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The Children’s Book Review
There is nothing more apparent to me as a mother than the importance of having a routine for school mornings. They say kids thrive on routines, but the truth is that routine (and plenty of sleep) provides sanity for parents and caregivers, too. When everyone knows what needs to be done and who needs to do it and by what time shoes and socks should be on, mornings become a whole lot more bearable.
Of course, there are always morning meltdown moments and days when routines have to be tossed out the window—sick days, snow days, and no-coffee-in-the-pantry days (ha!)—but knowing that there’s a routine to fall back upon makes these days easier to handle.
We all want to start school mornings off on the right foot—feeling content, mindful, and ready to take on the world. With this in mind, here’s a sample routine that you can tweak and make your own, along with some books you can use to help create it and enable your kids to own it and enjoy their personalized routine.
The biggest tip is to try and have as much ready as possible the night before, and set two alarms. Two alarms? Yes! One for the morning set for your preferred wake-up time. The second? Set it for five or ten minutes before you need to leave the house so that everyone knows it’s time to gather belongings and head out the door—this saves you from having to go into nagging mom or dad mode. If you need an alarm clock recommendation, we’re partial to using an Alexa enabled device like the Echo Dot—waking up and preparing for the day to a favorite song or soothing sounds can really help set a positive tone. Singing and dancing as you leave the house sounds so much better than resistance and even tears.
A Simple and Mindful School Morning Routine
- Wake up!
- Bathroom time. (Bathing at night time is a great way to wind down, but if showers in the morning are preferred, now is a great spot in the routine to freshen up.)
- Make your bed. This step sets the tone for the entire day with such an easy accomplishment (once you get past the initial grumbles that sometimes come with a new routine).
- Mindful activity. (You can flip-flop steps 4 and 5, but starting the day with a good stretch and a stomp in jammies is pretty fun!)
- Get dressed. (Check the weather and layout your outfit the night before.)
- Eat breakfast.
- Brush your teeth.
- Lunches go in backpacks. (Prepare lunches, charge devices, and have bags ready to go the night before.)
- Shoes and socks on.
- Time to go!
5 Books to Help Create This School Morning Routine
The following books, written for varying ages, have you covered for mindful activities and getting dressed, as well as breakfast and lunch prep. All are excellent choices for making morning routines fun and keeping things positive. They also enable kids to be responsible for their day. Now that’s empowering!
Written by Mariam Gates
Illustrated by Matthew Rivera
Need a mindful morning activity idea? Reading Dinosaur Yoga is a fantastic option for starting the day off with strength, flexibility, and a sense of calm and focus. Mariam Gates is well-known for her beautiful books on yoga, and this newest picture book is an excellent addition to the collection with some fabulous social-emotional learning that will last kiddos a lifetime. Preschool and elementary-age kids are enticed to move along with a set of crashing, bashing, thrashing dinosaurs who want to learn yoga. Readers discover that just because you can be ferocious … doesn’t mean that you have to be ferocious. There are gorgeous mixed-media illustrations throughout, a parents’ guide to the postures, and dinosaur facts in the back matter. Dinosaur Yoga would also be great for classroom use, too!
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Ages 4-8 | Publisher: Sounds True | October 22, 2019 | ISBN-13: 978-1683643043
Written and Illustrated by Sarah Jane Hinder
You may recognize Sarah Jane Hinder as the illustrator of the gorgeous picture books Good Night Yoga and Good Morning Yoga. In her new book, the bright yellow cover of Hello, Sun! features a young girl reaching for the sky, ready to receive the day. It sets the warm and inviting tone of this lovely book. Your yoginis can move through this sun salutation to warm up their bodies, calm the mind, and boost the body with energy. For any early risers in your household, you’ll definitely want to make time for the joyful Sunshine Meditation included on the final page. This book will leave readers ready to greet the day with an open heart.
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Ages 4-8 | Publisher: Sounds True | September 3, 2019 | ISBN-13: 978-1683642831
Written and Illustrated by Brenna Maloney
This picture book is a funny take on how-not-to get ready on a school morning. Having an imagination is a great thing until creativity strikes and prevents you from donning your school attire. Sometimes a little humor is just the ticket for encouraging those that might prefer to build a spaceship or rescue a sea creature instead of getting dressed and out the door in time for the school bus.
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Ages 3-5 | Publisher: Viking Books for Young Readers | January 29, 2015 | ISBN-13: 978-0670015498
Written by America’s Test Kitchen Kids
If getting kids to eat breakfast or pack their own lunch feels like a chore, it might be time to have them make, bake, or cook some of their own food. We’ve found that kids who make their own food choices and prepare it themselves tend to be better eaters. This particular cookbook is an award-winner and a #1 New York Times bestseller. It includes an entire chapter on breakfast and provides plenty of recipes that could be prepared for dinner and would also make excellent leftovers to pack into that lunchbox. The delicious recipes, presented with step-by-step photos, have been kid-tested for cooks of all skill levels.
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Ages 8-12 | Publisher: Sourcebooks Explore | October 16, 2018 | ISBN-13: 978-1492670025
Written by Jacqueline Linder
Jacqueline Linder is the founder and CEO of LunchBots. She has been designing school lunch containers and helping parents simplify lunch packing since 2008. Bento box containers are so convenient, and the different compartments in the boxes help kids (or mom and dad) to remember to pack all of the food groups. Jacqueline’s new recipe book has over 100 ideas that are super quick to throw together—most of them require little to no cooking. That’s perfect for busy moms, dads, and caregivers, and even better for getting kids to pack their own. Have your kids bookmark the lunches that they want to pack for themselves, and then they can pull out the book in the evening when it’s time to pack up those lunch boxes.
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All Ages | Publisher: LunchBots | 2019 | ISBN-13: 978-0578475660
We’d love to hear from you in the comments section below. Feel free to share your own tips and tricks for creating a morning routine.
Header image from Hello, Sun! written and illustrated by Sarah Jane Hinder.
The article 5 Books to Help Create a Simple School Morning Routine was curated by The Children’s Book Review and sponsored* by Sounds True. For similar books and articles, follow along with our content tagged with Back-to-School, Mariam Gates, Sarah Jane Hinder, and School Life.