Getting out the door in the mornings always seems to be a challenge in our house. In fact, if you were to ask the one thing that my husband and I fight the most over – it is getting kids ready.
Over time, we’ve changed our ways to try to make mornings as easy as possible. Some of these things are common sense and others might be tricks that will help you get out the door quicker:
1. Pack lunches the night before. I’m sure if you had a list of morning efficiencies, this would be #1 on all of them. Leave the lunchboxes on the counter ready to go and just pull items out of the fridge in the morning. Already portioned out, labeled, love note tucked inside their box (if I send one that day!)
2. Pull out clothes the night before. Landon (5 y0) prefers that I pull out an outfit for him to wear so he can get dressed in the morning by himself. In fact, he gets dressed before he even comes out of his room. He also brushes his teeth and makes his bed in the morning – this is because we started his new chore chart and he loves getting his ‘sticker’ for the day for those tasks.
For Brooks (3 yo), he’s just starting to dress himself. Some mornings he rocks and gets all dressed by himself. Other mornings, it’s a battle to get him back upstairs to dress himself. He does undies, pants and socks by himself – has trouble with shirts still – but he’s making progress.
3. Dress the night before. If it’s going to be a really crazy morning, we just dress our kids at night in the clothes they will wear the next day. That means diaper, undies, pants and tshirt to bed and in the morning they just need the diaper removed and socks and shoes. This makes getting ready really easy.
4. Make a list. If there are a lot of things to remember in the morning – show-n-tell, book day, etc. – then I usually make a quick checklist for myself. (For example: breakfast, two lunches, SNT, homework, book for Brooks, jackets). Then I don’t waste time trying to remember what I’ll need, because I already made my list the night before when my mind was awake.
5. Decide on breakfast the night before and make it breakfast on the go. Most mornings our kids eat breakfast on the go. That may mean a bagel sandwich, an egg sandwich, PB&J, PB and banana wrap, waffle/French toast/pancake sandwich. Sometimes they get a piece of fruit like banana or grapes. My kids are not quick eaters so we have to do what works for us and what works is something mobile that they can eat on the way to school.
The night before when we tuck them in, Dean often asks the boys what they want for breakfast the next day, if they pick something like oatmeal or cereal, he gives them alternate options so they can take it to go. This way the boys get a choice but Dean can help them choose an option that makes our busy morning work. Oatmeal and cereal are usually weekend breakfasts for us :).
6. Give the kids responsibility. The kids know that I can’t help them do all their tasks in the morning. They are old enough now to do things like brush their teeth and get clothes. They know that they need to work on their stuff so mom and dad can get ready at the same time. Obviously they still need help and oversight, but I want them to grow and gain independence as they get older. If I constantly do things for them, they’ll never take the initiative to do it on their own. They also love how successful they get when they complete their tasks. They are so proud of themselves for getting their undies on the right way (Brooks) or making the bed with just a few lumps (Landon).
7. Rock out in the car. Our kids love music. And we’ve found that jamming out to Elevation Worship CD seems to put them on a good foot in the morning. They have their favorite songs (Ever Glorious is #1!!) and it seems to put them in a better mood when we start the morning with their favorite music.
What are some of the tricks and tips you’d add to get your kids out the doors quickly in the morning!