When Immy started kindy this year I felt it was important to develop a school morning routine that allows us to start our day with a minimum of fuss and a sense of calm. I feel this is important for both a smooth transition from home to school, and for my own sanity – having to nag your way through the morning is no fun!
I should also preface this by saying, I am most definitely NOT a morning person, especially given that I haven’t had a full night’s sleep in well over four months now. I am much more a night owl, however evenings are a bit problematic for getting ready for school the next day thanks to a baby who often does not settle until after 9pm and a mama who needs a good block of sleep to function (and evenings are also when this mama is meant to blog and work). Although I know lots of families function smoothly thanks to preparation the night before (I’m looking at you, @PlanningQueen), I generally get no further than making sure Immy has a clean uniform for the next day!
Our School Morning Routine
Breakfast fit for a kindy girl- fairy sprinkle porridge and a blueberry smoothie
7am: Immy and I get up. I prepare Immy’s breakfast which she eats at our breakfast bar while I prepare her school lunch. Immy usually eats a bowl of porridge or cereal and a few berries or a small smoothie, sometimes she will have baked beans and toast. I generally have a hot drink as I go and sometimes a bowl of porridge, depending upon when AJ is due to wake up. We chat about the day ahead and if Immy is not finished eating once her lunchbox is packed then I will usually sit and read to her for a few minutes or pop an audio story on for her to listen to as she eats. We read together at breakfast regularly and she loves audio stories, and I find that both of these seem to keep her focused on eating and not jumping up to do something else every five seconds! If AJ has woken and needs feeding then I can feed and read as Immy eats, then pop AJ into the baby wrap or her swing. We also have a no play until we are ready for school rule and no TV on school mornings.
About 7.30am: Immy puts everything into her kindy bag (lunch bag, fruit for morning tea, library bag, etc) and I lay out her uniform on her bed. Then it is a matter of working through the next few tasks according to our morning picture routine cards – these have been a great tool for encouraging Immy to take on the responsibility for overseeing the routine. Immy gets dressed (at this age and stage, I still supervise quite closely so it gets done as efficiently as possible), then I do her hair (probably the most painful part of the whole routine! I am thankful for The Organised Housewife’s recipe for hair detangler, it has been a big help for us). Next up is teeth brushing and sunscreen which Immy is quite independent with but I keep a close eye on. Generally AJ is awake at this time and she happily hangs out with us on Immy’s bed while this is all going on.
About 8:00am: Immy gets her shoes on and then has time to play. I have half an hour to feed AJ (if she has been asleep this whole time, luckily she is pretty efficient now so this doesn’t take too long) and get her ready to leave, and to get myself dressed and ready as well. I rarely shower during this time, preferring not to need to fit another thing into our morning. I will either shower the evening before or before 7am. Once I am dressed, my hair and make up take about 5 minutes and then we are done. Phew!
(Hopefully) about 8.30am: I bundle the girls and the kindy bag into the car and we are on our way. If I haven’t had time to eat breakfast by the time we leave, I will grab a piece of fruit to eat on the way and have my porridge once AJ and I are back home again.
While our routine is by no means perfect, almost three whole school terms in, it is working well. I must admit to have being a little concerned about the likely impact the baby would have on the flow of the morning but it hasn’t been too bad…so far…of course, if there is one thing parents quickly learn about life with small children, it is that everything can (and most probably will) change in an instant 🙂
I asked the Childhood 101 Facebook community to share their top tip for getting out the door on time with kids in tow and here are some of their suggestions;
Jane – Getting myself out of bed earlier, and showered earlier. My kids run late because I run late.
Megan – Set everything up the night before! Including the coffee! 🙂
Jeanette – We have changed our routine about 8 weeks ago and it has really helped. I get the kids to get dressed, pack school bags ( I make lunch just before waking them), hair done and beds made all before breakfast. Then after they eat (which tends to take the longest amount of time in our house) all they have to do is brush teeth and put on shoes as we leave.
Karen – We have an alarm for when we need to head out the door… With up to two snoozes 😉 but it keeps us on track to get out the door at the correct time.
Sarah – Make the lunches the night before and hang uniforms with all the stuff that’s needed (socks, undies, stockings, singlets) on the one hanger so that everything you need is in the one place. I also pack some brekky into a snaplock bag if my youngest doesn’t eat his in time x
Kathryn – A list with pictures and words of all the things the kids need to do themselves – a checklist they complete themselves. Prep the night before as much as possible.
Heba – Choosing the kids breakfast smartly, choose a healthy yet fast and easy to make, easy to eat breakfast!
Kate – I try to prepare things the night before which makes a big difference. But for us sometimes having more time is not helpful as it means we end up getting caught up playing or doing something else and we end up late anyway. So we’ve perfected the art of four kids up, dressed, cleaned, fed and in the car in 45 minutes! But the ultimate goal has finally been achieved in our house. For the past week or two my girls (8 year old twins) have been getting themselves up and dressed, packing their own lunches and getting themselves breakfast. It is AWESOME!
Alison – TV when everyone is ready, completely. Shoes, hair, bag….the works. It gets the kids to encourage each other, rather than me yell.
You can see the full list of responses here.
What does your morning routine look like?