The Joy of Teaching – An Evan-Moor Blog

Sharing creative ideas and lessons to help children learn

5 Practical Tips for a Less Stressful School-Day Morning for Mom


Mom and young son eating breakfastIt’s back-to-school time, and if you’re like me, the mornings haven’t been as easy as they were during the summer break.

I’m envious of those who implement the ambitious ideas and tips on Pinterest boards, such as:

While these are clever ideas, this type of organization doesn’t always fit my family’s lifestyle, and adds the pressure of more to-do’s. So for those of you who are in pure survival mode (like me), read on…

In my humble opinion, it starts with taking care of you first:

  1. Get at least 8 hours of rest. You probably started sleep deprivation with pregnancy, if not sooner. Going to bed earlier—closer to when your children go to bed—will help improve your mood and cognitive functions for activities like multi-tasking or driving a car. Learn more with this article: Sleep Deprivation: The Dark side of Parenting.
  2. Set your alarm before the kids wake up. I find this the most helpful, even if it’s as little as 15 minutes earlier. Waking up before the kids gives me time to take my shower, drink a cup of coffee, do some reading, catch up on email, or walk the dogs.
  3. Provide 1–3 options for breakfast. Better yet, decide the night before. As the morning groans begin, you don’t want to delay the best way of starting the day: eating a healthy breakfast. So, give your children options for breakfast that you can handle preparing, or better yet, decide the night before so you have things pre-planned and ready when they wake up. Check out Martha Stewart’s 30 quick and easy breakfast ideas including parfaits, smoothies, and breakfast sandwiches.
  4. Plan your outfit. Yes, Mom, this means you. As much as we hear about setting clothes out for our children, especially those of us with daughters, it is as important for you to know what you are wearing so you are not slowing down the morning routine or getting frustrated at the last minute wondering what you will wear.
  5. Get ready the night before. Pack the children’s homework, plan lunches and snacks, pack sports bags, set reminders out for your spouse about soccer practice or picking up milk on the way home. If these things are done the night before, it will help you sleep better and help to ensure nothing is forgotten the next day.


We want to start the day for ourselves, spouse, and children as calmly and organized as possible. This doesn’t mean you have to rearrange your house and label every single thing. Instead, I recommend taking some time out for you, do a bit more pre-planning, and definitely get more sleep.

I hope these tips are helpful for you. Please share your own practical school morning routines below.

Contributing Writer

contributor-trisha-smallTrisha Thomas is the mother of two and serves on the board of directors at a co-op preschool. She has also been a marketer of educational materials for grades PreK–8 for more than 15 years.

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