Keep Morning Peaceful With A Nightly Routine

As you know, we have recently started back to school. This year, I don’t actually have to get up and get my three children ready and out the door by 7:30, like I did last year.  Luckily, Judd takes them to school in the morning.   I am anything but a morning person, so for me to wake my not-morning-people kids is a bit of a challenge. I’ve found that sticking to a nightly routine is the best way to make sure things go smoothly with a 7, 5 and 2-1/2 year-old in the morning.

So my tip for smoother mornings is to get toddlers and young children to stick to a nightly routine. I made a checklist for each task they have before bed. These include:

  • Homework/ Reading
  • Get pajamas on
  • Set out tomorrow’s clothes
  • Decide what you’re having for lunch
  • Brush Teeth

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Download this in Microsoft Word! Nightly Routine.doc

The most important aspect of this checklist is that it is in pictures.
This way, my pre-schooler can follow along as well as the second grader. They simply love checking these things off, and the best part is that I don’t have to nag about each thing! They can never say “You didn’t tell me to do that!” or “I forgot.” Now, each morning, they have all their clothes out, so I just have to slide them on sleepy bodies.

I use the checklist each week to award allowance. They also have to clean their room on Saturday. If being prepared isn’t a great motivator, money usually does the trick!

So, do you use a nightly routine, and how do you tackle getting ready in the morning? Moms of older kids, what is your system?


  1. I have a 1st grader and a second grader! We have a similar night routine but another great idea for older kids is for them to have their own alarm clock. The kids always remind me to set it for them and they like having that feel of being more grown up. If all else fails and I hit snooze too many times then I have them running into my room telling me to get up and turn off their clocks!

  2. I agree, we have to go by a schedule. The routine is key, especially with 3 kids (2nd, 5th, 8th grades). I don’t have a schedule checklist right now (I have in the past), it seems to work great for one child and not so good for the other two. One part of the bedtime routine is to start it early enough to get in bed on time, especially with 3 kids and various baths & showers to be taken, hair to dry, etc. (BTW, I am not a morning person either!)

  3. Another great addition to the list (I don’t know if this is more the mom or the teacher in me) is to pack bookbags in the evening and place them by the door ready to go. When homework is finished, notes & reading logs are signed, books are loaded, and the most important item for sharing time is selected, all before bedtime, the rush-out-the-door mornings seem to go sooooo much smoother.

  4. Nightly routines make happier families in the morning. As a kindergarten teacher, families that have routines at night tend to have happier, prepared children as they enter the classroom. I hope many moms will take this checklist and use it with their children. You are creating an environment for your children to become responsible and successful in school. Thanks Sarah!

  5. Great tips, everyone! Thanks for chiming in!