8 incredible morning hacks to simplify your life and get your kids to school on time

Do you struggle with getting your kids out the door on time on school days? Maybe you just need to try a few hacks to simplify your morning routine.

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  • Now that everyone is headed back to school, it's time to take a look at your morning routine. If a lot of your morning involves a chaotic rush to get out the door, it's probably a good idea to look at what you can do to make things smoother. Here are eight tips for not only surviving the morning rush before school, but for making it fun, as well.

  • Create a command center

  • 20 Fabulous Command Centers
    20 Fabulous Command Centers / via Pinterest
  • Yes, this tip might sound a little science fiction-y, but it will truly help keep you organized and sane. In this time of electronic gadgets, sometimes it's nice to have everything laid out where you can see it in print. A command center is an area where you keep everyone's schedules, grocery lists, mail, important reminders and documents, calendars, etc. It's also a good designated place for charging phones and other electrical devices because you'll always know where to look for them, eliminating the last-minute ransacking of the couches, cupboards and bedrooms.

  • Set up a lunchbox assembly line

  • School Lunch Station
    School Lunch Station / via Pinterest
  • Making cold lunches day in and day out, remembering each child's preferences and keeping the lunchboxes straight can be exhausting for the best-organized mom. Setting up a lunchbox assembly line means you don't have to break the world's speed record on slapping together sandwiches. Plus, your kids get to customize what's in their lunches, which they'd probably prefer anyway.

  • Blogging moms everywhere have all kinds of strategies for this. Many use baskets to separate lunch items. Children should grab one thing per basket, and baskets might include the ingredients for a sandwich, a vegetable, a fruit and a treat. Keep the school lunch schedule posted nearby so your kids can keep track of which days they want hot lunch.

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  • Children might be more willing to cooperate with the assembly line process if you include their favorite treats for dessert, like [Sara Lee Snacks] or Entenmann's Little Bites, which come in fun flavors like apple cinnamon muffins, crumb cake, brownie and snickerdoodle.

  • Use backpack hooks

  • Crafty Southern Mama: Organizing Back to School...& GIVEAWAY!
    Crafty Southern Mama: Organizing Back to School...& GIVEAWAY! / via Pinterest
  • How often do backpacks disappear in random corners or under beds, leading to panic attacks and tears when it's time to run out the door in the morning? Having backpack hooks gives children a particular place to hang their bags, and you can immediately tell when one is missing.

  • Australian blogger Katrina, at The Organised Housewife, said she likes to use a "Have you packed?" list to keep her children's school bags organized. She puts it on her wall above the backpack hooks within easy viewing so her kids check it when they go to grab their bags. That way they take responsibility for their own backpacks and she isn't asked every morning what else needs to be packed.

  • Set the table the night before

  • Anything you can get done the night before means one less thing you have to rush around doing in the morning when you're less awake and more stressed. Set out anything that doesn't have to be refrigerated in the evening, or, if you plan on making breakfast, get out the recipe, the ingredients and all the measuring cups so all you have to do is measure, mix and cook.

  • Organize weekday boxes

  • When your children have lots of weekly activities, setting up boxes with the items they need for each day can help keep things organized. For instance, put the soccer ball and cleats in the Monday box and put them away in the Wednesday box after Monday's practice (if practice occurs multiple days a week). When library books aren't being read, put them in the Thursday box to remind you what day they're due. Keep swimsuits and towels in the Saturday box for swimming lessons. Make sure after they're laundered they're put back in the box, instead of lost in the back of the closet or the bottom of a clothes drawer.

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  • Lay out clothes for the week in advance

  • One Product Makeover: Kids’ Clothes Back to School
    One Product Makeover: Kids’ Clothes Back to School / via Pinterest
  • If your children's school doesn't require uniforms, one of the most time-consuming parts of the morning routine can be waiting for your little darlings to figure out what they're going to wear — or sending them back to their rooms to change when they emerge wearing clothing combinations you don't approve of. Get the decision-making done Sunday by having each child assemble the week's outfits and set them aside. Certified professional organizer and blogger Angela Ploetz suggests using a hanging closet organizer labeled with the name of each weekday to keep the clothes separated and neatly folded.

  • Play music

  • If your children have a hard time waking up or transitioning between different morning tasks, another helpful strategy can be to play fun, upbeat music in the morning. Have each song correspond to a particular task, and make it a rule that when the song ends, they must move on to the next activity. How much more fun is this idea than having to yell at everyone about when it's time to get out of the bathroom or that they should have been dressed 10 minutes ago?

  • Have a set morning routine

  • Kid's Morning Routine Flash Cards
    Kid's Morning Routine Flash Cards / via Pinterest
  • It will help the morning run more smoothly if your children know what's expected of them and if there's a particular order that helps them get everything done correctly. One blogger, Amy Locurto, created free printable flashcards for her kids that suggest an order for their morning tasks. She said these cards are helpful because her family members aren't morning people. Having a checklist requires less thought when your brain isn't fully functioning yet.

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  • Whether you need treats for lunch or something delicious to feed your kids before they go to school Entenmann's Little Bites are here to make your morning go smoothly so everyone gets fed and out the door on time.

  • Check out Entenmann's Little Bites and Sara Lee on Facebook for more fun ideas to improve your morning routine.

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Katie Nielsen received her bachelor's in English with an emphasis in technical writing. She has taught English and is a published writer.

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