Wednesday, October 5, 2011

5 Tips to Make Your Morning Routine Flow Smoothly

Backpacks and Mommy's Purse Ready to Go
Since my son started kindergarten and my other son started preschool this year, there have been more than a few mornings that have been super hectic. Like the day we were literally running across wet grass and I pushed my son inside his classroom just as the bell was ringing, only to realize as the door was closing that only one of his shoes was tied. Or the time that he was crying as I was yelling at him from upstairs telling him he needed to be ready because I was coming downstairs and we needed to leave NOW. Then the other time he went to school without brushing his teeth because we ran out of time. The best was me running across the lawn carrying Buddha because his short legs weren't running fast enough and I almost did a face plant in my wedge heels. Yeah. Not my finer moments as a Mom. I have my excuses. I have two small children and I work full time, so I have to get myself ready in the morning too. My husband works most nights so I try to let him sleep so I am pretty much solo. But, I know there are people in worse situations, so I'll save my whining. I have figured out how to get my crap together. It only took a few weeks.

Here are some things I have learned along the way to get our day off to a good start::

Give yourself extra time. I go to work after I drop off my son at school at the bright and early time of 7:40. That means, we need to leave the house no later than 7:25. Every day, I shoot for a 7:20 departure time. Honestly, even if I left the house at 7:30, we would still be on time. But shooting for 7:20 always leaves us with enough time to drive there without speeding, park the car, and walk to the classroom and have a nice chat along the way.

Set secondary alarms/timers. I think it doesn't matter if your kids are young, or even up to high school. Shoot, this even helps me stay on track. I have an alarm set for me on my iphone at 6:00 a.m. At 6:15, another goes off  for me to wake up the Monkey. At 7:10, an alarm goes off for him to put his shoes on. At night, I have an alarm that goes off at 7:30 p.m. to make sure the kids are getting in bed.

Make lunch the night before. I know this is not always possible, depending on what it is, some things are just not good if they are prepared and packaged the night before.  I think doing as much as possible should suffice. While my son is eating breakfast I throw together whatever last minute stuff needs to be made,  assemble it all with an ice pack and a drink, zip up his lunch container and put it in his backpack.

Set clothes out the night before. This saves so much time. After my son gets out of bed and goes to the bathroom, he immediately proceeds to get dressed. I don't have to worry about him taking forever to pick something out, or fumble around in the partial darkness of the morning to find something that matches. It's there, its ready, wear it.

Make for a quick departure. I put everything we need to run out the door in one place while my little man is eating breakfast. Jacket, check. Backback, check. Lunch in backpack, check. My purse, keys and phone. Check, check check.

This has really been working out well for us. If my son starts to dawdle or lag, I just remind him now nice it is to have a good morning where we are not yelling and screaming and running across the lawn to beat the bell. He immediately starts cooperating. He knows those days suck too.

What routines or processes seem to work for your family to get everyone out the door in the morning?


  1. I've had some of those non-finer moments myself. Luckily for me my husband also gets up to help me in the morning so we try and tag team some of the responsibility. T think after 2 years of having to leave the house by 7:15, we finally have mastered the art of the morning routine! I love your tips.

  2. Love your post- and purse! You'd be amazed at some of the things brought to school in a child's backpack- like the time a parakeet can to school unbeknownst to Cody's mom - or when Calvin brought his sister's tampon for Show & Tell. Not on K curriculum to explain that one.You might like my post "The Backpack Check" under Articles by Subject- School Prepardness on my blog: Kindergarten for Parents and Teachers:
    Thanks for all your healthy funny tips!

  3. I'm reading other comments with interest b/c I am about to start going into the office, which will, as you know, be a huge change for me. And Wee 'Burb. She gets a lot of leeway in the morning to do some toddler dawdling and I know I need to change that. It helps to know there are some ways where we can help that and be ready.

  4. Our routine is very similar to yours. Also, my 11 year old can now pitch in with the nightly duties. What I'm amazed at is you can get your kids into bed by 7:30. I think the big problem is the age difference (5 and 11), but I can't get my little to sleep until the older ones bedtime.

  5. Carin, I would say 7:30 is more "the goal". They usually are in bed by 8, and then of course we read. So realistically they are asleep more around 8:30 ish unless they are super tired!

  6. Great tips- mornings are always so crazy. One additional thing I do is take out vitamins, breakfast bowls/plates and glasses the night before. I hate thinking of breakfasts, so if I know what I'm making the night before, that saves 5 minutes of staring into the fridge time...


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