Organizing School Morning Routines

Professional organizer, Marie Ricks says you do that by eliminating those early morning decisions.

Parent’s goal: Eliminate school morning decisions and confusion

Several examples include:

1) Make it easy to get dressed. Choose clothes by the week and put in a closet sweater holder by Monday morning. This is especially useful for younger children. Make packets including top, bottom, socks, and shoes. In colder weather, store coat and winter accessories in bottom holder.

Child’s goal: Make your bed, take off your pajamas, put your pajamas away, dress yourself in today’s school clothes, and put on your shoes.

2) Teach children to be independent in the kitchen.

Choose several cold cereals and store in opaque plastic containers. Have a backup box of all cereals at all times. Teach children to serve and clean up after themselves every morning, including serving themselves, putting their bowl in the dishwasher (which means that the dishwasher must be cleaned out the night before), wiping the table, and pushing in their chair.

Child’s goal: No one can tell you were in the kitchen because you cleaned up after yourself so well.

3) Keep school items collected in one place. Have a

labeled plastic container for each child for his or her school needs. When an apple is needed for a science project, put it the plastic container. Permission slips go here, too, as does the backpack, sweater, and books.

Child’s goal: All school needs, including backpack, science project items, and school library books are kept in personal school container.

4) Make it easy to handle school papers. Have

labeled letter trays for each member of the family. Homework, tests, and permission slips, and go in mom’s box for review (usually the top box). She files obsolete paperwork and returns current paperwork to each child’s box for his or her retrieval and return to their backpacks.

Child’s goal: Put papers needing Mom’s attention in her box. She will return them to your box after dinner. They are to be retrieved and put in backpack before bedtime.

Look at all school morning decisions and move them to the night before whenever possible. Look at where confusion reigns and find ways to eliminate or reduce it. For example, one mother who drove her kids to school every morning had her children put their backpacks in the van the evening before to eliminate, “I can’t find my backpack….”

There are many ways to improve school mornings. What will your goals be?

Professional organizer Marie Ricks comes to the rescue of every “home manager” with weekly projects that take less than one hour. She will help you conquer your clutter and create a “house of order.”

Visit her website at for more useful tips.

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