school mornings:10 Tips for Taming the Madness

The kids are back to school. No more sleeping late. No more casual breakfasts.

The chaos of early-rising school mornings has begun!

Transitions are often difficult, and the dramatic schedule change between the lazy days of summer to early-rising mornings ranks up there at the top.

These 10 tips can help tame morning madness and help everyone get to school (usually) on time.

  1.  Ease into Early School Mornings by Setting the Clock Back Before the First Bell Rings

Ease into the school schedule by sending the kids to bed early for at least a week before school starts. 

  2.  Plan Showers for the Night Before

Assign everyone 15 minutes morning time in the bathroom to avoid gridlock.

  3.  Make School Mornings Easier with No-Choice Breakfasts

If it's Monday, we're having cereal. If it's Tuesday, we're having yogurt. There's no time for short order cooks on school days.

  4.  Plan School Outfits in Advance

This is especially important if your kids don't wear school uniforms. On Sunday, get the kids to lay out their clothes for the week ahead.

Make sure there are no rips or tears in any of the chosen clothes, and that everything (including gym clothes and soccer jerseys) is clean.

  5.  Sundays are Key to Your Week

Dole out lunch money, etc. on Sunday nights. Work out carpools in advance of the week ahead.

To plan efficiently, make a family calendar listing everyone's activities in one spot.

No one in the family can commit to anything before they check the calendar and clear it with the chauffeur (mom).

  6.  Make To-Go List for Each Family Member

Post them on the fridge for quick reference each morning. Brian has gym on Tuesdays and Thursdays and band practice on Tuesdays.

So his basic "to go" list for Tuesday would always be topped with gym clothes and trumpet. Help the kids update the lists each Sunday night.

That way you don't get distress calls about forgotten piano books.

  7.  Do As Much as Humanly Possible the Night Before

Get the children to assemble everything they need the night before: backpacks, lunches, stuff for after-school activities (swimsuits, cleats, etc.). If there's a lot of stuff, you can even load the car the night before.

  8. Create In-Out Boxes for Papers and Permission Slips

Lunch money could go here, too.

  9.  Keep Your Keys on a Hook by the Door

Too many buses have been missed because of frantic last-minute key searches.

  10.  Consider Investing in a Second Set of Schoolbooks

I know this sounds expensive - but it really helps. My friend's daughter would up at the doctor's office with back strain from her heavy backpack - and she was only in the fourth grade. Just buy extra copies of texts at the beginning of the year and keep one set at home and one at school.

No more heavy backpacks. No more forgotten books! And no more excuses for not doing homework.

› 10 Tips for Eliminating School Morning Madness