Of course, it would be lovely if mornings went as planned; kids dressed in clothes that actually match with ample time for breakfast eating, teeth brushing and hair combing would be ideal. Though your reality is a hectic search party for missing shoes and an attempt at breakfast in the car, it doesn't have to be. A big thanks goes out to the moms and their tried-and-true advice on how to get kids out the door on time.
Getting as much done beforehand is only going to help when morning comes. Make PB&J sandwiches on the weekend and put them in the freezer for a hassle-free lunch during the week. Freeze yogurt and fruit for a fun breakfast popsicle that's good on the go. Mom Amaranth gets everythingready the night before by laying out outfits (shoes included!), packing backpacks and bathing the night before to cut down on the AM to-do list.
Up and at 'em
You'll never be on time if your kids are hitting the snooze button … or if you are sleeping in. Get up on time to stay on track. Elaine gets her kids up by any means necessary. This may include getting younger siblings to pounce on older siblings, a threat of getting sprayed in the face with water, or an early morning tickle fight.
Ready, set, race!
Speed things along by seeing who can get dressed the fastest. Christina noticed how much faster her son got out the door when he raced Mom. Set siblings against each other to see how quickly they can actually get dressed when a prize is at stake.
Next stop, lunch
Kept anonymous, one mom on Real Simple sets up a lunch station to make packing lunches a cinch. A drawer in the kitchen filled with water bottles, sandwich bags, little containers for fruit and napkins makes it easy for kids to make their own lunches.
Eliminate choices to save some time in the morning. Instead of offering a rainbow of options, let your kid choose between two choices. Blogger Jennifer lets her daughter choose between pigtails or a ponytail instead of asking, "How should we do your hair today?" to cut down on decision making time.
For early mornings, Sarah suggests using a reward system. Poker chips are a way to visually show children their accomplishments. Tell your kids they can earn chips when they wake up on time, get their backpacks ready the night before, or other tasks that need to be done. Having 20 chips to earn more television time, for example, will certainly motivate kids to get ready without dawdling.
No more "I forgot" trips
Another Real Simple fan noticed how multiple trips back to the house were making them tardy. She puts reminders on the back door (library book due Monday! Shin guards on Tuesday!) to keep track of everything; but once they leave, there's no going back.
If the alarm doesn't go off or another morning roadblock puts you behind schedule, your emergency pack in the car will make up for lost time. Amy packs a hairbrush, floss, sugarless gum, a healthy granola bar for breakfast and a couple dollars for school lunch in a bag. Leave this little kit in the car for mornings when things don't go as planned and you won't have to worry about your kid getting to school without brushed hair or breakfast.
Several moms all said that no matter how late you are, there is always time for hugs and kisses in the morning. Though this might not be a shortcut to a quicker morning routine, it will make for a better day at school.
Emily is putting her English and Humanities degree to use editing and writing all over the world. Trying to see all 7 world wonders (while visiting as many countries as she can in between), Emily loves wandering alleyways, beautifully photographed food, stumbling upon impromptu flea and food markets. She can usually be found camera in hand, munching on a street food and never has her headphones out of reach.