off on the first morning of school. 🐔 #ImFromTheSouth
Weekend Before Each Week of School
3. Choose all clothes for the week (mama’s clothes included)
👚 Either put them in drawers with daily labels like this, this, or this — or hang them in order in a designated area in the closet. (Thank you, Stephanie Buckner for this tip!)
4. Meal prep
🍽️ Pre-make breakfast, lunch, snacks, and dinner — if you’re feeling up to it. You can put cereal servings in baggies ready to pour and milk servings in sealed containers if you want to be extra.
🍽️ Pour baby formula powder servings and separate portions of baby food. Remember, baby food only keeps up to 3 days in the fridge, so you will have to do this again later in the week.
🍽️ Ashlyn Ivy Carrell, owner of T&B Creations, suggests making homemade mini pancakes, freezing them, and then heating them in the microwave each morning for a quick and yummy breakfast.
The Night Before a School Day
5. Lay out clothes if they aren’t in an easily accessible place. I lay my clothes on the couch right outside of my bedroom so I can put them on right before I let the dog out.
6. Straighten Hair/Shower
💄Anything that can be done the night before that involves hair, hygiene, etc. get it done. I straighten or curl my hair the night before and then do any touch-ups that need to be done quickly the morning of. Use heavy-duty hairspray like TREsemme or Big SexyHair. Don’t you wish there was a makeup that could stay on your face for a week. ☹️
7. Get kids in the habit of putting everything in their backpack when they’re done with homework.
📝 We all know habits can take some time, especially with kids, so walk them through it the first few times, patiently remind them the next few times that they forget, and have consequences after that. Make sure to explain to kiddos that when they don’t do this we all have a stressful morning.
8. Have everything by the door and a checklist
🎒Make a generic checklist for things your kids will need everyday and check that list the night before. This list could include (click each link available to see Amazon’s best sellers):
✏️ Pencil bag
✏️ Folder/ Binder / Notebook for each class
✏️ Permission Slip
✏️ Snack (if it doesn’t need to be refrigerated)
✏️ PE clothes
✏️ Lunch money
🎒If there is something your kiddo needs to bring that is not usually on the list either write it on a sticky note and attach it to the list or laminate your list and add this item in dry erase marker.
9. Fill water bottles with water and ice and place in the fridge. (Thank you Josie McElvain for this tip!)
10. Place tomorrow’s lunch in your kid’s lunch kit and put back in the fridge ready to grab!
11. Get gas!
⛽ We all tell ourselves the lie, “I’ll wake up early and get gas in the morning.” No, you won’t! Get it tonight! #PreachingToTheChoir #Guilty 💁♀️
12. And while you’re at it, FIND YOUR KEYS! You know we parents spend way too much time searching for our keys in the morning. Put those keys right by the door or in your purse (same place every time) the night before so you’re not spending 10-15 minutes hunting them down the next morning. 🔑 Consider investing in a Tile to help you find your keys!
13. Have coffee ready to go! If you have a coffee pot with a timer, remember to set it. If not, then write turning on the pot into your morning routine. ☕ (Thanks Cheyenne Rae Chatelain for these tips! Follow Cheyenne on her personal Facebook and Instagram and her wonderful mom community advice page: Mommin’ Ain’t Easy.)
14. Turn off screens 30 minutes before bed. 📵
The National Sleep Foundation has discovered that no screens before bed results in a better sleep and other wonderful benefits, not to mention some quality family-time and/or time to prepare for tomorrow.
The Morning of a School Day
15. Get up 15-30 minutes early to spend time in the Word
🙏🏾 I started this habit last week and I’m loving it! Before I even step out of bed I pray over myself. I think about my day and all of the potential things that could give me anxiety, anger, etc. and I pray about it or pray scripture over myself. My go-to’s are The Serenity Prayer (full version), The Prayer to the Holy Spirit, and 1 Peter 5:7. I also have a verse of the month I choose that speaks to me and pray that over myself. Right now that verse is Proverbs 29:25.
16. Turn off distractions
📺 Morning is not the time to be on YouTube, watch TV, or be on tablets. I used to turn on Netflix while getting ready and I would catch myself staring at the screen for moments at a time or wanting to finish my show before leaving the house even if I was running late.
17. Wake up kids 15 minutes before they actually need to get up. You know they’re going to drag around, so instead of having to fight them to get up right away, give them some time to wake up. (Thanks again to Stephanie Buckner for this tip!) ⏰
18. Have a morning playlist
🎵Start it at the same time every morning — probably as soon as you wake up the kids. Eventually, your kids, even young kids who can’t tell time, will know how much time they have left to get ready based on how many songs are left. Choose fun and positive music such as Good Morning by Mandisa or The Blessing by Kari Jobe. When the last song starts right before it’s time to leave, remind your kids, “Okay, we’re heading out the door as soon as this song is over!”
🎵 Another benefit of this is my mind doesn’t wander to the things that give me anxiety because I’m too busy praising God, so my day starts out a lot more positive!
19. Teach kids to make their own breakfast
🥣 Whether it’s heating up the meals you’ve already prepped, pouring cereal into a bowl, or putting a pop-tart into the toaster, this will save you time to get ready by not having to worry about what the kids are eating. Have your older kids help the younger kids if needed.
20. Have kids read a short devotional during breakfast
📘 I grew up doing this and as an adult I look back and recognize multiple benefits. Of course, your child is starting their day with Jesus, but also distracted by something to keep them out of your hair for a moment. Also, the reading benefits! Tell your child that they should be finished with breakfast by the time they finish reading their devotional (or vice versa).
📘 Talk to your kids about their devotional on the way to school. This will keep the positivity going all the way to school! Also, it will keep the kids from fighting and you from road rage — hopefully.
21. Have a 5-Minute makeup routine
💄Before the school year starts, write down exactly what makeup you can do in 5 minutes because, trust me, you will not be able to make those decisions efficiently the day of.
💄If you have a teen or pre-teen daughter who does her makeup, make sure she has a routine as well or knows that she has to wake up earlier if she is going to do full-face.
💄My 5-Minute makeup routine is as follows (click the links to see what products I LOVE:
💋 Eyebrow pencil
💋 Eye shadow
💋 Lip balm
💋 Setting spray
💄As of right now, my routine takes 9 minutes, so I either need to tweak it or get faster at it… or wake up 4 minutes earlier.
22. DON’T TRY NEW THINGS
⛔ A school morning is not the time to try a new hairdo, breakfast recipe, route to school, etc. Things go wrong, it can throw a kink in your schedule, and you can end up getting to school or work late.
It’s the beginning of a new school year. Your kiddos may be starting a new school or starting school period! They have all new teachers and all new classes. The first day of school is already going to be nerve-racking in one way or another for both your children and you. Anything that you see that could cause any negativity in the morning, figure out a way to make it better. Work with your kids and have them come up with ideas so they can take responsibility. Starting your day with positivity, order, and love will benefit both you and your kids and will determine how to rest of the day goes.
Routines will take time and sometimes they won’t work out — like when my phone wouldn’t connect to WiFi recently so I couldn’t listen to worship music — but take each moment as it comes and each “mess-up” as a learning experience. And remember, YOU’VE GOT THIS, MOM!