a helpful reminder

last year before school started, i did my best to figure out how to make our school mornings run more smoothly.  since the kids only go to school 2 days a week, i already have it easy, but we still managed to have mornings filled with yelling and tears, rushing to gather supplies and shove food down throats.

after a lot of thought about identifying the obstacles that we couldn’t get around every morning, i came up with a new plan.  after a full school year of trying out my new plan, i can absolutely say it works!

happy mama list

i shared this list last august, but i thought it is a good reminder again, especially for those of us still trying to find our back-to-school groove.

when we did prep the night before school, it was so much more calm, and magically faster, and our mornings were a time when we could actually have conversations and enjoy each other.  what a concept!

so here’s the breakdown:

1.  make lunches the night before.  generally this is a task that the kids do, but i’ll help sometimes just to make sure they get all the right things in.  in the morning they just have to grab their lunch from the fridge and toss in an ice pack.

2.  pick out outfits the night before.  the kids all know how to check the weather on my phone for the next day so they can dress weather-appropriately.  they have everything layed out, from undies to shoes, so in the morning all they have to do is put on the clothes they already decided on.  also, i don’t pick out my kids’ clothes.  it is not worth the battle.

2 1/2. shower the night before.  this one didn’t make the list last year, but it really helps us.  we have always been morning bathers, but having the kids shower at night saves us from yelling “hurry up!!!” in the morning.  so much less stress!  now it just eats into bedtime…

3.  pack backpacks the night before.  everything but the lunch boxes should be ready to go!  any forms needing to be turned in, show & tell items, projects due… everything!

4.  set alarm early.  last year i tried to get up 30 minutes before the kids to hop on emails and clear some mind space but his year i have just been setting my alarm five minutes before theirs.  i don’t even bother checking my email and just go straight into job #1 – mom.

5.  detach & engage.  i need to be off of my computer and engaging with my kids.  that helps everything go more smoothly.  as soon as my kids sense even the tiniest bit of me getting distracted, they take full advantage of the situation and will have all the legos out building a medieval castle or something crazy that we definitely don’t have time for in our mornings.  my attention needs to be on them.

so there are my tried and true tips for having peaceful school mornings!  i hope that these can help some of you!

oh, why did i call this the “happy mama list” and not the “happy family list”?  because when mama’s happy, everybody’s happy ;

feel free to print off your own here.


  1. 1

    Lindsey I have been reading your blog and following you for two years now and never commented. From one mama to another I love the words of wisdom and creative spirit that you impress on your readers. It’s so refreshing and real. Thank you.

    • 2

      first of all, thanks so much for reading for so long and for taking the extra step to comment! even i am bad at commenting on blogs, so thank you!
      second, you just warmed my heart! what sweet words- thank you! i feel like i’ve been missing my blogging mojo, and encouraging words like yours are so helpful!


  2. 3

    My daughter is only a year and a half old but this kind of list would definitely be a help for when she is old enough. Right now we are still trying to decide if I should go back to work or continue to stay home…. it’s a big decision.

  3. 4

    Hi Lindsey! To piggy back from Kerri’s comment, I also appreciate your creative wisdom and thoughtful posts. Out of all the blogs I like to read, your is one of the few that I subscribe to. Your content is heartfelt in spirit and easily relatable. I have also had to streamline our morning routines this year. The night before prep is definitely key and this mama needs at least 30 minutes of quite time with coffee in the morning. I find that a cup of coffee and an episode of I Love Lucy gets me going! Warmest regards, Sara

  4. 5

    I have never made the connection with my kids behavior and #5. You are so right! If they see me on my phone checking emails they take that as a license to turn the television on or goof off…thanks for the “aha moment”!

  5. 6

    Great list. We’re not at the school stage yet but I’ll definitely save this for later!

  6. 7

    Hey Lindsey, Great list. Can make the difference between a good or bad morning.

  7. 8

    I printed this out last fall…put it in a cute frame and, I still love the reminder xo

  8. 9

    I REALLY needed to read number 5. The hardest thing for me to do is detach in the morning, but you are right if I get distracted the whole morning routine goes out the window.

Speak Your Mind