The one lost shoe, the form that needed to be filled in yesterday, the missing keys or hairbrush. All it takes is ONE thing for that morning routine with kids to be totally thrown into disarray! From calm and collected to a mad rush, yelling at each other and starting the day feeling less than great. We’ve all been there and it’s not a good way to be heading into school or work. Thankfully I’ve got some ideas to help, having had to fail many times myself and improve our systems, with 14 years of parenting my 4 kids under my belt!
I’ve got 7 simple systems you can set up TODAY that will make everything run a lot more smoothly going forwards. All of them are easy and make loads of sense, you’re probably already doing some of them! I also have a free, printable visual checklist for morning routines that can work wonders for younger children particularly.
1: Prepare breakfast the night before
This tweak is so easy to do, you can even ask the children to set it up ready after dinner. We have push-button containers that are easy to open, meaning even the youngest can help themselves to cereal. Older ones know how to make their own toast/ microwave porridge and the bowls and utensils are all ready to grab and go. Self-serving, or at the very least, having everything set out ready to go, saves so much time!
2. Lay out clothes the night before.
This one saves so much faffing! When mine were really little I did this for them, and now they can do it themselves. It cuts out morning stresses and searching for items of uniform too (if in a uniform school!)
3. Use a visual timetable checklist
This helps younger children know what tasks they need to do in order to get ready to leave. Visual timetables are simple but powerful as they reduce the need to nag and remind. Use a wipe-clean pocket wallet like this one with a dry wipe marker so that it can be reused each morning. We also have a similar version for after school. You can make your own by just writing a list on paper and slapping it inside the pocket wallet, facing the other side so that they turn it over to complete after school. Mine are very individual per child, for example listing which instrument they need to practise. Older children can use a simple written checklist instead, it still helps enormously at secondary school age!
If you would like to download our visual timetable for free, you can do that by clicking the image below!
4. Make a place for their shoes to live!
Make sure that they take their shoes off and add them to this place as soon as they enter the house. This part is key! We have a larger cupboard for the rest of the shoes, but the pairs they need for school all need to stay in this one, designated spot in the hallway. It helps so much!
5. Create a school equipment station
Set up a shelf or basket somewhere near the front door for his purpose. For us, this is a basket on the sideboard in the hall, into which they dump their water bottles, folders, books, letters from school, shin pads etc. The next morning they then know exactly where to find those items and can add them back to their school bags.
6. Make a home for the school bags
Encourage them to be added there as soon as they enter the house so that they can be picked up quickly as they leave. For us this is again a basket. A cupboard or set of hooks would work well too.
7. Create a last-minute-basket.
For a while it was ME that was making us late as I constantly misplaced my house keys and caused last minute stress for everyone. Now I have a small basket just big enough to contain my keys and the hairbrush, which seems to be the other thing we do just before leaving! Now we always know where those items are and it’s so much easier to get out of the door on time.
So there you go! 7 Simple Tips for an easier morning routine with kids. I hope you found those helpful and that they visual timetable comes in useful.
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