Hi, I'm a Kenyan-born, Colorado-based single mom to twins Hodari and Milambu. I turned the challenges of single motherhood into a thriving YouTube community and blog. Here, I offer support and practical advice on parenting, lifestyle, and more. Let's navigate life's complexities together!
School mornings… sigh. They possess an uncanny ability to transform even the calmest of moms into frazzled, shoe-hunting warriors on a mission. Who hasn’t experienced that adrenaline-fueled race against the clock, desperately searching for that one elusive favorite shoe while simultaneously attempting to craft a Pinterest-worthy school lunch and ensure that your little ones have their underwear on the right way? It’s as if time slips through your fingers like sand in an hourglass, leaving you spinning in a whirlwind of chaos.
But hey, let’s be real here. We’re not aiming for perfection in these moments; we’re just aiming to survive with our sanity intact. And in the midst of this daily battleground, there lies a glimmer of hope. An opportunity to transform this chaotic ballet of breakfast battles and wardrobe wars into a harmonious symphony of organized chaos.
So, what if instead of running around like a chicken with its head cut off, you could glide through the kitchen like a culinary wizard, effortlessly tossing together a balanced breakfast with a flick of your spatula? Imagine the looks of pure delight on your little ones’ faces as they discover their favorite cereal at a designated “breakfast bar,” complete with colorful bowls, spoons, and tantalizing toppings that would make them breakfast connoisseurs. And amidst it all, you effortlessly locate shoes, backpacks, and all the other essentials with the precision of a seasoned detective. It may sound like a far-fetched dream, but trust me, it’s time to transform that dream into a glorious reality.
Now, let’s dive headfirst into a treasure trove of extraordinary strategies and mischievous hacks that will revolutionize your school mornings, turning them from a frantic frenzy into a symphony of coordinated chaos.
How to make school mornings easier as a single mom
1. Prepare the Night Before
One of the most effective ways to simplify school mornings and ensure a smoother start to the day is by preparing as much as possible the night before. Taking a few moments in the evening to get organized can save you precious time in the morning and reduce the likelihood of forgetting essential items. Here are some tips to help you prepare ahead of time:
Lay out your children’s clothes for the next day: By selecting and setting out their outfits the night before, you eliminate the morning rush of searching for matching clothes or dealing with last-minute wardrobe changes.
Pack their backpacks with completed homework, books, and any necessary forms: By checking and organizing their backpacks in advance, you can avoid the stress of scrambling to find missing assignments or important documents in the morning.
Ensure all necessary documents, such as permission slips or consent forms, are signed and ready: Take a few minutes in the evening to review any paperwork that needs your attention and make sure everything is signed, completed, and placed in your children’s backpacks.
Prepare breakfast items that can be easily grabbed in the morning, like overnight oats or pre-cut fruit: If your children prefer a nutritious breakfast, save time by prepping ingredients or even assembling their breakfast in advance. Overnight oats, for example, can be prepared the night before and left in the fridge to be enjoyed in the morning without any additional effort.
Waking up even just 15 minutes before your children can make a significant difference in setting a calm and organized tone for the day. This precious time in the morning allows you to take care of your own needs, center yourself, and mentally prepare for the day ahead. Here are some suggestions for how to make the most of those early morning moments:
Get yourself ready: Use this time to shower, get dressed, and take care of your personal grooming routine. Starting the day feeling refreshed and put together can boost your confidence and set a positive tone for the rest of the morning.
Enjoy a cup of coffee or tea: Savoring a hot beverage can be a simple but enjoyable way to ease into the day. Take a few moments to sit quietly, sip your drink, and gather your thoughts before the hustle and bustle of the morning routine begins.
Engage in mindfulness or meditation: Practicing mindfulness or meditation in the morning can help you ground yourself, reduce stress, and foster a sense of calm. Use this time to focus on your breath, set positive intentions for the day, or engage in a short guided meditation session.
Review your to-do list or set priorities: Take a few moments to review your schedule for the day, check your to-do list, and prioritize tasks. Having a clear plan in mind can help you approach the morning with a sense of purpose and direction.
3. Follow a Routine
Establishing a consistent morning routine can help create structure, reduce chaos, and provide a sense of predictability for both you and your children. Children thrive on routines as they provide a sense of security and help them understand what to expect. Here are some elements to consider when designing your morning routine:
Set wake-up times for yourself and your children: Consistency is key when it comes to waking up in the morning. Establishing a regular wake-up time for both you and your children will make it easier to get into a rhythm and ensure everyone has enough time to complete their morning tasks.
Allocate time for personal hygiene, such as brushing teeth, washing faces, and getting dressed: Including these essential self-care activities in your morning routine sets a healthy foundation for the day. Encourage your children to take responsibility for their own personal hygiene as they grow older, allowing them to develop independence and good habits.
Include time for a nutritious breakfast to fuel their bodies and minds: Breakfast is often referred to as the most important meal of the day, and for good reason. A balanced and nourishing breakfast provides the energy and nutrients needed to kick-start your children’s day. Dedicate a specific time slot in your routine for enjoying a healthy breakfast together as a family.
Create a checklist of tasks that need to be completed before leaving the house, such as packing lunch or checking backpacks: Having a visual checklist can help you and your children stay on track and ensure that all necessary tasks are completed before you head out the door. Include items such as packing lunches, double-checking backpacks for required items, and turning off lights or appliances.
Organization is key to managing busy school mornings smoothly and avoiding unnecessary stress. When everything has its designated place and systems are in place, it becomes easier to locate essential items and stay on top of important tasks. Here are some strategies to help you stay organized:
Designate a specific spot for backpacks, shoes, and coats to minimize searching for essentials: Create a designated area near the entrance of your home where your children can place their backpacks, shoes, and coats. This way, everyone knows where to find and return these items, preventing last-minute searches or misplaced belongings.
Use a family calendar or planner to keep track of important dates, school events, and deadlines: A central calendar or planner serves as a visual reminder of upcoming events, appointments, and deadlines. Ensure that everyone in the family is aware of and has access to this calendar, so they can stay informed and prepared.
Create a launchpad near the front door where your children can place everything they need for the day, including backpacks, lunch boxes, and jackets: Designate a specific area near the front door as a launchpad. This can be a table, shelf, or even a wall-mounted organizer. Encourage your children to place all their essential items in this designated spot before going to bed, ensuring a smooth and efficient departure in the morning.
Develop a system for managing paperwork, such as a folder or file organizer, to prevent important documents from getting misplaced: Papers tend to accumulate quickly, whether it’s permission slips, school newsletters, or homework assignments. Establish a system for organizing and storing these documents. Consider using a folder or file organizer with labeled sections for each child, making it easy to find and reference important papers when needed.
5. Prep School Lunch the Night Before
Packing school lunches can be time-consuming in the morning rush. Simplify this task by preparing lunches the night before. By investing a little time in the evening, you can ensure that your children have nutritious and appealing meals to enjoy at school. Consider the following suggestions:
Involve your children in the meal planning process to ensure their preferences are met: Engage your children in the process of planning their school lunches. Ask them for ideas or suggestions, and take their preferences into consideration. This involvement not only helps them feel more invested in their meals but also allows you to provide them with the foods they enjoy.
Prepare sandwiches or main components in advance and assemble the lunchbox in the morning: Make the most of your evening preparations by prepping some of the main components of your children’s lunches. For example, you can prepare sandwich fillings, chop vegetables, or cook protein sources like chicken or tofu. Then, in the morning, simply assemble these components into the lunchbox along with other snacks and sides.
Opt for easy-to-pack and healthy snacks like pre-cut vegetables, fruits, or trail mix: Choose snacks that require minimal preparation but still provide a balance of nutrients. Pre-cut vegetables and fruits are convenient and can be packed in small containers or snack bags. Trail mix or individually portioned servings of nuts and dried fruits are also excellent options.
Invest in reusable containers and water bottles to minimize waste and make packing lunches more efficient: Reduce your environmental footprint and save money in the long run by using reusable containers and water bottles. These not only help to minimize waste but also make packing lunches more efficient as they are designed to fit neatly inside lunchboxes and backpacks.
6. Limit Screen Time
Reducing screen time in the morning can help your children stay focused and get ready for the day ahead. Encourage activities that promote engagement, productivity, and connection, fostering a positive and constructive start to their day. Here are some suggestions to limit screen time:
Encourage your children to read a book or engage in a creative activity like drawing or journaling: Make books readily available in your home and create a cozy reading corner where your children can comfortably curl up with a favorite book. Alternatively, provide them with drawing materials or a journal to encourage creative expression and reflection.
Play calming music in the background to set a relaxed atmosphere: Music can have a powerful impact on mood and productivity. Choose soothing or instrumental tunes that create a peaceful ambiance in your home. This can help your children focus on their morning routine and set a positive tone for the day.
Establish a rule that screen time is allowed only after all morning tasks are completed: Clearly communicate your expectations regarding screen time to your children. Set a rule that screen time is earned and allowed only after all morning tasks, such as getting ready, eating breakfast, and completing homework, are finished. This encourages them to stay on track and prioritize their responsibilities.
Use technology as a tool for organization, such as setting alarms or reminders on your phone: While limiting recreational screen time, leverage technology as a useful tool for organization and time management. Set alarms or reminders on your phone to help you and your children stay on schedule. This can be particularly helpful for tasks like leaving the house on time or transitioning between different activities.
7. Set up a breakfast station to encourage independence
Creating a breakfast station can empower your children to take charge of their morning routine and foster independence. Start by designating a specific area in your kitchen where you can organize breakfast items in an easily accessible manner. Here are some suggestions to set up a breakfast station:
Install a low shelf or drawer where you can store cereal boxes, granola bars, or other breakfast options: Make it easy for your children to independently select their breakfast items by placing them within their reach. Install a low shelf or drawer in your pantry or kitchen cabinet specifically for breakfast options.
Place bowls, spoons, and napkins within your children’s reach to encourage them to set their own places at the breakfast table: Encourage your children to participate in setting the table for breakfast. Keep bowls, spoons, and napkins in a lower drawer or on a low shelf so they can easily access these items and set their own places at the breakfast table.
Keep a pitcher or carton of milk in the refrigerator that your children can easily pour for themselves, ensuring they have a nutritious start to the day: Depending on your children’s age and ability, consider using a child-friendly pitcher or a carton of milk with an easy-to-pour spout. This allows them to pour their own milk and take ownership of their breakfast routine.
Provide a variety of healthy breakfast options to choose from: Stock your breakfast station with a range of nutritious choices that your children can select from. This can include options like individual yogurt cups, fresh fruit, whole-grain cereals, or homemade muffins. Offering a variety of choices empowers your children to make their own decisions and encourages healthy eating habits.
8. Create a dedicated space near the front door for shoes and coats
Having a designated area for shoes and coats will save you precious minutes in the morning while ensuring your children are ready to leave on time. Here are some suggestions for creating an organized space near the front door:
Install a shoe rack or cubby near the front door where your children can easily store and locate their shoes: Invest in a shoe rack or cubby system that provides designated spaces for each family member’s shoes. Encourage your children to place their shoes in the designated spots as soon as they enter the house, reducing clutter and ensuring that shoes are ready to go in the morning.
Use hooks or hangers to hang coats and backpacks, making it convenient for your children to grab them on their way out: Install hooks or hangers at an appropriate height for your children to hang their coats and backpacks. This makes it easy for them to locate and grab their belongings as they head out the door, eliminating the need for last-minute searches.
Consider using labeled bins or baskets for accessories like hats, gloves, and scarves, ensuring everything has its designated place: To further streamline your morning routine, designate specific bins or baskets for accessories like hats, gloves, and scarves. Label these containers, making it clear where these items should be stored, and allowing your children to find them quickly when needed.
9. Use positive reinforcement and rewards to motivate
Motivating your children through positive reinforcement can make the morning routine more enjoyable and help them develop good habits. Here are some strategies to consider:
Praise and acknowledge your children’s efforts when they complete tasks on time or exhibit positive behaviors: Recognize and celebrate your children’s accomplishments, no matter how small. Offer genuine praise and acknowledgment when they complete tasks on time, exhibit positive behaviors, or demonstrate independence in their morning routine.
Use a reward system where your children can earn points or stickers for following the routine consistently: Implement a reward system that allows your children to earn points, stickers, or other tangible rewards for consistently following the morning routine. Create a chart or visual representation where they can track their progress and see their achievements grow over time.
Set achievable goals and milestones to encourage your children to work towards them: Break down the morning routine into smaller, achievable goals or milestones. Communicate these goals to your children and encourage them to work towards meeting them. As they reach each milestone, celebrate their accomplishment and set new goals to keep them motivated and engaged.
Celebrate their accomplishments to boost their motivation and self-confidence: Celebrate and acknowledge your children’s accomplishments regularly. This can be done through small celebrations, verbal praise, or even a special breakfast treat on Fridays. By celebrating their achievements, you instill a sense of pride, boost their motivation, and enhance their self-confidence.
10. Make time for a quick family huddle in the morning to connect, share plans, and offer encouragement
A morning family huddle is an excellent way to foster communication, strengthen bonds, and set a positive tone for the day ahead. Here’s how you can implement it effectively:
Choose a specific area in your home where you can gather your children for a brief meeting, such as the kitchen or living room: Designate a specific spot where your family can gather every morning for a quick huddle. It could be the kitchen table, a cozy corner in the living room, or even a circle on the floor with cushions.
Discuss the day’s schedule, including any important events or deadlines, to ensure everyone is on the same page: Share the day’s schedule and any important events or deadlines with your children. This will help them mentally prepare for the day and avoid any last-minute surprises or confusion.
Allow your children to share their thoughts or concerns, providing them with a platform to express themselves and feel heard: Encourage your children to voice any concerns or share their thoughts during the family huddle.
Implementing these tips will help you further simplify your school mornings as a single mom. By preparing the night before, waking up before your children, following a routine, staying organized, prepping school lunches, limiting screen time, setting up a breakfast station, creating a dedicated space for shoes and coats, using positive reinforcement, and making time for a family huddle, you can establish a smoother and more enjoyable morning routine for both you and your children.
Remember, consistency is key. It may take some time for these habits to become second nature, so be patient with yourself and your children as you adjust to these changes. Over time, you will find that school mornings become more manageable and less stressful, allowing you to start your day on a positive note.
You are doing an incredible job as a single mom, and by implementing these strategies, you are setting yourself and your children up for success. Embrace the journey and remember to celebrate even the smallest victories along the way. You’ve got this, mama!
10 Ways To Make School Mornings Easier As A Single Mom
Hi, I'm a Kenyan-born, Colorado-based single mom to twins boys. I turned the challenges of single motherhood into a thriving YouTube community and blog. Here, I offer support and practical advice on parenting, lifestyle, and more. Let's navigate life's complexities together.
@ FAITH MATINI 2021 All Rights Reserved
TERMS + PRIVACY
Faith Matini is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.