Blog  /  Grace, Grace Based Discipline, Parenting  /  7 Tips for Chaos-Free School Mornings

Are you ready for back-to-school? Whether you are mourning or celebrating the end of summer, here’s a few practical tips to help you make the transition a little smoother:

1. Create a “launch pad” near the entrance/exit of your home. This is where backpacks, important papers, keys and necessary items for work and school can be prepped and set out for leaving the house on busy mornings. Have all family members prep their launch pad items the night before.

2. Shower or bathe the night before. Styling hair in the morning (for both girls and boys) can be more involved for certain hair types and styles. I consider myself lucky that my girls have relatively easy hair to style. Our biggest struggle when they were younger was brushing out tangles and if we fought that battle in the morning, it often ended in tears and got us off to a bad start.

For tangle-free, no-fuss styling, sponge rollers or braids in little girls’ hair can do wonders! I found it helpful to get my girls’ hair about 75% dry and then have them sleep in a braid or rollers. In the morning, they’d just take them out and brush or finger-comb. Of course, my girls are teenagers now, so the morning grooming routine has gotten more complex and now involves multiple appliances and about 35 different beauty products! I still insist they both shower at night, though, as four people trying to shower within an hour of each other in the morning doesn’t agree with our water heater.

3. Lay out clothes, including matching socks (help us Jesus,) underwear and shoes the night before. You could go one step further, as a veteran mom once told me, and just have the kids sleep in their school clothes!

4. Make lunches the night before. Have your kids help with this. When kids choose and prep their own food, they are more likely to eat it. PB&J sandwiches freeze well. You can make a huge batch and then just throw one in the lunch box in the morning.

5. Prep some easy breakfast options and post a menu in the kitchen. Hard boiled eggs are great. Also, it’s so easy to make a huge batch of silver dollar pancakes and freeze them ahead of time. A Google search will return endless recipes and ideas for make-ahead breakfasts. Use your imagination and this can be really fun!

6. Make and post lists. As a mom of an ADHD’er who also has ADHD herself, we live by lists. Every family’s needs are different, so you will need to brainstorm what will work best for you. For our family, I have a “recurring tasks” list and a “special tasks” list. I use poster board and post the recurring task list in bedrooms, hallway, bathroom and kitchen. For people who don’t struggle with focus and attention, it might seem silly, but our recurring task list says things as obvious as, “get dressed down to your shoes, brush teeth, brush hair, deodorant, eat breakfast, put lunchbox in backpack…” Our special task lists is for things that don’t necessarily happen every day but are important to remember and we make them the night before and put them on Post-It’s on our launch pad. They say things like, “sports participation form, extra Gatorade, choir costume…”

7. Wake up 20 minutes earlier than you think you need to. Even with the best planning and preparation, unforeseen circumstances can throw the entire morning off track. Teaching everyone to get up just a little bit earlier than they think they need to can give you extra time to deal with any unplanned issues. On issue-free mornings, an earlier wake up allows for a more relaxed pace and sets everyone on a more peaceful start to the day.

::Bonus Tip::

8. Take time to pray for and bless your kids. A quick word of encouragement and a brief prayer from you in the morning before they leave for school can be one of the most powerful ways that you can communicate to your kids that they are loved, that they were created for a purpose and they can put their hope in the Lord to carry them through all the challenges that come their way.

These tips are just a few that I’ve learned over the years (mostly the hard way). Trust me, I don’t ever do any of this perfectly, and by about mid-November, I’ve let a lot of this slip. Inevitably, we have to get back on track again after the New Year. And by April? Forget about it! We need a lot of grace after Spring Break. Even still, trying my best to follow these tips has helped me manage to avoid the chaos that school mornings can bring if left unchecked.

 

***We’d love to hear your best tips! Share in the comments***

Karis Kimmel Murray is the author of Grace Based Discipline: How to Be at Your Best When Your Kids Are at Their Worst and the Creative Director of Family Matters®, a ministry who’s internationally hosted parenting and marriage events, radio and television broadcasts, articles, videos, website and best-selling books (written by Karis’ parents and Family Matters’ founders Dr. Tim and Darcy Kimmel,) Grace Based Parenting and Grace Filled Marriage, have been used by God to transform tens of thousands of families into instruments of His restoration and reformation.
Karis writes and speaks for Family Matters as a voice to the next generation of parents. Karis is co-host of The Family Matters Minute, a nationally syndicated one-minute radio segment heard by millions of listeners every weekday.
Karis lives in Scottsdale, Arizona with her husband Mike, their two teenage daughters and a ragamuffin menagerie of pets.

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