Heading back to school can be a big adjustment for many families. Summer schedules are often more relaxed. When school starts, kids may need to get up, get dressed and quickly get out the door each day.

The morning rush can be stressful, but it doesn’t have to be. Building a rhythm for your family can cut down on the chaos. Kids thrive on routine. They love a sense of predictability, and as a parent or caregiver, you’ll love it too. When everyone knows their responsibilities, it’s easier to get out the door on time.

Here are six tips for a smooth back-to-school transition and how to make mornings less stressful.

Pack Backpacks the Night Before

Spend less time scrambling in the morning by gathering homework assignments, band instruments and lunch boxes the night before. Designate a spot for backpacks and other school gear so it’s easy to grab when it’s time to go its a good way on making mornings less stressful.

The visual reminder will help cut down on forgotten items and ensure your kiddo has everything they need for school.

Make Snacks & Lunches Together

Instead of doing everything in the morning, ask kids for help prepping snacks and lunches the night before. Save time by making several days’ worth of lunches on the weekend. Or cut down on mess by building lunch prep into your dinner clean-up routine.

Check out these recipes for easy school lunches or download this printable lunch guide.

Kids love having choices. Ask for their ideas as you plan lunches and make your grocery list.

Lay Out Outfits

Making the right impression is especially important to older kids and teens. Encourage them to find the right outfit the night before.

Ask your kids to lay out their school uniform, outfit or sports jersey so it’s ready to go when it’s time to get dressed.

Choosing clothes the night before reduces the number of decisions needed in the morning. Fewer decisions = less stress. (This works well for adults, too!)

Get Great Sleep

A good school day starts the night before when you get the right amount of sleep. Not sure how many hours of sleep your child needs? Check out our helpful sleep guide.

Good sleep is the foundation of a healthy lifestyle and can impact kids’ ability to learn. A bedtime ritual can help you and your kids wind down for some quality Zzz’s.

Small changes can make a big impact on the entire family’s sleep.


Start the Day with a Healthy Breakfast

It’s hard to focus when you are hungry. Fuel your morning with a healthy breakfast.

For breakfast on the go, try a cup of whole-grain cereal in a bag. It’s easy to make ahead of time and eat in the drop-off line to make your mornings less stressful.

Quick Breakfast Quesadillas are a filling and nutritious way to start your day. Bonus tip: make a double batch on the weekend, then freeze. Reheat 1-2 quesadillas in the microwave for a mess-free, healthy breakfast in minutes.

If you’ve got a kid with a later lunch time, Peanut Butter Oatmeal is a great way to help them feel full longer. According to researchers at Harvard Medical School, nut butters, like peanut butter, contain healthy fats and fiber to help keep hunger at bay.

Sandwiches aren’t just for sack lunches. A Grab-And-Go Breakfast Sandwich will hit the spot with kids and grown-ups alike. Early alarm clocks are a little easier when there’s something tasty to look forward to.

Walk or Bike to School If Possible

Start your kids’ day off on the right foot—walk, scooter or ride bikes to school. Physical activity is essential for a healthy mind and body.

Even if walking to school is not an option, there are plenty of ways to incorporate movement into your day. Try taking the stairs, parking farther from the school building or heading to a park after school.

There are tons of fun and unique ways to get active as a family.

Every morning may not go perfectly, but having a good routine is a great place to start. Find more ideas for healthy living, budget-friendly recipes and family fun at ShapeYourFutureOK.com.