The morning school routine isn’t necessarily the highlight of anyone’s day, but it’s not something to dread, either.

If you’re looking for the secret to making the morning school routine easier, it’s simple: Get everything ready before bedtime. In other words, make the morning routine part of your bedtime routine.

It sounds like a no-brainer, but I didn’t adopt this concept until adulthood. I have childhood memories of scrambling around the house many mornings, nearly missing the bus as I frantically tried to grab everything I needed for the day.

There were a few days I even forgot critical materials, such as class binders with homework assignments due that very day. I’m thankful to have had a very kind and patient bus driver who would circle around our huge neighborhood loop just so I could make a mad dash back into the house for my things.

Now that I’m working full-time outside the home and raising a child, I can’t afford not to prepare for the morning school routine on Sunday nights and the weekdays. Although I sometimes run a bit late dropping off my child at preschool and then getting into work, it’s not for lack of being ready. Instead, it’s more just me getting really into a blog post that I’m writing or book that I’m reading.

Preparing for the morning school routine the previous night is a peaceful pre-bed ritual.

Don’t tell my husband, but I don’t mind morning school routine prep as much as I let on to him. There are worse chores. I mean, sure, there are more fun ways to spend my time, but of all the mom responsibilities, putting the “stuff” in a bag or in a pile by the door isn’t so bad.

Here’s what goes right by our front door (which is fortunately right by our bedroom) the night before each school day:

  • Two pairs of undies for those potty accidents (yes, they still happen on occasion)
  • Two pairs of shorts
  • Two t-shirts
  • Socks
  • Shoes
  • My work backpack, which includes my laptop and all my work essentials
  • In the winter, a Mütze (German word for winter hat) and Mantel (coat). In the summer, Sonnencreme (sunscreen) and Sonnenbrille (sunglasses).

Here’s what goes on my son’s nightstand:

  • A clean water bottle with fresh water, which he drinks from if he wakes up thirsty in the night, but which he also takes to school the next day

Here’s what goes in the bathroom so that I can get ready for work before my son wakes up:

  • Work clothes and shoes
  • Makeup
  • Hair straightener
  • Any miscellaneous items that I need for the next day

When we add another baby to the mix in September, the morning school routine–starting around November when the baby begins daycare–will get a lot hairier. Diapers and bottles and breastmilk, oh my! By perfecting the morning school routine now, with a three-year-old, I’m hoping that my future mornings with a preschooler and a newborn won’t be totally crazy. I can handle a little crazy, but I’m hoping to minimize the all-out insanity.

Mornings often set the tone for the rest of the day, but don’t get discouraged by the inevitable “bad mornings.” Even if you prepared perfectly for the best possible morning school routine, embrace the fact that bad mornings happen from time to time. They just do. On those days, my best advice is to roll with the punches when they come, and remember that a single bad morning doesn’t have to define the rest of the day. Once you get everyone in the car and buckled in, take a deep breath, turn on some good music, and be grateful that one of these less-than-stellar mornings is behind you.

With your morning school routine, though, the good mornings should outnumber the bad, especially as the kiddos get older. Now that’s one aspect of parenting to look forward to.

What are your tips for less-stress mornings? Please comment to share them!

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