featured image

Kimberly Andrich created a morning routine chart and checklist to helped everyone get out the door on time for school.

“I asked you to get your shoes on! We should be backing out of the driveway right now. Let’s go!”  
Does this sound familiar? These are the sounds of the nearly daily struggle to get kids out the door and to school on time. For many parents of school kids, this is the most difficult part of each day.  
I, for one, am dreading this daily dance. It is one of the reasons I want to hold onto summer as long as I can. But the beginning of the school year is coming, along with those chaotic school mornings, like it or not. 
Our mornings used to be more chaotic than they are now. We always seemed to be running late, the kids dashing into school minutes after the bell rang. Sure, the first week would go well. We’d be there twenty minutes early, so I knew the kids could do it, but it didn’t take long to settle into a slow-motion version of the morning shuffle.  



I’d be frazzled and exhausted before 8:00 AM, and, on many days, it took a long time to recover from that. I was tired of playing the part of drill sergeant every morning. I knew we needed to make a change.  
I also believe in giving my kids age-appropriate responsibility and in teaching them how to direct themselves to do what they need to do.  

Chore charts have worked for us, so a couple years ago I implemented a morning routine chart. While I still frequently need to remind the kids to keep moving, now they can see what’s next and follow it. I included both words and pictures for my readers and non-readers, and I set alarms on my phone to go along with the different stages of our morning routine, signaling to them when they should be moving onto the next step. I color-coded the steps on my chart to go along with the alarms and put the chart on the door to the garage at their eye level. 



The first alarm tells them when they have five minutes left to eat breakfast. The next tells them when it is time to move on from breakfast and begin brushing their teeth and hair. The next alarm signals it’s time to put shoes on and gather their backpack and everything else they need, and the sound of the last means it’s time to get in the van. If we follow that exactly, we are ten minutes early to school. Honestly, that is rare, but we are on time or early much more consistently than we ever had been before. And sometimes we are even backing out of the driveway before that last alarm goes off. 
One thing that continued to be difficult was gathering everything together: backpack and folder, filled water bottle, winter gear, and lunch from the refrigerator. Again, I wanted to start to give my kids more responsibility in gathering those things and to also get a little help so that it would not continue to fall only on my shoulders.  



So I put together another chart. This one, complete once again with pictures, simply lists the items they need to gather. But gathering everything on the list was still chaotic as each child scrambled, with little time left, to gather each of her things, and each had a different level of ability in doing so. Over time, it fell again primarily on my shoulders to gather everything together as the kids were running out the door.  
This year, I’m planning to give each child her own task in helping to get those things together. Each will be responsible for checking her own backpack and folder, which should have been set out the night before. The oldest will fill water bottles and put them in the side pocket of the correct backpack. The middle daughter will help me to gather winter clothing from where it was hung to dry overnight, and the youngest will get the lunches from the refrigerator on cold lunch days. 
This is not foolproof, unfortunately. I have one child who is consistently early in getting things done and one who takes her time with everything. My third is somewhere in between. There is still, then, some stress and some rushing involved, but it is substantially less than it had been. 

Click to tweet:
I was tired of playing the part of drill sergeant every morning. I knew we needed to make a change. #CatholicMom


Getting out the door to school each morning is often stressful. Having some sort of morning routine and organization can make the process much easier and quicker for everyone and can decrease the stress, even on mornings when it’s harder to get moving.  
This is what has worked for us, but there are certainly other ways of organizing our morning routines. What have you done that has worked for you and your kids? 



Copyright 2023 Kimberly Andrich
Images: chart on door photo copyright 2023 Kimberly Andrich, all rights reserved; all others Canva