6 Ways to simplify the Morning Routine *and* be on time. No kidding.

Truth be told, I like to be on time. I’m often not, but I still like to try. It’s amazing how much more difficult it is to be punctual when you have children in tow who don’t seem to have the same affinity for promptness as I do. It’s been said getting children out the door is like herding cats (on catnip), and it’s true. On-time mornings can seem like an impossible task, but I’ve discovered a few tips for making the process easier, and much less stressful.

Lay out *everything* the night before.
Believe me, I know how unmotivated you may be at the end of a long day to spend another 30 minutes organizing the lunch boxes, laying out the next day’s clothes and packing school or diaper bags. But just compare that to the mayhem that is certain to occur when your already strapped-for-time morning becomes a scavenger hunt for a matching shoe, homework or favorite sippy cup (which will need to be washed first, natch). Preparation is key.

Give yourself a 15 minute buffer.
Something is always going to come up that will delay you from leaving the house on time. It might be a messy diaper, tantrum engulfed child, or missing blankie… but it will be something. Always pad in an extra 15 minutes to your schedule. If you want to be in the car by 8:00am, start herding those cats out the door at 7:45am. Worse comes to worst, you leave early and now have time to hit up the Dunkin drive-thru.

Get a shoe basket.
My children’s shoes are located in one designated spot at my house—in the basket right next to the door. They come off upon entering the house and voilà, are also conveniently available when heading out. This is such an incredible timesaver, you’ll wonder why you never thought of it before.

Turn off the TV.
In the mornings, the television can be your best friend or your worst enemy. If you need some uninterrupted time to get yourself ready, plunking them in front of the TV is a gift from the heavens. But if you’ve ever tried to get your kids dressed, fed, teeth brushed and shoes on while mesmerizing episodes of Little Bear broadcast from the living room, you know exactly what I’m talking about. Electric devil! I recommend turning it off at least 15 minutes prior to leaving the house so that everyone is focused on the exit strategy.

Brush teeth immediately after getting dressed.
Before all you dental professionals throw tomatoes at my house, I think you may agree that this philosophy works—at least until your kids are old enough take the reins in regard to their own dental hygiene. Keep toothbrushes and toothpaste in close proximity to where your children dress in the morning—upstairs bathroom, downstairs kitchen, any sink will do—and get to the task of brushing teeth immediately after getting dressed. Yes, it’s before breakfast, but raise your hands, parents. How many times have we let our kids go to school without brushing their teeth at all because we’re late getting out the door? (I better not be the only one raising my hand.)

Standardize and post your routine.
This may sound incredibly corny, but hang up one of those big scheduling posters like Super Nanny used to do and assign each morning task to a specific time (6am, mom showers; 7am: kids dressed; 7:15 breakfast, and so on). Here’s the kicker: Follow it! Every day! Kids really do thrive on consistency and when every morning works just like the one before, you’ll notice the cogs and the wheels of the morning routine aren’t getting jammed up anymore. Like a well-oiled machine my friends, a well-oiled machine.

If all else fails, have your child sleep in their clothes. That’ll save you a few minutes, anyways.

Do you have any tricks to keep the morning routine manageable? Share your ideas here!

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