Tuesday, September 13, 2011

60 Back to School Organizing: Establishing a Morning Schedule

Now that we have been back to school for a little over a week, we have started to establish a consistent morning routine.  However, since it's easy for the kiddos to get distracted, and because the Bedtime Routine printable was such a huge hit, I thought I would whip up a Morning Routine printable as well!  This printable will get popped right up on the fridge just like the Bedtime Routine did, so that we can stay consistent as a family.


I once read somewhere that it takes someone 27 times of doing the same thing over and over to have the routine embedded in them.  Who knows if that's entirely true or not, but I am a believer.  Especially with kids, mine thrive off of consistency and routine.  They love to know ahead of time what to expect, they must get that from their mama...


Setting up a good routine in the morning should help everyone get out of the house in a happy and timely manner, and set the little ones up for a great day at school!

Right now we have our schedule set to wake up the kids at 7:00 a.m. and have them out the door and to their bus stop at 7:45 a.m.  That gives us 45 minutes to get everything done on the morning routine list:

{click here to download your FREE copy}

When it comes to breakfast time, each Monday, Wednesday & Friday they have cereal with fresh fruit.


Tuesday and Thursday I try to plan something different, like french toast sticks, scrambled eggs and bagels with yogurt.  I always plan out the breakfasts when I do our weekly grocery shopping and meal planning and it helps tremendously in the mornings!

Another item that helps us immensely in the morning is taking an extra two minutes the night before to lay out their clothes for the next day {our bedtime routine printable has been updated accordingly}.

So far, we have had plenty of time in the mornings to get the kiddos out the door, but a lot of credit must be given to the time we invest at night by packing up their backpacks, laying out clothes, making lunches, etc... We figure that by doing things in the evening, it sets us up to start out the day more successfully!  And it seems like common sense, but let me tell you it took us a couple of years of having our kids in school to get this all figured out...

I get the question a lot about organizing mornings and routines, so please take a minute to share any additional tips and tricks you have that have made your mornings successful.  Is there any one thing that you have implemented that has been crucial in getting out the door with a smile?

60 comments:

  1. Laying out clothes and packing lunches the night before is a LIFESAVER. It's so quick at night but seems to take forever in the morning - probably because there are a million distractions. My oldest just started kindergarten so it's a whole new level of planning now that we have to make it to the bus stop by 8:25. We have a morning mantra - "Lunch, Snack, Backpack" which we also say (including my 2 year old) to be sure we don't leave without anything!!

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  2. Do the kids really brush their teeth before breakfast and not after? Curious what's the thought on that?

    Love getting all the little things done the night before. You're so right about all the pre-planning making for a smooth morning. It's a pain sometimes to get it all done in the evening, but I find I never get up early to get all those things done that I didn't do the night before. This leads to a mad dash of craziness and no one leaves happy. Thanks for the reminder, Jen!

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  3. No kids yet, but I love your free printables! If I don't get them later on, I can definitely see myself making them because like you I heart organizing! It's nice to have stress-free mornings all due to having a list and sticking to it.

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  4. @Elizabeth,

    I had always heard that it's better to brush before eating, as foods can soften the enamel on the teeth and then brushing can cause damage. I am absolutely no expert, it's just how we do it here. :)

    xoxo!
    Jen

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    Replies
    1. Hi! First I want to say I absolutely love your site =)
      Okay so in order to prevent tooth decay it is important to brush after meals. Otherwise breakfast will sit on your teeth and remain on the teeth until the next time they brush which typically won't be until night time. Meanwhile creating layers of meals and snacks eaten throughout the day. It takes 12 hours for cavity formation to begin on the enamel.
      If you are having citrus foods/beverages i.e. orange juice or grapefruit and are a heavy toothbrush scrubber a good idea is to wait a few minutes after eating citrus foods and then swish with water followed by a fluoride toothpaste
      I get asked about brushing before breakfast alot and but then find out they brush after dinner
      Anyhoo hope that helped! Keep up the good work =)
      -Pediatric Dental Hygienist

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  5. I'm no where NEAR as organized as you are, but what I found helped us get out of the house with a smile is setting the alarm 15 minutes earlier than usual. It just gives everyone that wee bit of extra time so no one is in a huge hurry. Keeps everyone calm and in a good mood.

    Love your site!

    Brandi

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  6. Thanks Jen! Ask and Ye shall receive! This is great! My 4 year old checks the routine every night and he makes sure we stick to the plan, except for the getting out of bed 10 extra times...

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  7. I get everything ready the night before including clothes and bags/backpacks. We are new to school as my daughter just started kindergarten which is much earlier than preschool! It's good to see other's tips as to what works. Now, if only our bedtime could be smoother!

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  8. Routine is the only way to get out on time! My youngest is now a Senior in high school and we've pretty much kep the routine the same since my oldest (21) started Kindergarten. Packing meals the night before (we keep cold items on a specific shelf in the frig to grab in the morning). Backpacks are packed the night before as well. Breakfast is kept to a few different menu items such as yours that we alternate...instant oatmeal stays warm while they are getting ready with a bit of foil over the bowl (you can reuse if you recycle) or I will make up a yogurt parfait and put in frig.
    I too noticed the "brush teeth" before the meal...thought it was to save an extra trip back upstairs to bathroom. We solved that by keeping an extra set in our downstairs bathroom for school mornings.

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  9. Here's my morning chart set up:
    http://craftingintherain.blogspot.com/2011/09/embroidery-hoop-organizer.html

    We have about 1.5 hours in the morning from when they get up to when we go out to catch the bus.

    Here's what's on their list (since you can't see in the picture)
    Potty
    Make bed
    Dressed (inc. shoes)
    Breakfast
    Dishes into dishwasher
    M--wipe table
    E--sweep under table
    Brush teeth
    **every day they each have a different chore--dust, wipe windows, wipe door handles, mop (I give them one room to do with the swiffer)**
    Back pack ready inc. lunch

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  10. Laying your clothes out the night before was always a requirement in my house, and now as a 30 year old I still do it!!! Great tip!!

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  11. Night before prep is crucial for us as is the set menu for certain days of the week. That way I can set it on the counter before they wake.

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  12. I recently just posted our morning and night time routine on my blog too! I totally agree that prepping the night before makes a HUGE difference! I also make sure to give us plenty of time in the morning- because starting your day off rushed, just isn't fun!

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  13. I have a girl and we usually lay out her clothes for the next day TOGETHER so she cannot start like "I don't want these pants, I want a dress today and I don't like THAT pullover". I just tell her that we decided on that in the evening and she can make a new decision the next evening. This works. I also try to listen to the weather forecast in time AND take into consideration her next school day, e.g. when she's got P.E. the next day we have to decide on clothes that she can take off by herself easily. If she's got art, I would not let her wear a white delicate dress ...

    By the way, we also brush teeth before breakfast, for two reasons: first, we don't have to go upstairs again after the breakfast, and second, she won't spill toothpaste over her fresh clothes. We also feel it is nicer to eat with brushed teeth/fresh mouth.

    Bye,
    Jule

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  14. Jen,

    Our morning routine is pretty much the same. My son started kindergarten this year and he doesn't have the option of more minutes in bed. I wake him up at 7:15 every morning, the only time that he comes to the table early is if he wakes up before this time by himself.
    We don't have any problems with clothes. I bought a small "cubby" with 5 shelves, one for each day of the week. I named each day (Monday, Tuesday...) and put the activities he will have at school close to the days of the week. For instance, Monday (P.E), Tuesday, Wednesday (Art). This way I know what kind of school clothes to put there for him to pick up every morning. I select and put the clothes there every Sunday. My son has an option to choose the clothe that he want. And I reorganize the shelves. Peace of mind.

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  15. Jen- You have some of the cutest ideas. Where do you get all your fonts and different designs that you use? Is there places on the web that has downloadable fonts.

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  16. I too think it's odd to brush teeth before breakfast, don't you get stuff stuck in there and want to have fresh breath and teeth before school. I am in the process of getting our 8 yr old to make his lunch the night before, he is super picky and this helps with half of his lunch coming home the next day because I packed the wrong thing. He has guidelines on what to pack, no sweets, no cookies, no candy, basically no junk or processed foods. Now our 3 yr old for preschool is another matter, sheesh.

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  17. Hi there! Thanks for the ideas and for sharing the printables- I love them!

    I LOVE LOVE LOVE your blog and it is the only one I check every single day! LOVE all the color and the organization ideas...keep it comin'!

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  18. Ok, I got the morning routine to download just fine, but now I am trying to do the bedtime and it says the file is damaged. Box wont preview it for me either:(

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  19. Just wondering....is your updated Bedtime Routine a free printable? Every time I click to download it says that the file is empty :( Would love to have a copy! Thanks!!!!

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  20. I'm a dental hygienist and as far as I'm concerned (all three dentists in the office agree)

    It is important that you brush at least twice a day with a toothpaste containing fluoride. The best times are BEFORE breakfast and last thing at night before you go to bed.

    Eating and drinking naturally weakens the enamel on your teeth, and brushing straight afterward can cause tiny particles of enamel to be brushed away. It is best not to brush your teeth until at least one hour after eating.

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    Replies
    1. Thanks for clarifying!i also wondered :)

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  21. Thank you for sharing your printable. I like that it has words and pictures. My four year can't ready yet and he would need the pictures. Having a routine definitely helps! :)

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  22. I just fixed the bedtime printable link so it should work now. Sorry friends!

    Thank you Anonymous for chiming in with the brushing teeth before breakfast comment! :) That's exactly what I had heard, I appreciate you sharing!!

    xoxo,
    Jen

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  23. Hi Jen,
    Love the morning and bedtime printables!!! :)

    I placed an order yesterday in your etsy shop and I was wondering if you received it?

    Thanks,
    Janel Tenerelli
    Jamesburg, NJ
    ccd4thgrade@yahoo.com

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  24. LOVE this! Thanks so much. Do the kids take a bath every night, too? I love all the pretty colors and the pictures help.
    Renea.

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  25. I had never heard that about brushing first! Learn something new each day. The only switcheroo I would do is to get dressed after eating. My kids inevitably spill milk or juice on their shirts every day! You'd think they had holes in their lips!

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  26. I notice there are lots of "we"s and "us"s included in your description of your night/morning get-ready-for-school routine: does your husband actually help pack lunches and layout clothes or are you just being polite?!

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  27. I downloaded and laminated the bedtime routine and I used your advice in getting everything ready the night before - works like a charm! I'm looking forward to doing the same for the morning routine. Thank you for the free downloads. I'm a single full-time working mom to a preschooler, and I've noticed that the only chaos in my house in the morning is me running ragged in trying to get ready for work. Looks like I need to start implementing a bedtime routine for mama.

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  28. My kids are up and out the door in a matter of 15 minutes in the morning. They lay out their own clothes the night before. In the morning they get dressed upstairs. They go downstairs, use the potty, brush their teeth and hair and grab their backpacks. They eat breakfast at school and don't often take a lunch from home. When they do we make it the night before. My guys sleep hard and I've found the less they have to do in the morning the better for all of us.

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  29. awesome chart. now as far as lunches, what do you normally pack for them? i have such a hard time deciding what to pack and when they want grilled cheese sandwiches, i have to prepare those in the morning. but any ideas you can share would be great.

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  30. Love that you have a morning and evening routine that works for you! For us, we have a little rhyme that we say for both "morning and night stuff":

    Dress, prayer, teeth and hair, bed, pick up ten.

    Works like a charm. Means that we hit all the major points, their rooms stay pretty tidy, and they can remember it easily!

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  31. Jennifer, thanks so much for those printables. I'd been meaning to getting around to updating mine. As my kids have got older, the routines have changed with school and kindy but I just never updated the schedule and have tried to 'wing it' but am failing miserably. Next year my son goes to school so I think this will be a great introduction for him to be a little more independent. Thanks again!

    Anne xx

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  32. I used to think I could get up and out of the house in an hour, but I realized I was always frantic to get ready and always a few minutes late. So I've made it two hours.

    Half an hour to get out of bed and go to the bathroom (I'm a zombie when I first wake up). An hour to do everything else. Another half hour as buffer/wiggle room. Sometimes I end up with those minutes to spare and do what I want (read some blogs, etc.), but sometimes I need those for prep to be on time.

    I guess my tip is to know yourself and plan accordingly. I have no sense of time/how long it'll take me to do something, so I give myself extra time just in case. My mornings are much calmer now as a result.

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  33. I am a grown adult and have been laying out my clothes for the morning since my Pre-K years. Thanks mom! :)

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  34. Anyone have any tips on preparing lunches the night before? My kids always complain that their sandwiches are mushy the next day if I make them too far in advance. Thanks.

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    Replies
    1. look on delightful order. she has a post about freezing them, and preparing ahead

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  35. a very cool list, thankyou!
    While I have a 'list list' on the fridge, I've been meaning to get around to doing up a visual list for the younger two as it would really help in the morning.

    (although we've never had a 'potty' in the house, the kids have used the toilet since they were toilet training, so I'd alter that bit for us!)

    Thanks Jen. Off to check out the links :)

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  36. I would love to know how you make these, our morning routine is a little different because my daughter goes to daycare and eats there.... can you share with us?
    Mandy

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  37. Jen, just some feedback that I really enjoy reading posts like these, regarding your schedules. It's so helpful to read what other people do for routines. All of your posts are interesting, but schedules and daily organizing of kid-related stuff is super helpful.

    I do a similiar routine of getting the kids' stuff ready the night before. I actually make a pile of the outfits for the whole week on the weekend and then lay out next days outfit on the dresser during the weeknights. I started doing this for my daughter because it helped her wear more of her outfits than just the top of the drawer stuff over and over. It really only takes me about 5 minutes to lay out a week or so worth of outfits.

    We do things a little differently than your chart at our house so I won't be using this morning printable but it's so cute! Thanks for posting this!

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  38. Thanks for this awesome printable! I hung it up for my daughter and she LOVES it! :-)

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  39. Love the routines!! We also make lunches, pack bags and get clothes ready the night before. If we don't, there always seems to be something we can't find in the morning :) Our boys wear uniforms, so we don't have any of the "I don't want to wear that today" issues, which helps a ton too!!

    Our boys take their lunches everyday, so I also make a lunch menu for the week and post it on the inside of the pantry door. They get to choose between two main lunch items and 3 snacks. (2 healthy and 1 "yummy" snack) This takes care of their mid morning snack as well. Making and preparing for lunches is a breeze this way.

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    Replies
    1. I'm an early riser so I make breakfast/lunch in the morning before everyone wakes up at 7 as I hate rushing. I thought of making their lunches the night before 3x a week as the other 2 days they take hot lunch (left over dinner). How do the sandwiches hold up the next morning?

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  40. Awesome chart! I just wish it was editable. We have 2 girls in our house and brushing hair is definitely, DEFINITELY, a must every morning and evening.

    At least now I have a great example to start! Thanx

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  41. Bless you for this chart! We're just getting to this stage and what a help this will be!

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  42. I LOVE this site and I just found it today! Thanks for all your great ideas - I've been thinking about routines for my preschooler and making labels for his drawers, and you've already done the hard work! Now, just to impliment them!

    I do have a question because I love the morning routine, but I do have my kid help with making his own bed - do you have a doc file that could be shared as well?

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  43. Jen,
    Where did you purchase the cute yellow placemat and green floral booster seat? Love your style!
    Paula

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    Replies
    1. Hi Paula!

      The placemat is from Target and the booster is a sweet seat: http://www.sweet-seat.com/products/sweetseat-green-damask/

      xoxo!
      Jen

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  44. ...I just posted but I forgot to add that we have been using the morning and bedtime routine sheets and both have been invaluable! I have three boys too and it can get pretty crazy around here quickly! Thanks for the free printables and your etsy shop!
    Paula

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  45. Very smart!! I think I need to set up a better routine for myself! With all the chaotic and unexpected elements in Adult Life, I think anyone of any age can benefit from your wise common sense! Thank You!!

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  46. I love this! This is basically our routine(except for school-but my oldest goes to a Mothers day out program 2x a week, I have a 3.5yr old and a 22 mo old)...I also lay out their clothes for the week(including pjs)......

    I also brush their teeth before they eat. For me, the reason was that it was part of the "getting ready" routine....and if something happened, and we ended up getting thrown behind(like a surprise messy diaper), I wouldn't risk "forgetting to brush their teeth" in the rush to get out the door....

    Also, if we're going to church, and I'm afraid of them messing up their clothes(shirt), I just leave the shirt off(they are usually wearing a t-shirt) and put it by the door, and put it on when they finish eating and drinking....

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  47. I'm still in school myself but being in a boarding house and without parents around means that I'm susceptible to a lot of distractions, so this is a good inspiration to pin up a pretty schedule for myself so that i stay focused on my work while still having time to hang out with my friends.

    I also brush my teeth before I eat breakfast

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  48. Where did you get that booster seat from?

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    Replies
    1. Hi!
      It's from http://www.sweet-seat.com/

      xoxo,
      Emily

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  49. As a mother of THREE girls, we have to budget a good 15 minutes into our morning routine (especially since one has curly hair....think chia pet (her bed head)!

    Add doing their hair to the routine, and it's golden!!
    Thanks for sharing!

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  50. Hi! Is there a way to customize this routine (and the night time one too) to make it fit our family? I LOVE LOVE LOVE it but our kids don't eat breakfast at home and don't ride the bus.

    Thank you so much for your site! I have learned a ton from you and definitely plan on trying many more ideas in our new home! :)

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  51. I have 3 kids (6,7 &9) (2g,1b) and our mornings run very smooth.

    We need to be out the house by 0805 to make the bus. I wake them up at 7 so they have 20minutes to get up and watch t.v. and fully wake up. We then start our morning at 0720 which include: getting dressed (husband irons clothes night before and lays them out in order), eating breakfast (they are only allowed to eat cereal on Friday's. Other days I make a hot breakfast), I do my daughter's hair while everyone is brushing their teeth, then off to pack their backpacks. (folders get put in the night before)(I make lunch in the morning and use my stairs to set everything by person because my kids are in charge of packing their own backpacks. so step 1 has my sons' water bottle, morning snack and lunch bag so they don't have much to pack).

    They make their beds and still have about 5-10minutes to chill out before we head out the door.

    Pet peeve of mine is rushing!

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  52. I did this -in Spanish- and it went incredible well with my daughter! Thank you so much!

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  53. I'm pretty new to the school routine, as my three-year-old just began half-day montessori school this year, but I thought I would share what just took me half a year to figure out!
    Like most people's morning routines, I had clothes laid out the night before and expected her to get dressed before breakfast. Hopefully, as the year of being three passes, the meltdowns will subside, but we were struggling with getting dressed every single day and it would throw our morning into wildness right off the bat.
    I finally figured out that if I adjusted the routine to have her eat breakfast FIRST THING (although now that I've read about brushing teeth first, we'll do that!! Thanks!), it's like it balances her blood sugar or something and she becomes completely un-cranky and will get dressed afterwards without any problems. It makes our mornings go so much smoother, so I thought I would share incase anyone has a young one having a little difficulty getting going for school.

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