Morning Routine for School

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As a mom of three and a parent educator, I know how important it is to have a morning routine for school that really works for you. The morning sets the tone for the entire day. That tone makes a big impact on how your child’s school day plays out and how well they learn.

Smiling School Girl Holding Alarm Clock with title text overlay reading How to Create a Morning Routine for School that really works

In addition to creating a morning routine for school that works for your children, it needs to work for you, too. A morning routine should make your morning go more smoothly and with less stress so that you can get everyone out the door on time with the items they need.

Frequently Asked Questions About a Morning Routine for School

  • How old should my child be to start a morning routine for school?
    • You can begin teaching your child to follow a morning routine for school from their very first day of school. Younger children will need much more teaching, encouragement and supervision than older children. But the sooner you begin teaching how to follow a morning routine for school, the sooner your child will develop independence, skills and responsibility.
  • How soon can my child be responsible for their own morning routine?
    • Both your child’s developmental stage and their personality will impact when they can be responsible on their own. I recommend that you start by teaching and working with your child on their morning routine for school. By working closely with them, you’ll be able to determine when they’re ready to take on responsibility for accomplishing morning tasks on time.
    • Using a morning routine chart can help your child in their process of becoming independent in managing their own school morning routine. I share a two different versions of free morning routine charts below.
  • What is a good morning routine for school?
    • The best routine is the one that works for you and your child. You’ll need to try out different routines and make adaptations to find the morning routine that works best for you.
  • How long should the morning routine be?
    • With my personal experience with my three children and reading the recommendations of experts, 45 minutes to an hour is the most common length of a child’s morning routine for school. However, you should use whatever length morning routine that works for you and your family.

Morning Routine for School

Prepare the Night Before

Open red backpack with books and notebooks

Prepare as much as you can for your morning routine for school the night before. I know you’re often exhausted, but no matter how exhausted you are, it’s easier to do it now rather than push it off to the chaotic school day morning.

Things you can prepare the night or day or weekend before:

Set an Alarm

Set an alarm to help your child learn to wake up with an alarm. This is a key life skill that will be needed for your child’s entire life. The sooner you can teach this skill the better for you and your child.

Use an alarm to manage the entire morning routine for school. You may need to be the one to set the alarms, but this will help your child manage each block of activity time that comprise the school morning routine.

Some particular effective alarm clocks for kids:

Close up of school girl holding a red alarm clock

Get Up Immediately

Don’t allow your child to linger in bed. I’m sympathetic to those children that have a tough time waking up, but training your child to wake up and get up when the alarm goes off is an important life skill. As it is a skill – it needs to be learned and practiced.

Go to the Bathroom

Have your child go straight to the bathroom to take care of morning eliminations and washing up or taking a shower.

Make Your Bed

Don’t let your child put off making the bed or it won’t get done in the chaos of the busy school morning routine. Learning to make the bed every morning is a great way to practice discipline and time management.

Get Dressed

It’s preferable to have your child get dressed before breakfast because if your child is running late, they could always eat a granola bar on the run. It’s much more difficult to get dressed on the run

If your child tends to spill or is a messy eater at breakfast, then you can have them eat breakfast first and get dressed afterwards.

Eat Breakfast

Set the timer for the breakfast period. Having set up breakfast supplies the night before will make breakfast easier and more expeditious. Also having a mom-approved breakfast meal plan of items your child will willingly eat reduces complaints and makes this time slot much easier.

Brush Your Teeth & Do Your Hair

Brush teeth and hair after eating breakfast because if you absolutely have to, you can have your child do those as they are walking to the bus or in the car.

Set a timer for this period of time if your child tend to become distracted with primping or wasting time.

Check Your Daily To Do

Check the daily to do list or notes that you created the night before. Have your child check their backpack checklist.

Pad Your Time Schedule a Bit

Add 5-10 minutes padding to your morning routine schedule. There will be days when things don’t go smoothly and that extra time will be invaluable.

If your child is ready on-time, allow them to do a favorite activity, like reading or coloring while they wait. Avoid activities, like watching videos or playing games, that they won’t want to end when you’re ready to go.

Tips for Morning Routines

Use a Morning Routine Chart

Use a morning routine printable. This visual reminder helps children stay on tasks and remember what needs to be done. It also minimizes the verbal reminders that mom or dad has to give.

I created a version with images for younger children and one with blocks for older children who can read. Both are free, so download your copies today.

two morning routine print-outs with graphic tape borders, one without and blue pen on it\

Limit Technology

Don’t allow T.V., tablets or smart phones. These are only distractions. Allow your children to read while eating breakfast or if they are all ready for school early and has some extra time.

Image 1 - pile of cell phones and tablets with "no" circle , image 2 boy reading book

Be Patient

Remember that you are teaching your child independence and personal responsibility. This is a process. They will need encouragement and reminders for a much longer time than you think they should. Be prepared that at they enter new developmental stages (and hormones) they may need additional encouragement and reminders.

Check out my entire collection of Simple Back-to-School Ideas.

collage of simple back to school ideas with lunches, clothes, and supplies

Pin for later so you can refer to these morning routine for school tips and share them with friends.

For more back-to-school ideas, printables and recipes check out the table below. You can scroll though the table and look for ideas or search for specific ideas with the magnifying glass in the upper right-hand corner (on desktop). Click on the topic and then click through the specific article.

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  1. I finally found that technology (which in my day was mostly TV), needed to be off in the morning. If I got ahead of the game and put on music, that helped a lot. Recently I’ve discovered the power of playing the same playlist every morning. Your brain starts to associate certain songs with the passing of time, almost like a background countdown clock!

    1. Ooh, what a great tip, Seana. I haven’t tried the playlist before, but it makes sense that it would be a powerful (and pleasant) tool!

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