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Daily routines simplify getting kids to school


Milly Carter
Administrative Associate, Urban Region
University of Missouri Extension
Phone: 816-252-7717

Published: Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Story source:

Lisa Wallace, 660-885-5556

Back to School

BLUE SPRINGS, Mo. – Does the beginning of a new school year bring chaos to your household? A family routine is essential to avoid hurried mornings and frantic evenings.

“Most parents would rather be kind and relaxed, not a drill sergeant barking out orders,” said Lisa Wallace, University of Missouri Extension human development specialist. “By planning a few rules and setting a routine, you teach your children responsibility and are a more effective parent.”

Wallace offers tips to gently bring some order to household chaos:


-Each child should have an alarm and know how to use it.

-If you must, check to make sure the children are up.

-No TV, computers or video games until they are dressed and ready to walk out the door!

-If some of your children are dawdlers, don’t try to hurry them; just get them up earlier.

-What is your child’s wake-up style? Some kids pop out of bed quickly. Others need a few minutes to become fully awake. They often respond to having their back rubbed and while you talk to them in a calm, soothing voice. Of course, you’ll have to plan on the extra five minutes it takes you to soothe them awake, but this also can be a very comforting time for you as a parent. Be in tune to your kids’ wake-up styles and you’ll benefit!

-Set your children’s clocks five or 10 minutes ahead. Even your teenagers might not notice and it gives you a little breathing space.


-Have kids lay out their clothes for the next day. You can do it yourself for the younger ones, or help them do it.

-Lay out dishes and any nonrefrigerated foods for breakfast.

-Pack the next day’s lunches or get lunch money ready.

-Sign any permission slips, report cards, forms, etc.

General organization

-Have a drawer, basket or notebook for each child’s school papers.

-Keep a big family calendar to jot down appointments and events such as sports practices, games, PTA meetings, etc.

-Make sure your children know that they are responsible for giving you papers to be signed, etc. Of course, for young children, you’ll need to remind them each evening and periodically go through their backpack.

-Have a specific place for each child to keep backpacks and other items for school.

-Rotate family tasks such as setting the table, cooking, cleaning dishes, etc., so each family member has a job. By giving to the family, children feel good about themselves. Plus, it’s one less thing you have to do.