The school year has started and with it comes hectic and busy mornings. Busy mornings bring a lot of challenges for families who have many places to go, busses to catch, and school to get to before the bell rings. It’s not always easy to get out the door on time with the kids and not starting your day off on the wrong foot with a lot of stress.
Now that three of my kids are back in public school, we’re re-learning how to get out the door each morning without being late and it’s not an easy task. If you have kids in school or you’re starting a new morning routine, being late is easy to do, but with some planning you’ll have more than enough time to get everyone where they need to be.
1. Prepare the night before
Trying to fit everything you need to get ready in the morning is probably one of the biggest reasons you’re late. If you can prepare certain things the night before, it’s going to make a world of difference in those busier mornings. Pack the lunches, sign the forms, have your kids shower and set their clothes out for the next day before bedtime. If your kids are still young, take a quick check that they put both their shoes on the shelf so you’re not scrambling to find them when you’re heading out the door the next day.
2. Have a set bedtime, and stick to it
Having well-rested kids and being well-rested yourself can make a huge impact on how smoothly your morning goes. My kids can be very persuasive and it can be easy to allow them an extra 20 minutes to play before lights out, but I’ve really learned their bedtime schedule is so important. Sacking to a time allows their body to get used to drifting off to sleep and they’re less likely to groan and moan and be late waking up the next day.The same is true for me too. If I don’t get enough sleep at night or stayed up to watch an extra episode of the latest obsession show on Netflix, I regret it when I’ve hit ‘snooze’ on the morning alarm and struggle.
3. Wake up 15 minutes before waking the kids
Coffee before talkie, right? Waking up only 15 minutes before everyone else gets up in the morning allows space and time to drink my morning cuppa Joe before the chaos starts. It also gives me time to double check any forms I had to send back and get breakfast started and it can make a huge difference. I’ve noticed the calmer I am in the mornings, the calmer the kids are and the morning always runs on time.
4. Give simple instructions
My kids are still sleepy when I wake them up and if you’ve ever been abruptly woken from an alarm or someone else, it may take a few minutes for your brain to really wake up too. Your kids can take an active role in getting ready each morning, and you can help them stay on track by giving simple instructions. “Go brush your teeth, please,” works better than, “Go brush your teeth, make your bed, and out your homework in your bag, please.” They can still get all that done, but by giving simple instructions, there is less of a chance of them forgetting a step and you getting frustrated.
5. Simplify where you can
You see them everywhere: the photos of parents who make elaborate lunches each day for their kids. Some have sandwiches shaped as their favourite Disney character and others have adorably cut fruit to encourage their child to eat. When my kids first went to school, I thought making lunches was going to be fun for both of us. But, I quickly realized that I didn’t have time each day to spend time perfecting the look of the lunch. So, this year, I simplified and stopped trying to one-up those Pinterest-perfect lunch boxes.Another area you can simplify is breakfast. Yes, sometimes having rainbow blueberry pancakes are fun for the kids, but when you only have a short amount of time each morning, cereal or oatmeal is just as good. And you’ll cut back on time and stress.
6. Have a place for everything
I can’t say enough how much organization can save your sanity when you’re running late or have a lot of kids to help get ready. It streamlines everything you need to do to get out the door and you won’t have to explain to your child’s principal that you’re late because you couldn’t find their left shoe.Have your kids place their shoes in the same place when they get home, get a basket for the counter for them to place their school agendas and any form you need to sign. Keep hats and mittens together in a bin in the closet, and label where your kids should hang their backpacks. During the chaos of home time, it may be easier to just throw things where they are, but in the morning, you’ll be thankful that everything has its place.
What helps you get your kids to leave the house on time? Share in the comments!
Devan McGuinness is the editor-in-chief and founder of byDevan.com. Previously blogging at AccustomedChaos.com, Devan branched out to start byDevan.com — a resource for busy people who still want time for exceptional. She has been married to her high-school sweetheart for 10 years and they are parents to 4 children, who they home school. Diagnosed with celiac disease and casein intolerance, the allergy-friendly recipes on byDevan are real meals she and her family actually eat at home.