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9 ingenious ways to streamline the kids’ morning routine

Ah, back to school.

Getting back into a morning routine after six weeks of summer disorder can be a challenge.

Start this school year off on the right track with our step-by-step tips for making mornings a more streamlined experience for everyone involved.

Ah, back to school. Getting back into a morning routine after six weeks of summer disorder can be a challenge. Start this school year off on the right track with our step-by-step tips for making mornings a more streamlined experience for everyone involved.

1. Be strict about bedtime

Everyone knows that not enough sleep the night before results in crankiness the next day. But rather than expecting the kids to be able to shift immediately from summer hours to school hours, initiate a new routine about a week in advance. Make sure you lead by example and give yourself enough rest too. If you’re grumpy in the mornings or constantly in a frenzied rush, it will rub off on your kids, too.

Two yong childtren

Flickr: nerissa’s ring

2. Stagger their wake-up calls

If you have more than one in your brood, consider staggering their wake-up times, giving the slower, younger children more time for extra assistance in the morning. It will make things much more manageable for you too.

Child waking

Flickr: woodleywonderworks

3. Lay it out

Save precious time in the morning by preparing the kids’ uniforms the night before. To make it fun, challenge the kids to gather everything they need on a hanger as quick as they can (you can assist the littler ones!). Make sure you have a checklist of items so that their outfits are complete.

Shirts on coat hangers

Flickr: Nan Palmero

4. Buy prep-smart

You want your child to look smart in their school uniform, but don’t to waste precious morning time ironing and pressing their kit each day. Instead, look for non-iron shirts, washable knitwear and permanent-crease trousers for your kids to wear to school.

Children looking at washing machine

Flickr: Henry Burrows

5. Speed it up

There are some fun ways to speed up even the slowest sleepy-heads in the morning. Try creating a morning playlist where your kids have to get dressed or brush their teeth by the end of their favourite tune. Or create games like ‘who can dress the fastest?’ as a fun incentive. You can even give your child a small reward like a sticker or extra TV time if they’re ready for school early the entire week.

Child dancing

Flickr: Miika Silfverberg

6. Set the weekly menu

Suiting your entire family’s breakfast wants and needs in the morning can be an almost impossible task. Instead, create a daily breakfast menu selecting a few easy ideas for the kids to have each day. Keep it simple, like Monday is muesli, Tuesday toast and peanut butter, and so on, so you’re never slaving away in the kitchen. Try some of our quick breakfast ideas that will take no time to make, or our batch cook recipes that you can make ahead of time and serve all week long. If your kids aren’t big breakfast eaters include additional snacks in their lunch for when they’re peckish later. (See batch cook recipes and breakfast idea recipes).

Handwritten list

Flickr: Liz

7. Lunchbox prep

Do as much food prep as possible the night before to make the morning that much more streamlined. Make their school lunch ahead of time and have your kids pack their school bags in the evening, too. Keep their lunchbox contents simple and try some of our no-prep lunch additions; they won’t take any extra time to make but will bulk out your kids’ midday meal.

Pack lunches

Flickr: Rubbermaid Products

8. Work to-go stations

Give your child their own ‘work’ station near the door to keep their shoes, coat, school bag and anything else they need each day so that nothing is left behind in the morning. Double check the weather in the evening too, so no one is scrambling for wellies or umbrellas in the morning. Also, create a small kids’ kit that you keep in your purse or car for any emergencies. This can include extra hair elastics or clips, pens or pencils, and plasters, so once you’re out the door there is no need for any last minute returning to the house.

Boy in stripe top

Flickr: Purple Sherbet Photography

9. Team players

Make the morning routine a real team effort by involving your kids in planning the morning schedule and delegating as many tasks as possible. For the younger kids, create a chart or colourful checklist where they can put stickers beside the tasks they’ve completed on time each morning. For your older kids, have them help their younger siblings get ready and make them responsible for their own morning tasks like making breakfast, getting dressed or brushing their teeth.

If everyone feels they are part of team, they’re more likely to work together to get out the door at a faster pace. Reward them for their efforts each week with a small treat of your choice on the weekend.

Parent brush child's teeth

Flickr: makelessnoise

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