Simplify Your Back to School Mornings

Simplify Your Back to School Mornings

Ahhh the dreaded morning routine...probably the only thing I don't look forward to when it comes to the kiddos going back to school. Otherwise-get those boys back to socializing, practicing routines, and following directions better from a stranger than from me  As.Soon.As.Possible!

Summer breaks start to feel a little long in our house come August. The kids are fighting non-stop, I've exhausted all the local parks and excuses to play outside in 85+ degree weather. I'm too tired to do another zoo, pool, museum, or anything that requires a stroller and packed lunches. So when I get those school emails about Back to School Nights and teacher assignments, I am secretly having a mental and emotional party. 

But...I am also having a minor anxiety attack as I think about the stress and horror that is mornings in our house. It usually entails my pre-teen racing through any "getting ready" so he can have just a sliver of time to jump on his video game. This includes skipping breakfast, not doing his bed head hair, and has mastered the 15 second teeth brush. The baby will be screaming for me to get him out of the crib before I even have new underwear on and if I dare get him out before I'm fully ready then I succumb to doing my makeup in the car. All the while, the middle, strong-willed one will sleep through all of this. I can try to wake him with gentle back scratches (while nervously sweating because we're already running 10 minutes behind) or with straight pulling off his pajamas while he's still asleep to get him dressed yet neither work better than the other.

Depending on the night, his dreams, his hunger level- I really don't know, this kid can wake up with a level of resentment I've only had toward my husband when he eats donuts in front of me during my diet. He is angry, crabby, making no sense most times, and everything "feels weird". From the waistband of his underwear to the seam on his socks, I can never get any of the clothes right the first time. Needless to say, the number outfit changes always moves us from a tad late to running out the door with one shoe late. And all this was before he's even started school! This was just to get him to daycare where they take off their shoes as soon as they walk in the door and could wear their pajamas all day if they really wanted.

Knowing we'd have 2 in school plus a separate drive to daycare for the little one this year, I just knew something had to give with our morning mess. There is no way we could get these kids out the door and ready for a productive day at school with the history of our morning chaos. So I started my research early...and by research I mean my Pinterest keyword and TikTok hashtag searches. Let me tell you, it has paid off!! So much so that I absolutely need to share it with you Mamas. 

Here you will find the changes we have made in our pre-morning and morning routines that have transformed our house. Some may need to be altered to fit your children's ages or interests but even if school has already started for you, these can be implemented at any time to give you some clarity in the mornings:

Pre-Morning Prep: 

  • We started with changing our bedtime routine. The kids love their electronic time and in the summer it was their way of easing into bedtime and our way of getting a goddamn break. Unfortunately, we absolutely can see how it changes their attitude and sleep. Therefore, electronics are turned off 30-60 minutes before bed. This gives their brain some time to wind down. I'd be lying if I said we just turn everything off and they go to bed like little angels in the quiet dark. That's a joke if you know my kids. We do let them pick one short kid show that plays lightly in the background, more for the nightlight affect than to actually watch. Now, is this pediatrician recommended, or crunchy, perfect mom recommended- No! I get that. But we're easing into this change.
  • We pack lunches together. After dinner while we're in clean up mode, the boys are in charge of grabbing their lunchboxes and choosing the items that go inside. This may sound like a disaster waiting to happen but I have already organized 2 snack bins they can choose from. First, they choose their 'main dish'- a sandwich or kids' charcuterie (aka Lunchable) is most common at our house. Then in the fridge they pick 2 items from the fridge drawers: 1 fruit of their choice (mandarin orange cup or applesauce pouches are on the menu this week) and 1 dairy choice (go-gurt or cheesestick). Then they can pick 2 treats from the pantry container. These usually consist of something crunchy/salty and a sweet option (cheeze its, popcorn, granola bars, cookies, fruit snacks). Lastly, since lunch milk hasn't started yet, they fill up their water bottles if I forgot, yet again, to grab any Capri-Suns.

***I did not say I was sharing healthy lunch tips. I am sharing convenient, realistic, and Maggio friendly tips. Make adjustments to your kids' health needs, dietary restrictions, and personal choices as you see fit. The point here is the convenience of having them pick their choices that are already pre-set for them. 

Morning Of: 

  • If you're like me and you leave for work the same time the kids leave for school, or you have an appointment to be at, or maybe just someone who likes to be ready for the day when you're first up- then get yourself ready first. This is a must in my house. Once those crazies are up, it's all over for me. I used to wake up my oldest first so he could help in case the baby woke early but that just perpetuated the video game time. I would always feel bad when I heard the baby start to squirm so I'd grab him and throw my hair in a bun instead of doing it how I felt comfortable. Instead, I do me first. Crazy right?! A mom focusing on herself first?? Blasphemy! But it works. I get myself fully ready- I'm talking hair, makeup, bags packed, shoes on, coffee made. I feel awake, ready, and can conquer the dreaded march to their bedroom. But what if the baby cries? What if he's screaming from his crib? Then I just work a little faster but I don't stop getting me ready first. He's fine. He just had a good night's sleep. He's safe in his crib. What's the worst that's really wrong? He sits in a full pee diaper for 10 extra minutes?? I mean please disregard if we're talking about a newborn here. That's not what I mean. But my 2 year old can talk to his feet or scream my name for a couple minutes if it means I can put some mascara on so I don't feel like I look like death. #sorrynotsorry. Do you first Mama. It sets the tone for your whole day.
  • Next I move on to the big boys if the baby is still quiet. If not, then I'll grab him and bring him in the room to help with the wake up routine. Getting myself ready first has left us less time...less time to mess around that is. They know there's no time for electronics, playing, or much whining. But Jen...what about the awful getting dressed situation?? Let me introduce you to the weekly clothes organizer lifesaver, aka 10 slot shoe hanging cubbies. This is genius and unfortunately not my original idea. Saw it on social media of course from another amazing mom who had the same struggles. You can get them off Amazon, Walmart, Target, and more (about $10). They easily hang in a closet with a slim fit and are the perfect size for a roll-up of kids clothes. In explaining this I realize this actually is part of a pre-morning routine more than day of but the use of it morning of has been incredible. On Sunday nights I catch up on the laundry. Before folding, I set out all their school clothes- basically anything that doesn't have a hole or stain on it. Then together, we pick out 5 outfits each. Bottoms, top, underwear and socks. Mama flattens them nice to reduce wrinkles and rolls them up just like if we were packing a suitcase. They put their roll-up in the cubbies and because THEY chose what they wanted to wear, there are no arguments in the morning. You wake up, grab your roll-up starting from the top, working down every day, then go brush your teeth. They have time for a light breakfast (cereal, eggos, muffins, fruit) while I get the baby dressed and then we're off. Everyone grabs their own bag- mine is already in the car because I did mommy first, and for the most part we're no longer running late. 


Now, this sounds fantastic right?! Pure perfection in the morning. Well, it's not. It doesn't always run that smooth. There are and will be hiccups. The plan might start to deteriorate after time and we have to pivot. But this is a start. And this is helping. And hopefully, something in here can help you too Mama! Take what you can, leave what you can't and hopefully together we can become smarter than these little rugrats and conquer a morning routine.





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