The Single Mother’s or Father’s Guide to School Mornings

One of the most difficult parts of the day for a single parent can be school mornings. Trying to get yourself to work on time can be difficult enough — add a few kids and one fewer pair of hands to help and you’ve got yourself a challenge. A friend of mine asked for some tips recently, and I wrote out mine for her. Tweak my ideas and make it work for you — here are some suggestions to get you started:

1.  I always lay out my son’s clothes the night before.  It seems minor, but helps a lot — the rare nights I forget, it seems to derail the morning.  He’s 11 now and I have him lay them out sometimes, just checking to make sure he’s done it.  (On a chair in his room — he lays out pants, shirt and socks.)

2.  Breakfast:  I make a huge batch of waffles once every week or two and freeze them — I substitute hemp protein powder for 1/4 of the flour so they are high-protein. I add about 6 chocolate chips per waffle so he wants to eat them (tricky mama!)  Just toast in the morning, heat maple syrup (about 1 T) in the microwave, dump on the syrup and serve.  voila!

3.  I make sure his backpack is by the front door (he usually drops it there anyway) every night, so it’s grab and go on the way out. 

4.  NO electronics in the morning.  (no TV, no computer, no electronic toys) Also no playing with non-electronic toys unless we’re running way early.  (rare)

5.  Music.  I always put on a soft, relaxing CD as soon as we walk downstairs in the morning.  I like this one, or this one.  Either of those seem to set a calm tone, which is wonderful!  That helps me start my day with some inner peace as well.  Or use any music that you and your kids find relaxing.

6.  Time for me.  This is the hardest one but when I do it, it’s great.  I try to get up before him and be ready so I can sit down, yes, sit down at the table and have a cup of tea while he eats.  Much more relaxing than running around until we run out the door.  Doesn’t happen every day but I’m getting there. 

What are your go-to ideas for getting out of the house on school mornings in relative calm? Please add your ideas in the comments below.



  1. Thanks for an idea, you sparked at thought from a angle I hadn’t given thoguht to yet. Now lets see if I can do something with it.

    • Kimberly Graham

      Thanks for your comment! It took me a few months at least, to find the right combination of things to make school mornings run pretty well for us. Now, all that stuff I do works like a pretty well-oiled machine, most days. And when I forget to do something on my list, I notice it. Please let me know what works for you. I’m posting today about holiday tips for single/divorced parents, I hope that’s of some value to you as well. Be well! Kimberly

  2. One of the moms at our school bakes the maple syrup into the waffle. So they are ready to toast an eat immediately.

    I have a calendar by their backpack hooks reminding them of special things to pack each day. It’s in two sections, during school and after school. So during might be Wednesday PE (sneaks), Thursday Music (recorder), and after school would be Monday=band(sax), Tuesday=gymnastics(leo and snack).

    It’s color-coded, of course, and in a spreadsheet (of course, LOL)

    For food I pre-make eggs-n-sausage on the weekend and make them egg burritos from the fridge.

    • Kimberly Graham

      Well of course it’s in a spreadsheet, my pointy-headed smart friend. lol! Thanks for the comment and ideas, those are awesome! 🙂

      Happy Almost Solstice, too!