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Simple Strategies for School Morning Routines

The thing about school mornings is that life doesn't stop happening just because you have a kid that needs to get to school on time. New babies, illness, career all happens. Creating a morning routine will help you put your mornings on autopilot so you have more capacity to deal with the rest of life. Because it just keeps happening.

Here are 5 strategies for creating a morning routine that works for you and your kids:

1. Give them ownership

If you are using a routine chart for the first time (or need a reset), let your child get involved with setting up the routine chart. Make sure you know what routines need to happen first and set clear boundaries over what aspects of the routine they can choose.

  • They can help choose which images will represent each routine. Help them find the letters on the keyboard to type their name at the top of their chart.

  • They can choose which order some of the steps go in. Keep the choices limited to keep it from getting overwhelming.

This is also a great time to analyze what things they might be able to start doing for themselves - filling up their water bottle, helping to pack their lunch, etc.

2. Night before prep

For especially slow movers, it can make a huge difference to do some prep the night before. Add them to your bedtime routine, so you don't forget. Here are some steps that are easy to do ahead of time:

  • pack backpack

  • pack lunch and place in fridge

  • shoes, jacket, and backpack by door

  • set out clothes OR sleep in school clothes

3. Clear expectations

Go over the steps the night before and set their chart right next to their bed. In the morning go through the routine with them for several days until they get the hang of it.

4. Build in connection

Consider what rituals of connection you can build into your morning. The simpler the better. Here are a few ideas that will fill their cup (and yours) at the start of the day:

- Morning snuggle first thing

- Brush teeth together

- Sit and eat breakfast together

- play I-spy on the way to school

- create a special handshake for drop-off

5. Check off Routines

Most of us find checking things off a list very satisfying and kids are no different. Here's my favorite chart for kids who enjoy that simple reward:


For kids who need constant reminders to stay on track, it can help to laminate their chart and have them carry it with them as they go about their routine.


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