Do you find mornings stressful, trying to get the kids out the door to school? Many parents can agree that this is a busy and chaotic time. Here are some tips we have used for our family to help streamline your mornings. Different tips work best for different ages, so it depends on how old your kids are and what works for them.
Prepare clothes ahead of time
This is a really simple way to make mornings go faster. I have my kids choose their clothes the night before, because this can really be a time-waster. My daughter will stand in front of her closet taking a long time to choose out just the right outfit – so why not do this the night before? You can even have them choose a backup outfit in case of a change in the weather.
Breakfast can be both healthy and simple. Some of the prep work can be done the night before, such as washing fruit, cutting it up, and having it ready to go in a container in the fridge. Things like pancakes or waffles can be frozen in batches, if you like fresh food then you can also prepare waffles in the latest waffle maker in your kitchen easily whenever you like to eat in few minutes.
You can also put out breakfast items ahead of time. Set the table the night before so that the cereal bowls are already out, glasses are ready, and even cereal boxes are out on the table.
Have a “command center”
We converted one area just for getting ready for school. There are hooks mounted on the wall for backpacks and jackets. Then we have a bench with bins. The kids have a place to sit while they put on shoes, and the bins contain everything from mittens to sunglasses. Next to it is a boot mat, so shoes are on hand.
The night before school, backpacks are packed and outerwear is chosen. This means if my kindergartener comes home with her shoelaces triple-knotted and doesn’t untie them when she pulls off her shoes, the laces are untied and ready to go for the morning.
Entryway benches with coat racks are popular and easy to find, like this entryway organizer (affiliate link) with coat rack, bench, shelves, and more.
Have snacks and lunches ready to go
Pack what you can for snacks and lunches the night before. If there are items that can’t be packed ahead of time, have the ingredients ready to assemble (for example, sandwich materials). I put the entire lunchbox in the fridge, and in the morning I add the freezer pack.
You may also want to keep a routine of emptying out lunchboxes as soon as your child gets home, so that things like plastic containers are clean and dry by the time you are ready to pack lunch.
Have toothbrushes ready
Toothbrushes and toothpaste should be ready to go. If you have a two-story home or more than one bathroom, you may want to consider having an extra set of toothbrushes and toothpaste in more than one location. Once my kids come downstairs for breakfast, I don’t want them heading back upstairs – instead, they can brush their teeth in the half bathroom on the first floor. Make sure they have the supplies they need to brush and go (that means no arguing over toothpaste!).
Odds and Ends
Have the little things ready. This could be sunscreen or a sweater. You don’t want to be scrambling around at the last minute and looking for one item that is going to make you late.
I have my phone set to beep 5 minutes before the bus arrives. This way, when I am running around in the morning, we all have an audible reminder that lets us know we need to wrap things up and get to the bus stop.
Parents: prepare your own things
I tend to procrastinate and not be ready in the morning either. Worse than having to rush the kids, is having to rush around to get my own stuff together at the same time. This could be anything from choosing my clothes for the next day, to programming the coffee maker. It can help to have some of your own things prepared in the morning – plus it sets a good example for my kids that I am organized and ready.
Sometimes any amount of organization just is not enough. It’s no fun dragging a sleepy child out of bed on a cold, dark morning. So if your mornings are dragging, you may want to consider getting your child to bed just a little earlier. By Friday, my children are much more tired than they were on Monday morning, so you can even adjust their bedtime within the school week.
Hope these tips help ~ and feel free to leave your own!