By now, everyone is back in school. While many of us are sad, some breathe a deep sigh of relief. Ahhh…

One thing that we ALL dread is that morning rush. The mad frenzy to make sure they have everything they need for the day, and that the kids are fed and dressed. And sending them off on a cheerful note would be nice as well!

A peaceful morning does not just happen by accident. It takes careful preparations and the creation of routines. And it also takes preparing much of what will be needed the night before.

7 things to do the night before

1. Have a process and routine for going through bookbags, signing papers and getting homework done and back in the bag.

2. Have a system for organizing and planning your children’s wardrobe. Less is more. And uniforms are awesome! Plan mix and match outfits you know your child likes. Have a time in the evening when you encourage or assist them in picking out clothes for the next day, all the way down to sock, shoes and accessories.

3. Double check your calendar and your children’s (and your hubby’s). Know what is on the plan for the next day. Is there a field trip? Does hubby have a late meeting? Is it gymnastics day and you need to get gym clothes clean? Do this earlier in the evening and not just before turning off the lights! Checking the weather is a good habit as well. Keeps you from sending your kids out in a shorts and a t-shirt when a cold front is coming through and it is only going to be 50 degrees tomorrow.

4. If your child takes a lunch, prepare as much or all of it the night before. Be sure to have a good lunch box system to help keep things separated and to keep foods at proper temperatures. I encourage you to have your child learn to take on this responsibility as early an age as possible. Keep foods specific for the lunch box stocked in the pantry and fridge.

5. Prepare for breakfast. Know what options are available the next morning. Cooking a hot meal each morning may not be feasible or necessary, but with proper planning, you can send your kids of with more than a bowl of cornflakes in their tummies! Also, look ahead to dinner. Does something need to come out of the freezer?

6. Plan a time to sit quietly with your child and listen to them talk about their day. I found that bedtime was good for this, although you may have to start a few minutes before bedtime or they will keep talking to keep from having to go to sleep! A quiet time of connection is a great way to prepare for a better tomorrow. If it is of your choosing, bedtime prayers are great for this as well!

7. Set your alarm clock earlier than your children’s. Of course this will vary depending on the ages of your children, and depending on whether you have to get up and out to an outside job yourself. The key factor is to get up and awake before your children if at all possible. Time to make the coffee, get a shower, get dressed, all these will help you with your morning, so set your alarm earlier. I know that 30 extra minutes of sleep may seem necessary, but it will pay off in a smoother morning!

What things do you find help make for a better morning?