morning routineSince we are at the end of July, if you have kids, you are probably thinking about what you need to do to prepare them to go back to school. Summer fun is winding down and it’s time to get back into our morning routine to go back to work and school. I know that’s not as easy as it sounds. It takes no time at all to get out of a routine, and quite a bit more time to get back into it, whether it’s the kids going back to school, or you going back to work after a week or so of vacation.

Getting into a morning routine can help us cut down on the stress of rushing around getting our things together at the last minute to get out the door on time, which brings us to the ‘morning rush hour’. The key is getting into regular routines beginning at the start of the week, and then the night before to make your morning rush hour not so rushed. These routines need to be tailored to you and your family.

Here are some points to consider to develop your family’s morning routine to get your day, and theirs, started as stress free as possible.

Sunday Evening

• Clothes – Check to ensure everyone has clean clothes for the week. If anything needs to be ironed, do it now.

• Lunches – Pack individual zippered plastic bags with lunch items for the week. This cuts down on the time it takes to pack lunches the night before. Each family member needs their own lunch bag, either with their name or different color/pattern.

• Medications/supplements – Label a weekly medicine organizer for each family member. Fill it for the week for easy retrieval each morning.

• Schedule – Check the family calendar for the week ahead to remind you of doctor’s appointments, PTA meetings, etc.

Night Before

• Clothes – Determine what you are going to wear the night before. Layout out your clothes if you have the room. If your kids are old enough, teach them this concept. If not, do the same for them.

• Lunches – Pack lunches for everyone using the pre-packed zippered plastic bags you assembled on Sunday.

• Schedule – Check the family calendar for the next day to be aware of upcoming appointments.

• Homework/planners/backpacks – As your child completes his or her homework and you check it, get them in the routine of packing it away in their backpack. Check their backpack for any notes or permission slips that need a parent’s signature, or gym clothes that need to be washed. Also, have them check their planner for the next day’s activities. Setup an area near the door as a ‘backpack station’. Use a rack with hooks on it or colorful baskets or totes, with a label for each child. When their backpack is packed for the next day, it goes in the backpack station.

• Purse – Check your purse to make sure everything you need for the next day is in your purse. If you need cash, schedule time to stop by an ATM either on the way to work, on the way home from dropping the kids off at school, or during your lunch hour.

• Returns – Keep a basket by the door for items that need to be returned, with the receipt, or need to go with you to work or some other place.