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6 Helpful Hacks for Making Back-to-School Mornings Less Stressful


6 Helpful Hacks for Making Back-to-School Mornings Less Stressful

Getting the family ready for school every morning can be a real challenge. In my experience, it involves slow-moving children, indecisiveness, and some complaining for good measure.

Most mornings start with optimism, but they often end up being chaotic and rushed. This leaves me enviously looking at other moms who seem to have it all together at school drop-off. So, what can be done to make mornings less stressful?

In an effort to improve our morning routine, I tried out a few things to make our mornings run more smoothly. Here are six changes that have made a big difference in our household during back-to-school mornings, in addition to waking up earlier than my children to clear my head.

6 Helpful Hacks for Back-to-School Mornings

1. Prep the night before

Prioritizing preparation the night before can help alleviate the morning rush. While it’s hard to muster up the energy after putting the kids to bed, procrastinating until the morning only leads to unnecessary stress before 7:30 a.m.

My nighttime to-dos include:

  • Cleaning the kitchen
  • Setting the coffee maker for the morning
  • Packing lunches and snacks
  • Laying out children’s clothes for the morning (the kids do this before bedtime)
  • Laying out my clothes for the morning

Although I’m not too thrilled about doing these tasks at night, waking up to a clean kitchen and packed lunches makes me grateful as I can enjoy my coffee before the chaos begins.

2. Ensure kids get enough sleep

A good night’s rest is key to starting the day off right. If my children need to be up by 7 a.m., I know they should be in bed no later than 8:30 p.m. With after-school activities potentially running late, my husband and I prioritize sleep and a healthy diet for our children. This means we avoid scheduling any activities that keep them away from home past 7:30 p.m., when we start the bedtime process.


Source: @ojuspatel

3. Use kid-friendly alarm clocks

My son enjoys using an alarm clock to wake up. We got him a small, square, blue neon gadget from a specialty store that also doubles as his night light. He sets it every night and gets out of bed as soon as it starts to chime.

On the other hand, my daughter prefers my gentle wake-up calls. Ten minutes before her wake-up time, I quietly open her shades, turn off her sound machine, and gently rub her back to help ease her into her morning routine.


Kids Alarm Clock

multiple colors available

4. Establish a set morning routine

We’ve put together a chart outside of my children’s bedroom doors outlining their morning tasks before heading downstairs for breakfast. They know to change out of their pajamas, brush their teeth and hair, make their beds, and head downstairs.

Teaching them how to get ready in the morning has made a huge difference, significantly improving our mornings. They also know that breakfast is at 8 a.m. sharp (even on weekends) and there are no special requests. It took some time, but they have learned to eat what I serve without whining or complaining—making our mornings much smoother as I’m not making multiple breakfasts.

5. Utilize a visual countdown timer

After struggling to get my children out of the house in the mornings, I realized I was not considering their concept of time. Telling them they have 15 minutes for one task and 10 minutes for another meant nothing to them. So, I ordered a simple visual kitchen timer for each child from Amazon, one that clearly shows how much time is left for each task with a red wedge representing the remaining time.

Explaining how the timer worked the next morning, they could see how much time they had for each activity as the red space decreased. Suddenly, they were fine with turning the TV off in 15 minutes or finishing their breakfast quickly to have “red time” leftover to play before school. They just needed to see it.

amazon visual countdown timer

60-Minute Visual Countdown Timer

multiple colors available

6. Stay calm

Sometimes the chaos of the mornings gets to me. Before I know it, I find myself rushing the kids and getting upset because we should have left five minutes ago. However, being an angry mom is the worst way for my kids to start their day. It took time, but I’ve learned to choose my battles and let go of the small things. If my son wants to wear cowboy boots with sweatpants and a tank top, that’s okay! If my daughter doesn’t want to wear socks with certain shoes, that’s fine too. Eventually, they will learn from their choices and hopefully make better ones as they grow up.



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