Our Back-to-School Morning Routine

By Holly Homer

Elementary School

Now that school is back in session, our mornings around here have had a drastic makeover.

I was blessed with early-rising children. The word blessed is code for children showing up at my bedside at 5 a.m. As soon as each boy could tell time, he knew what 6 a.m. looked like on the clock and the house rule that no child of mine should be out of his room earlier than that number. Lord have mercy on me.


Prior to having kids, I was a night owl. Sleeping in was like a mini-vacation each weekend that I cherished. Waking up at 9 a.m. is glorious! The reality of my children is that I haven’t slept since 6 a.m. in 13 years. At first, it was because my kids were up and needing my attention. Now, it is because I CAN’T SLEEP because of the years of getting up and giving attention.


The benefit of children who are up early is that school days are a breeze. They have been up for hours, so eating breakfast, making lunches, brushing teeth and gathering school things can easily be pulled together.


That was my life until this year. This summer the boys slept in. At first it worried me a bit. I would go up and check to make sure they were still breathing. But by the end of summer, I was basking in the glory of breakfast at 9 a.m., and then school started.My oldest wakes easily to an alarm clock each morning. It is his choice to set it at 5:30 a.m. (It appears he was the epicenter of the early-rising habits in my house.) The other two boys are now at the age that they are standing up for their sleep rights and ignoring his pleas to join him among the awake.


This is how our morning goes:

5:30 a.m. – Oldest wakes, gets dressed, eats breakfast, packs lunch, brushes teeth and waits for school to start.


6:30 a.m. – I drag the younger two out of bed.


6:35 a.m. – I go back upstairs and rewake the younger two boys,who have likely fallen asleep while getting dressed.


6:45 a.m. – The younger boys eat breakfast with gentle nudging from me to stay awake.


7 a.m. – I pack lunches for the younger boys. I try to have things ready that they can grab and put in their lunchboxes themselves so they get used to packing their own lunch and being responsible for remembering to take it.


7:15 a.m. – The younger boys brush teeth and get hair-brushing assistance.


7:20 a.m. – I do a backpack and lunch check to make sure we have everything we need to head out the door. If anyone has spelling or memory tests, they get those things out to review on the drive to school.


7:30 a.m. – Everyone gets in the car.


My goal is to have enough time to comfortably get things done without rushing, but not TOO much time which can lead to idle hands.Idle hands turn into idle feet. Idle hands and feet get mad at their brother, and before I know it, there is a pile of fighting boys in my living room wrinkling their school uniforms…and who has time to iron in the morning?


Are your morning routines similar to this? What is the hardest part about your morning routine?