School mornings are complete chaos. I don’t care if your kids are babies and in daycare or teenagers in middle/high school. Getting out the door in the mornings can be so hard! I remember when the kids were babies and I was going back to work after maternity leave. Trying to balance “what time will they need to eat?” with “do I have enough changes of clothes and diapers/wipes?” was enough to drive me crazy. And as they have gotten older, while some things have gotten easier, other things are still hard. I mean, how many times do I need to tell them to put there shoes on? Seriously.
So I put together a list of things that have helped us get out the door on-time with minimal craziness. Other tips/tricks definitely welcome!
1. I pack their lunches/snacks the night before
You all know I love food prep. So I’m sure it’s no secret that I love having their lunches and snacks made ahead of time. I also go one step further and put everything in their lunch bags and put them in the fridge the night before. I even fill water bottles and leave them in the fridge. What I usually do is when I am unpacking their lunch bags from the day, I just refill them and they go right back in the fridge. This way all I need to do is add cold packs in the mornings.
2. Eliminating TV
Our kids love TV as much as the next kid. And their routine used to be wake up, watch a show, eat breakfast, etc. Last year when Graham started kindergarten and we had a bus to catch, our mornings became way too crazy. Something had to give. So I made the executive decision to eliminate TV. The stress of making sure to wake them up early enough to make sure they could watch an entire show BEFORE breakfast and getting dressed wasn’t worth it. It was met with some objection at first, but luckily it didn’t take them long to adapt. And now they don’t even ask.
3. I am 95% ready BEFORE they wake up
Since starting this whole “racing out the door for school and work” thing, I have figured out that I need to get myself pretty much ready to go BEFORE they wake up. So I will have most of my things packed, and I am dressed and ready to walk out the door when I wake them up. I allocate a full hour to getting the kids up, fed, dressed, and out the door, which seems to be about what we need.
4. I have streamlined breakfast
Nathan and I joke around that I always need a “system” for things. So when I tell him something isn’t working, we laugh that we need to fix “the system.” Last year I would stand at the kitchen island and take breakfast orders. Seriously. Obviously that wasn’t working for us. So we now have a list of 3 things they eat for breakfast, and none of them are complicated. On “eggs, sausage, and toast mornings,” Nathan will prepare the eggs and leave them for me. Small things add up to huge time savings overall.
5. They have morning chores
Now that the kids are 6 and 4, they are capable of doing certain things for themselves. After breakfast, I send them upstairs to do their morning chores while I am cleaning up the kitchen. They are in charge of making their beds, getting themselves dressed, and brushing their teeth. It’s not always a seamless process, and it’s sometimes met with whining or protest, but it’s a non-negotiable. On “cereal mornings” Graham makes his own breakfast. He is starting to load his dishes in the dishwasher. And this year I want to start working with him on packing his own lunches and snacks. Accountability is key.
So that’s it. Nothing earth-shattering, nothing crazy. But these little things have definitely helped take the crazy out of our mornings. I know in 3 years when Graham transitions to a new school and has to catch a bus before 7am things will shift once again. But for now, this works for us.
Your turn. What helps you get out the door on-time? At what age did your kids start having chores? Advice/tips/tricks ALWAYS welcome!