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When our children spend so much of the day away from us at school, the moments we do have together are precious. But, they don't always feel precious in the whirlwind of getting ready and out the door each day. Sometimes it seems like no matter how much time we allot, it is never enough. After all, who can predict that last week's favorite train shirt would lead to a full-on toddler meltdown during your morning routine for school?

Here are a few things you can do to help your child have an easier morning routine when going back to school:

1. Talk it through

Choose a low-stress time, such as while riding in the car or eating a snack together, and talk through the morning routine with your child. Ask them what needs to happen in the morning before they go to school. Prompt with tasks they might forget, like brushing teeth or putting on shoes. Walk through all of the steps a few times so they have a good idea of what is coming.

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While your child will inevitably still need reminders, this will give them a solid understanding of what needs to happen each day.

2. Make a picture chart

After you've talked through everything, make a picture chart for your child depicting the sequence of their morning routine. Take a picture representing each step—one of the potty, one of their toothbrush, one of their clothes laid out, etc. Or, have fun drawing the pictures together instead!

A picture chart provides even young children a resource, other than you, to consult when they're unsure of what to do next.

It can also be helpful if your child gets off track. Remind them to check their picture chart to see what comes next. This is more empowering than simply telling them exactly what to do, which is more likely to instigate a power struggle.

If your child is older, help them write a list, or draw their own pictures of what needs to happen in the morning and post it somewhere they will see it each morning, like by the bedside table.

3. Have your child pack their own lunch

Depending on your schedule, it is likely better to do this the night before, but encouraging your child to pack their own lunch helps them take ownership of their school day.

Worried their lunch will consist of nothing but crackers and grapes? Make a simple rule such as one protein, one grain, one fruit, and one vegetable. Help them think of options in each category.

If they're older, brainstorm what they would like in each category before you go to the grocery store. Anything you can do to help them feel like they have a say in the process will help the morning go more smoothly.

4. Offer limited clothing choices

Allowing children to choose their own clothes is wonderful, but it can be quite time-consuming in the morning. Lay out two options for your young child to choose from. Always put them in the same place, such as a small shelf in their closet, so they will know where to look in the morning.

For an older child, encourage them to lay out their own clothes the night before so they won't have to decide when they're still half asleep in the morning.

5. Allow a natural consequence

When the planning and picture charts don't work, try allowing a natural consequence to take place instead of nagging and repeating yourself. It may be a little unpleasant, but it will also be effective, and will likely only need to happen once.

Are they taking too long to get out of bed? There will be no time for eating pancakes together, they'll have to settle for a granola bar in the car.

Are they refusing to get dressed? They will have to bring his clothes with him and arrive at school in jammies.

These are not punishments, they are simply things that logically happen when the routine isn't followed.

6. Build in time for togetherness

One reason that children stall in the morning is that they want you to help them because they need that time together. Build in a few minutes of togetherness before asking your child to get themself ready each morning.

It may seem like you don't have 5-10 minutes to spare, but this will likely save you time as your child will have gotten the bonding time they need and be less likely to resist the rest of the morning.

Try doing something simple, with clear boundaries, such as reading two books before it's time to start the morning routine. If they're ready early, you can spend more time together, which is also a great natural incentive.

7. Make it fun

Help them make a getting ready playlist of favorite songs to listen to while they brush their teeth and get dressed.

Let them pick a muffin or pancake recipe and make a big batch together on the weekend so that you have breakfast ready to go. Take turns telling each other what you dreamed last night over breakfast or in the car.

The morning can often be hectic and stressful, but it's also a significant portion of the time many of us get to spend with our children during the week. These little moments can give us, and our children, the little boost we need to start the day feeling loved.

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Although it's only been a few weeks since you officially met your latest love, you're probably already amazed by how quickly your teeny snuggle bunny is growing and changing. Unlike those first few days when your sleepy newborn's eyes were rarely open, your baby is likely now eagerly studying objects within a few inches of their site and reacting to sounds. Their favorite sights and sounds of all? The people in their family.

After months of pregnancy, the extreme physical accomplishment of delivery and possibly the initiation of breastfeeding, your body needs time to recover. As you go, remember that while your baby may always be on your mind, it's healthy for you to make space for self-care, too.

While you continue to adjust, here are our favorite items to keep in your tool kit (for you and baby) at the 1-month mark:

To get sweet dreams while room sharing: Ingenuity bassinet

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Experts recommend sharing your bedroom—but not your bed—with your baby for the better part of the first year. If space was already at a premium, a compact bassinet is the perfect solution.

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To free up your hands: 4moms mamaroo swing

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You may not want to take your eyes off your adorable baby, but life does actually require you use your hands every now and then to take care of things around the house. If your checklist includes tasks in the same room, a soothing swing can help keep baby content for a few precious minutes.

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To get through marathon nursing sessions: Boppy nursing pillow

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Whether from the breast or bottle, it can feel like feeding baby is your full-time job right now. Make it less of a workout with backup from a nursing pillow, which can take on a second-life as a support for your sitting baby in just a few short months.

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To start your bath-time routine: The First Years newborn-to-toddler tub

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Bath time is an important element in most nighttime routines—starting from the very first days! Focus more on the hands-on bonding without worrying your baby will slip and slide around a great big tub with a bath that is just their size.

$18.99

To celebrate baby’s first milestone: Cloud Island muslin blanket and frame set

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One month of life is a big milestone, both for your baby and you! Documenting how quickly your baby is growing each of these early months is a gift you will love looking back on for the rest of your life.

$21.99

To help with postpartum recovery: Frida Mom recovery kit

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Labor and delivery is a major event, mama—and our bodies are firmly still in recovery mode at the 1-month mark. If anything, life is probably only speeding up right now, so be sure to take care of yourself.

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To conquer early morning wake-up calls: Stars Above robe

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Chances are that your baby has taken the place of an alarm clock. When the wake-up call comes too early, it helps brighten the morning a bit by having a comfy and cute robe to slip on.

$29.99

To get some letdown backup: Up&Up nursing pads

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As you may have learned by now, breastmilk doesn't only flow on demand. Should you decide breastfeeding is your path, nursing pads will give you the protection you probably didn't anticipate you needed so you don't leak through a shirt. (Don't worry: This will ease as your supply is established!)

$7.56

To hydrate: Simple Modern pink water bottle

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It is always a good idea to drink more water—but especially now! Make it easier on yourself with a water bottle you actually like carrying around. Bonus points for being able to open it up for a drink with just one hand.

$19.99

To snack one-handed: Good & Gather snack bars

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You know when the baby last ate. But, what about you, mama? Keep some tasty nutrition bars on hand to simplify snacking when time and free hands are limited commodities.

$4.29

This article was sponsored by Target. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

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