How to Simplify Your School Morning Routine

By FCPS & Fairfax County Government
September 15, 2021

School mornings can quickly become an exhausting experience. “I’m telling you for the last time, get out of bed now!” “Are your homework and library books packed away?” “Where are your shoes?” “Hurry up, you are going to be late again!” This is no fun for anybody. As much as you dislike hectic school mornings, your children likely feel the same way. 

It doesn’t have to be this way. With a little preparation and a consistent routine, you can get the mornings started off smoothly without all the stress. Consider these strategies:

  • Get each of your children their own alarm clock and teach them how to use it. Praise independent use of it.
  • If your children do not shower each morning, have them wash their face when they get up. This helps to wake them up and get them going.
  • Create a simple checklist that outlines each task your children need to complete each morning. Consider scheduling times for bathroom usage for older children. Post it in clear view of your children. Make it visual with photos, stickers, or drawings for younger kids.
  • Stick with easy meals. Prepare lunches for the next day while fixing dinner or have children make their own lunches after dinner. Have grab-and-go breaksfasts on hand. Keep food items like apples, berries, peanut butter or yogurt available, so you can make a quick and easy breakfast. 
  • Make sure your children have their backpacks packed the night before. A perfect routine for this can be established right after completing nightly homework. When a backpack is ready to go for the next day, place it by the door where you exit each morning.
  • Check the weather the night before and have clothing (including shoes) for the next day laid out before going to bed.
  • Get up 20 minutes before your child and let yourself ease into the morning. Get something to drink, take a shower, or do whatever helps you relax.
  • Make use of a timer and have your children try to beat the clock. Make it fun. Set a goal with your children with a reward or privilege to be earned for successfully reaching it.
  • If you normally drive your child to school, set up a carpool to serve as extra motivation to get going earlier. Plus, you’ll get a break on the days you don’t have to drive!

If you or someone you know may be experiencing a mental health challenge or crisis, text HOME to 741741 to reach a crisis counselor, call 1-800-273-8255 to reach the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, or call 911.

The Healthy Minds Blog shares information related to youth mental health and wellness for an audience of parent, educators and community-based providers. Articles include tips and strategies for increasing wellness and resiliency, as well as fostering success at home, at school and in the community.

The Healthy Minds Blog is a collaborative project between Fairfax County Public Schools and the Prevention Unit of the Fairfax County Department of Neighborhood and Community Services. It is part of the Healthy Minds Fairfax (see below) initiative, designed to support emotional wellness in youth and families.

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