We did it. Again. Everyone dressed and out the door with socks on and food to eat.
It’s like a mini celebration.
Like my lunch box journey, the smoothness of school mornings have improved greatly over the years. Most of that comes down to having good systems in place to ensure everyone is fed, dressed in the right clothes, has their lunch box and other items they need. These are the six main things that work for us:
1. Wake up early enough
If I could give just one tip for a calmer morning, it is this: get up earlier. It hurts to even write it but it’s true. Our mornings are almost relaxed now, and while organisation a big piece of the puzzle, it’s this one thing that has has greatest impact on our mornings. Everyone needs time to wake up, warm up and get ready. Most mornings, I set my alarm for 5:30am and I start waking the kids up (if they are not already awake) from about 6:00am to be ready by 8.00am.
Update from term 2: Now that we have systems established, I don’t have to get up quite so early. I now get up from about 6:00am to 6:30am depending on how organised I am the night before and what I have on the next day.
2. Have a routine
My older children develop their own routine now. For the younger children, they appreciate a sequence guide to follow. You can buy fancy charts but I just make one at home. I insert a table into Word, and then together, the kids and I go through clip art images to make up their own personalised routine chart to stick on the wall or fridge
In the past, I have also done up printables with morning / afternoon tasks the kids can tick off for the week. (You can print these PDF files if it’s helpful – just click on the image for the printable PDF file). Another idea is this fab peg chore fridge system.
Tip: Laminate and then use a whiteboard marker to tick so the kids can rub it off and start again the next week.
3. Easy Breakfast
The bowls/plates and a variety of breakfast options are in an easy place for all to reach. For the past few years, the kids just get up and make their own breakfast (which does works well). However, this year I’m focusing on different things for our family. Last year put a lot of strain on family life with my husband working away a lot of the time (he wrote about the impact here), and I sense an urgent need to invest in connection. So one of the things I’m doing this year is chatting to the kids in the mornings while making breakfast for everyone. But it’s still very simple and easy.
4. Use systems
I’ve developed different systems that help keep things organised for school, from where the shoes are kept to keeping the uniforms out of the bedrooms. The systems aren’t perfect, but it helps to keep the house running. You can read more about how I organise my kids for school here: Organising Kids for School.
5. 10 Minute Call
I tell the kids to start making their way to the car 5-10 minutes before we need to leave. There are always last minute things to organise.
6. Have something to look forward to
I weave things I enjoy into the mornings too! Like coffee. Or a nice breakfast (check out these heathy morning puddings). I make the time for it.
School mornings don’t always go to plan. There are still missing socks and knotted hair, but I’ve learned to create the type of mornings I aim for by doing a little planning, facilitating the needs of the kids and giving myself something to look forward to. It’s about that balance.