Show of hands: how many parents would be super stoked if I could wave a magic wand and your kids would instantly be ready int he morning? Since this is the internet, I’ll just assume that all of you raised your hands. Sadly, fairy godmothers and magic wands are relegated to the world of fantasy. But that doesn’t mean that plenty of moms don’t still want to know how to get kids ready faster in the morning.
Whether you’re dashing out the door to make it to work on time, trying to get your kids to catch the bus, or both, parents everywhere can agree that an efficient morning routine is extremely necessary. But what about the occasions when your routine falls by the wayside?
It can be as simple as not getting a good night’s sleep the evening before, a child being sick, or realizing you’re out of clean underwear — any little thing can completely throw you off your game in the morning and cause you to fall behind. Luckily, there are some hacks you can employ on even your most chaotic days that will help restore a little order to things. So if you’re looking for tips to get ready faster in the morning, look no further.
1. Prep At Night
This one may sound like a no-brainer, but you'd be surprised how many things you think you can do come morning time because, "it won't take that long." But it always does. So get as much ready, set out, and planned the night before to save you precious minutes tomorrow.
2. Wake Up Earlier
You're probably thinking, "duh!" right now, but this isn't what you think. This tip is for you to wake up an hour earlier than your kids, because it's much easier to get things accomplished without kids running around. You may miss the sleep, but the quiet time you gave yourself to get ready is worth it.
3. Write It Out
Whether you have a great memory or not, it's surprisingly helpful to write out what needs to get done. You can do this the night before or in the morning before your kids are up. But it's a great way to reduce stress and help you create a solid game plan for the day.
4. Divide & Conquer
This one is a game-changer. Using the list you wrote with all the things that need to be completed on it, start figuring out who can do what. For instance, your partner can make breakfast, your older child can help dress a younger sibling, and you're free to do whatever you need to do.
5. Get Kids Involved
My morning struggle is that my son is at the age where he wants to do everything himself. But as you probably know, it takes kids 20 minutes to do something that takes an adult 10 seconds. Rather than fighting your child on this, let them feel independent but allowing them to do small tasks on their own, like picking out a shirt or helping pack lunch.
6. Make Mornings A Game
This is easier to do with slightly older children, but can be adapted no matter what the age. If you have multiple children, have them race each other to see who can get dressed the fastest. If you have one child, time them to see if they can complete tasks by a certain time. For younger children, break up races and timed tasks into smaller segments.
7. Have Back-Ups
You tried your best to stick to the routine, and suddenly you have to leave in 5 minutes and your child has one shoe on. I like to buy myself time by having spare things ready. Having breakfast bars on hand or a back-up pair of shoes kept by the door can literally save my day.
8. Save It For The Car
Remember that not everything has to be done before you leave the house. It may not be ideal, but you can save some things, like putting on shoes and finishing up hair. for the car ride to school, daycare, or work.
9. Do Double Duty
Have your child read up on homework while you're fixing their hair. If they're old enough, have them pack their lunches while you're making breakfast. Combining tasks is a great way to save time.
10. Give Ownership
You'd be surprised, but even toddlers can feel pride when given responsibility. My 2-year-old son may not be able to do as much as a kid twice his age, but I can delegate things like cleaning up his room or grabbing his jacket and backpack without him needing my assistance. Don't be afraid to let your child do more, because all that means is you'll have to do less.
11. Set Boundaries
Since you don't want your kid drunk on freedom, make sure to have clearly defined limits to what you do and don't want them to do for themselves in the morning. For instance, my son knows he can wash his hands by himself, but he needs help to go potty. This provides a great balance to letting your child help out in the morning without creating a time-wasting mess for you.
12. Switch It Up
My son sometimes drags his feet (literally, on occasion) when I ask him to do a morning chore he normally has no problem with. His need for "newness" can leave him bored and sluggish with tired routines. Vary your and your child's morning by swapping chores or asking them to come up with a fresh idea.
13. Get Them Distracted
Sometimes it's your own child who is eating up the most time when you're trying to get them ready in the morning. Give your kid a short and simple activity to keep them out of your hair while you tackle the multi-step taks. I have my son do a few puzzles while I'm in the kitchen and it works wonders.
14. Set It To Music
Music does amazing things for your mood and it can also keep things on pace like a good musical. You can use songs in multiple ways: tell your child that they have until the end of the song to get a task accomplished, give them something to do by letting them pick out a CD for the car ride, or you can use their favorite song (with gradually increasing volume) to wake up the grumpiest of kids with a smile.
15. Don't Be Afraid To Ask For Help
This is always tough for me to do, but I never regret it once I've done it. Some days are just tougher than others, and it's not a sign of weakness to ask for help. Whether it's your partner, oldest child, or someone else, if you feel overwhelmed by morning tasks, let a trusted person know. I promise you won't regret it, either.