School mornings can be hectic, no matter how old your kids are. This school year, make things a little easier by preparing the night before and streamlining your kids’ morning routine. Follow these tips and tricks to get your family out the door with ease.
Make sure they get plenty of sleep
When kids are tired in the morning, they can be grumpy and uncooperative when getting ready (plus unfocused during school). Make sure your kids get plenty of sleep. Children ages five through nine normally need about 10 to 12 hours of sleep each night. Kids ages 10 to 12 need approximately 10 hours, and teens need eight or nine hours a night.
Set clocks back 15 minutes
Set the clocks in your kids’ rooms back 15 minutes. This way, when they wake up a few minutes late, they’ll still be ready in plenty of time. Though this trick might not work on your teens, it’s a great help in getting younger kids out the door on time in the morning.
Select outfits the night before
From toddlers to teens, kids are picky about their clothes and can take forever to get ready in the morning. Plan ahead by selecting their school clothes the night before. Lay out everything they need, and not just the main garments — include socks, underwear, shoes and accessories, too. By picking their outfit the night before, you’ll know if anything needs to be laundered, ironed or repaired.
Prepare backpacks in the evening
Don’t waste valuable time in the morning running around looking for homework and other necessities. Pack their backpacks in the evening with completed homework, signed permission slips, sports gear and other essential items. Check the weather forecast and set coats, mittens, rain boots and other outerwear next to the front door.
Count it down
Many little kids thrive on structure, but they need to know what’s coming up next. Help your children stay on schedule in the morning by giving them warnings. Let them know when there are 10 minutes, five minutes, two minutes and one minute left until you are leaving the house. Many mothers find these departure warnings very beneficial to their kids.
Shop for mix-and-match pieces
When back-to-school shopping, choose color-coordinated pieces that can mix and match. This is a great way to give kids plenty of options to wear without spending a bundle. JCPenney.com offers a wide selection of clothes that are perfect for mixing and matching, including polo shirts, khaki pants, striped tops and more.
Eliminate screen time
TVs, cell phones, video games and other gadgets are often the things that slow down your morning routine. Make it a household rule that no one is allowed to touch any electronics until they are completely ready to leave the house. Read about how to help your kids break the screen habit.
Choose easy breakfast options
Kids should eat a healthy breakfast every day, but that doesn’t mean breakfast needs to be time consuming to make or to eat. Check out these fast, fun, kid-friendly breakfasts. Also set the table in the evening to shave minutes off your morning routine.
Lower your expectations
If your kindergartener still struggles putting on her own clothes, your second grader takes a while to tie his shoes, or your tween takes a while to eat her breakfast, don’t expect them to speed things up just because you are in a hurry. Lower your expectations of how quickly your little ones can accomplish things themselves. Add more time into the schedule by putting them to bed earlier and waking them up earlier, or make time to help them get things done.
Make it a competition
Siblings love to compete with each other. Make getting ready in the morning a family competition. The first one downstairs, finished with breakfast and ready to get in the car gets a simple prize — like choosing what you are having for dinner or what DVD to rent on the weekend.