Simple Tips for a Better School Day

Mornings are hard. They are hectic. There are often tears. Sometimes even the kids cry. But … we all know a better morning leads to a better day.

Here are a few things I know work — not that I always do them.

— Get up before your kids, so you have to time to breathe and inhale coffee.

— Anything you can do the night before makes for a better morning … make lunches, sign forms, pack up schoolbags.

— Know where your keys are.

— Play music. Sometimes its Spa Radio, sometimes its the kids’ favorite artists. Waking up to tunes seems to put an added spring in their step.

— If you have toddlers or young kids, start saying, “Put your shoes on,” at least 20 minutes before you have to leave the house.

Once they walk through their school doors, we can relax for a few hours because they are then someone else’s problem. I thought it only fair to ask a school for some tips that will make the job of teachers and staff easier.

Peggy Quinlan, Assistant to the Principal at Ridge Elementary School, in Ridgewood, NJ responded with three great suggestions/reminders.

In the morning, give your child breakfast.  Even if they say they are not hungry!  If you are running late every day, set the clock for 10 minutes earlier….but have them eat breakfast every day.  Children who don’t eat get headaches at 10 a.m., disrupt the class when they ask to go to the nurse, and are always a step behind in that day’s work.  A simple breakfast – cereal w/fruit; toast with peanut butter; scrambled egg; fruit smoothie – something needs to feed their brain each and every morning.

 Spend 10 minutes with a magic marker:  Mark your child’s EVERYTHING….lunch box, back pack, agenda, folder, sweatshirt – basically anything they own.  When they lose it (which they will) if their name is on it, it will be returned.  If not, it will be tossed or donated, and they lose schoolwork, and you lose money.  This is a simple solution and relieves a lot of anxiety.

Make the after school plan. Talk over breakfast or in the car. Each morning, remind your child of what that day’s after-school looks like.  “Take the bus home today” or “Remember to go to Aftercare” or “Aunt Sally is picking up” or “you are going for a playdate with Jack”  – these simple sentences make a huge difference in your child’s day.  Remind them if anything changes, you will let them know through the school.

Are you a teacher, an administrator or a parent and can add to this list? Please email me. Subject line: “Morning tips”

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Author: Karen Latimer

Dr. Latimer is a Family Physician and Wellness & Parenting Coach. She works with parents who want to feel more confident when helping their children and coaches young adults to help them better navigate college life and transitions. Contact her at to learn more. She is the author of two Audible Originals, Take Back the House -- Raising Happy Parents and Worry Less, Parent Better. She is also the co-founder of the app that makes your life easier and puts social in a healthier place -- List'm.