5 Ways to Prepare for Smoother School Mornings

This post was originally written a couple of years ago when our girls were heading back to school. I wanted to re-share these tips and in looking at these photos I noticed that the backpacks they got that year were re-used last year and are still in great shape, so this year they're going on year 3! I can definitely speak to the quality of High Sierra's bags. Now, whether you just started a school year or you're about to, I hope you'll appreciate these tips for smoother school mornings!


We had a whirlwind first school morning and after just one school day, I'm reminded of the huge difference a little preparation can make for smoother school mornings!

Yesterday was the first day of grade 4 for Katrina and grade 6 for Talia. I usually like to take nice "1st day of school" photos in the morning and drive them to school so I can help them find their new classes and be there to offer any reassurance, comfort, or pep talks that may be needed.

Disclaimer: This calm photo was not taken on the first day of school.

This year however, we were in a hurry because I received a court summons for jury selection for yesterday. I was just as nervous about that as the girls were for school yesterday morning! We only have one car so I grabbed a quick cell phone shot of each girl before jumping in the car and we all drove to the courthouse where I said goodbye and Ken took the girls to school.

Actual, hurried first day of school photos.

Ken reported back with details and everything went well. At the end of the school day we were able to pick them up from their bus and hear all about how the first day went. Now that we've gone through one full rotation of a school day (with all of the extra stresses and changes to the schedule that came with our first day), I am reminded about how important preparation is for the school days and weeks ahead of us!

It's so easy for things to get very busy and before you know it, you feel like you're in a bit of a rat race! There are things you can do and routines you can set that will make a big difference to the way your school mornings run. Here are 5 things we do:

Post Routine Charts

I've been making and printing routine charts for years. The template for the charts hasn't changed much (except my kids can read now, so we've eliminated pictures), but the tasks change a little each year. It is so nice to have the morning and evening routines posted somewhere in the house so you don't have to keep reminding them what's next or asking them if they've accomplished each task. You can just refer them to the chart!

Here's an example of one of our past charts:

Have a Designated Spot for Planners 

As part of our after school routine, the girls get out their school planners as soon as they get home and put them on the table for me to read any notes from their teachers and sign or initial any forms or work that have been sent home. When I'm finished with their planners, I immediately return them to their backpacks so they don't get misplaced. This year they both have High Sierra Loop Backpacks (in different colours), and they have a little pocket meant for a tablet which is just the right size for a planner. This way we always know where to find them when we need them, and notes don't get forgotten!

Have a Designated Place for Backpacks

We have a very small entryway in our home, so we have struggled with creating a good place for backpacks to "belong". This year Ken installed two hooks on the walls in our small front closet, just low enough so that backpacks can hang below coats. As soon as the girls are finished with them, that's where they go, and we don't have to run around the house, trying to remember where someone's backpack is in the morning!

Make School Lunches the Day Before

It makes a huge difference to the craziness of school morning if you don't have to think about packing lunches! I know this from experience- I've done it both ways. I'm so happy to have broken the last-minute lunch habit because it really helps to make our mornings more calm and organized!

Katrina was really excited to pack her lunch for the first day of school this year because she has a new High Sierra Double-Decker Lunch Bag. She got to work early on her lunch and took photographs on my phone because she thought I'd want to put them on my blog! Here are photos she took of her lunch bag and herself, with everything all packed:

Set Out Clothes the Night Before

We haven't really made this a habit in past years, but I think we're set in our other routines enough that we can introduce this one this year. I'd much rather have the girls pick out their clothes the night before so we have time to find missing items and solve other problems without the pressure of the countdown 'til we have to get out the door!

How do you prepare the night before, for smoother school mornings?

Disclosure: Products were received from High Sierra to facilitate this post. All opinions shared are, as always, my own!

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  1. Great tips to stay organised. I recently saw that someone chooses their school clothes for the week and each set is in one of those 5 drawer small plastic, see through stands. Each drawer is labelled with the day of the week. I like this idea as the child can help choose what it wants to wear (within reason) and this can all be done at the weekend leaving every school night free for other chores.

    1. Thanks Eliza! Yes, I've seen that idea too! I think it's a good one (and nice not to have to think about it each night).

  2. oh I really like your idea of the routine chart! What a great way to stay organized and to follow a nightly plan. I will do something like this when my youngest daughter goes to school next year. This year it is pretty straight forward with just my oldest being in school

    1. Thank you! I hope you enjoy your last year with your daughter at home with you! :)

  3. Thanks those certainly are great tips.Have a good year girls !

  4. Our bus is picking the kids up 45 minutes earlier this year so I can use all the help I can get, thanks!

  5. These are awesome tipes. We always say a prayer for our kids before school everyday for safety and knowledge

    1. Thanks for sharing that! We do a prayer in the mornings too. I think it's an important thing to do. :)

  6. Awesome ideas - thank you! It is so important to be organized and prepared, since something always goes wrong it seems!

    1. You're very welcome! It's true. We've been keeping up on our routines so far (I know its still September, but I'm hoping we can continue to keep it up!)

  7. Debbie White BeattieOctober 27, 2017 at 2:32 AM

    I like the check list so they get themselves ready. I love the backpacks and lunch bags; they're awesome

  8. Organizing and thinking ahead is so important. Great tips!

  9. I also like the idea of the list so that children can check what they should be doing or might have forgotten to do. :-)

  10. These are great tips - I'll make sure to use them next year!

  11. Making lunches the day before is the best. It saves my sanity in the morning.


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~Heather Lynne