breakfast cerealDepending on where you live in the United States, the school bell is chiming or is about to chime for kindergarteners through high school students.  And after the lazy days of summer, gearing up for a school day morning routine can sometimes take a few adjustments and require a little advance planning. Classroom attendance is taken fairly early these days, so how to establish a morning routine that will serve you well throughout the academic year? Perhaps one, some, or all of these ideas will be helpful in your household:

Wake up at the same time every weekday, and help family members to do the same. For me, this helps me be focused all day and fall asleep around the same time each evening. This concept is a winner for many people, and it may or may not resonate with you and your family.

Carve out some quiet time for yourself every morning before you leave the house. Always. No matter how impossible this may seem, do your best to make this happen every day. You can use this time for prayer, quiet reflection and contemplation, or whatever you’d like. It’s a great way to establish a sense of order and dominion before the day gets underway. Please do not use this time to take care of a few things on your to do list.

Make your bed, and encourage family members to make theirs. It takes just a few moments and establishes a calm sense of order in your room.

Pack everyone’s lunch, water bottle, etc. at night. There’s no reason to prepare food for the day ahead at o’dark thirty in the morning. Do it the night before. You’ll be glad you did.

Serving breakfast at the kitchen table or on the go in the car? Either way, prepare what you can ahead of time to minimize day-of cooking. Convenience is key, and a little advance planning will help make that happen.

Pack your purse, work bag, workout bag, etc. at night and have the kids pack their back-packs, satchels, etc. before they go to sleep. As we all know, there’s no need to hunt for a missing math assignment while the carpool is honking outside tomorrow morning.

Plan tomorrow’s outfit and accessories tonight, and have the kids lay out their clothes before going to bed. Bonus points if you check the weather so you know what layers are needed.

Use the same “leave the house” procedures every morning, and encourage your family to do the same. In time, you’ll rarely – if ever – forget your “standard” items. Case in point: When you pick up your work bag, pluck the kids’ lunch boxes from the refrigerator shelf, and grab your water bottle and keys as you walk out the door, you’ve begun to establish a bit of a routine. Do it for a few consecutive days and it becomes a routine without you even noticing. Do it for a month or so and you’ll likely never forget your water bottle again because picking it up will become second nature. If you walk out the door without it, you’ll likely realize that you’re forgetting something and you’ll take stock of what’s missing.

With a little advance planning and a willingness to carve out some quiet time for yourself every morning, the morning rush should be transformed during this academic year. Have additional ideas that help you avoid the morning rush? Feel free to share them here and they could be featured in an upcoming blog post.

* Photo by Jan Willem Geertsma

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