Happy Morning Routines

Category: Play Therapy

Happy Morning Routines

5 Must Do Strategies for School Morning Success

Jennifer Hector, MA, MFT


Shifting from the flow of summer to the fast pace of a school and work schedule is one of the most stressful and challenging times of the year. How can help this transition go more smoothly? What strategies can be used to shore up the rickety and chaotic shift from home to school? Here are 5 methods to engage to promote more cooperation, structure and ease in the morning.

  1. Round up the troops!
  • Have a Family Meeting to decide who does what in the AM and create a daily schedule board together.

-List primary tasks

-Keep it simple, only do the most essential tasks. Set them up for success!

(TIP: Is this task necessary? Ex: Do they really need to make their bed in the AM?)

-Use an interactive board for the schedule for added visual and engagement. (Ex: a magnet board. Kids can move their magnets from “To Do” to “Done.”)


  1. Use Audibles and Visuals
  • Timers and music can help kids engage and move them along.

-Record the morning schedule in favorite songs to accompany and remind about each task; (Ex: Every time they hear the Star Wars theme, they know it’s time for breakfast.)

-Have your child make a recording reminding herself what to do and when to do it, can also include music. No more being nagged by Mom or Dad!

  • Use the Time Timer or other apps for visual and audible cues


  1. Tasks the Night Before
  • Pick and set out clothes and shoes- have a designated bin or basket
  • Take evening showers/baths
  • Pack backpacks and put by the door
  • Assemble all items in one place, near the door.

(Tip: Use a box, basket, or shelf at the door to help everyone stay organized)

  • Make lunches and/or get lunch money prepared


  1. Efficient Breakfast
  • Maintain a ready supply of breakfast foods that you and your kids can eat quickly. Have a breakfast drawer of things ready to grab.
  • Find nutritious, easy-to-grab foods (hard boiled eggs, cheese sticks, yogurt, bananas, etc.)
  • Eat breakfast! Eat breakfast! Don’t give up on finding foods that they will eat in the AM. Feed that brain!


  1. Get Ahead of Schedule
  • Get up 30min before the kids are up to give yourself wake up/self time
  • Set your clocks ahead 10-15 min; can help all stay in good time
  • Use a great alarm clock for parents and kids. See link below for ideas.



Creating more structure and routine in the morning with these 5 strategies adds to predictability and decreases the anxiety kids feel in the morning leaving the comforts and known of home to the unpredictable experiences of school. Kids thrive in predictable situations especially ones that they have a hand in creating (i.e. schedule and possible chosen reward if they finish tasks before time to leave) with features that are motivating for them. May this 2017 transition back to school be one that the whole family can rally around and navigate with more ease!