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6.5 Tips for Rush-Free, Smile-Filled, Stress-free School Mornings


One of the most common complaints I hear from most of the moms in my daughter’s play group circle is, “Getting the kids ready in the morning is such a pain.”

In our own case, too, while most mornings are relatively well-organized and happy starts, there are days when both my toddler and I are grumpy and irritable by the time we sit in the car.

Here are 6 .5 of my tips and some resources (as a reminder to myself as well) to help turn manic mornings into rush-free, happy starts to the day:

1. Get Organized the Night Before

This is non-negotiable if you want a stress-free morning. You must get things for the next day in order before you hit the pillow. Here is checklist for you to get started:

  • Lay out clothes for yourself and the kids, right down to undergarments and socks.
  • Check homework and projects to see everything is completed and in the backpack.
  • Place backpacks near the entryway.
  • Plan lunchbox menu and if possible, pack lunches and put in the refrigerator.
  • Check fuel in the car. Yes, you’d be surprised at how often I’ve sat in the car only to realize that there isn’t enough fuel in the tank to reach school.
  • Lay the table for breakfast. (see number 6 to know why this is important)

2. Go to Bed on Time

You do know that late nights for both you and the kids will have not-so-nice consequences, right? So, make sure that all of you go to bed on time. You’ll wake up feeling refreshed and ready to take on the day. Trust me!

3. Wake Up Early

Part of why I stress going to bed on time is that I also stress waking up early. While there are many, many benefits to waking early, the most important for me during school days is that I get a head start on both chores and work well before it is time for my toddler to wake up.

Whether you work from home or not, waking early will ensure that you are ready well in advance and all you need to focus on getting ready are the kids.

4. Play Happy Music

Music, we all know, is great mood enhancer. Popping in a soothing or alternatively, upbeat CD early in the morning has everyone humming along. So much nicer than yelling and shouting.

5. Give Short, Specific Instructions

Toddlers, especially, can’t process long sentences or complicated instructions. So, make it easier and happier for everyone, by giving short, specific instructions.

For instance, “Let’s have breakfast” works much better than “We’ll get late if you don’t eat your breakfast and then, your teacher will be upset/you’ll miss the bus.”

Not only will your little ones understand more, they’ll also benefit from the more positive messages as compared to the ones filled with “don’ts”.

6. Eat Breakfast

Finally, no matter what, don’t skip your breakfast. No, coffee is not breakfast. Eat a fruit, a bowl of cereal or a sandwich but eat something. The low blood sugar plus the hunger pangs are enough to put the cheeriest soul into the crankiest mood ever. Ask me how I know!

And here is a bonus tip: Hug and kiss your kids before sending them off to school. You’ll be happier, they’ll feel loved. Win-win!

And some bonus resources for happy, stress-free starts to the day:

Happy and Organized Morning and Evening Routines

Five Ways to Have a Stress-Free Workday Morning

3 Words to Transform You from a Grumpy to Gracious Mom {Inspired to Action} A short but powerful read on dealing with difficult situations with kids, such as morning madness:-)

How to Have a Simple, Organized School Year {Motherhood Your Way} Again by the awesome Kat of Inspired to Action, this is a post to help you have not just stress-free school mornings but a happier school year.

How do you keep your school mornings happy and stress-free?



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  1. I don’t even have school age kids, and I love this article. Great tips, I really like #5-especially with little kids, they get overwhelmed with long, complicated instructions. I have a 1 year old and a 2 year old, and I see a huge difference in my 2yo when I make sure I’m asking him to do things in a clear, concise way.

    • The Mom Writes says:

      Hi Amanda! Thank you for stopping by and so glad you found the tips useful. I’m glad to see that you, too, find using short sentences a better way to communicate with toddlers:-)

  2. Hi Prerna,
    As usual, you provide clear, concise and HELPFUL hints! I;ve done several posts on this topic also. :) And, as the commentor above said, you don’t have to be a parent of school-age children to benefit from this advice.

    And I LOVED the hug and kiss prompt…I used to send my kids to school with a “love note” in their lunch bags…also sent one with my husband!

    • The Mom Writes says:

      Thank you so much Vivian. You’re very kind. I think your “love” note idea rocks. My toddler is not yet reading but I think I’m going to draw little hearts and put them into her bag. She’ll like that:-) Thanks for sharing!

  3. Great article!!!! My daughter starts kindergarten this Monday…..and it is coming way too soon! 😉

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