There are many differing opinions in this world, but one thing everyone can agree on is that early mornings with kids are tough. Trying to get your kids out the door in the morning on time while also having eaten breakfast, brushed their teeth and gotten dressed without their shirt ending up inside-out can sometimes seem like a Herculean task, but there are strategies you can use that will make it at least a little less tempting to just send the kids to school in their pajamas.
Here are four tips for getting your kids out the door in the morning with smiles – and your sanity – intact:
The night before:
- Lay out clothes
The more you do at night, the less there is to take care of in the morning – and the parent of any picky child knows that choosing just the perfect outfit can be a huge time waster. Prevent any meltdowns or indecisiveness before school by having your kids lay out their outfits the night before, including socks, shoes and any accessories. Make it a habit to pack backpacks the night before, too, so there aren’t any scrambles for lost papers or books during breakfast. Mornings don’t always have to be madness!
- Create a ‘launch pad’
It’s amazing how many forms, gadgets and other items kids need for school these days. Save the stress and confused head-scratching by corralling all these items into a single place – a “launch pad,” as Ann Dolin, author of “Homework Made Simple: Tips, Tools and Solutions for Stress-Free Homework,” suggested in an interview with Parenting.com. The launch pad can be any large container or box, and it should contain anything and everything your children need for school, such as lunch money, permission slips and library books. Place it near the door so it serves as a visual reminder before you and your kids head out the door.
- Pack lunch
When you’re scrambling to put together a lunches for your kids during a hectic morning, you’re much more likely to toss in a bag of chips or other unhealthy packaged snack for the sake of convenience. Help your kids enjoy balanced diets and get the nutrients they need by preparing lunches the night before. Pack them in Fit & Fresh containers and store in the fridge – in the morning, all it takes is to grab and go.
The morning of:
- Create some extra motivation
Kids can’t be blamed too much – many of us drag our feet in the morning. But there are some clever ways that you can give them a little motivation to get ready on time. Making getting ready in the morning a race is a good strategy, according to Good Housekeeping magazine article that interviewed moms, parenting experts and organizational specialists. Challenge your kids to see if they can get dressed faster than you can, or see who can be first in line at the door, ready to go. If mornings are getting out of hand, you could also try establishing consequences if kids act up – if they don’t follow their morning routine and are late to school, they may lose TV time or have money taken out of their allowance.