When my alarm goes off every morning, I emit an audible groan. I am in no way a morning person. What makes it worse is that I not only have to get myself ready and out the door, but I also have to make sure that my kids are clean, dressed, fed, and make it to school on time. If you are anything like me, you have to develop some everyday habits that'll make your morning routine easier with kids.
I remember praying that my kids would someday learn how to sleep in past 6 a.m. Little did I know that they would develop that skill as soon as I signed them up for preschool. All of the sudden, my early birds had to be coaxed out of their warm and cozy beds. Where had these sleepyheads been hiding all of this time? Now that I needed them to be bright eyed and bushy tailed, they were cranky, and slow. It wasn't until I came up with a complete overhaul of our morning routine that I was able to finally get everyone through the door on time.
Here are some habits that you can get into that will have make your morning routine with kids easier.
1. Pick Out Clothes The Night Before
One of the most time consuming tasks in the morning is picking out what everyone is going to wear. Kids love the independence of choosing their own outfits, but this process can be a nightmare when they're tired and cranky. Free up your morning routine by having your kids pick out their outfit for the next day before going to bed at night – including socks, undergarments, and hair accessories. Get a leg up on the week by having them choose all of their weekly outfits and accessories on Sunday night.
2. Pack Snacks For The Week On Sundays
Instead of spending tons of time on lunches in the morning, prepackage snacks on Sunday afternoons. Fill snack-sized baggies with pretzels, crackers, or other snacks that don't need to be refrigerated, and keep them in your pantry ready to toss into the lunchbox. According to Sun World, refrigerated snacks such as grapes, can decay quickly if they are washed and stored outside of their original container, so those snacks should only be packaged the night before.
3. Set Up A "Signature" Tray
How often do you find yourself signing permission slips or frantically writing out a check as you're rushing out through the door in the morning? Instead, set up a small letter tray where your kids can place anything that needs a signature or your attention. Go through these papers each evening, making sure to add important dates to your calendar, and you'll never have to worry about adding this to your morning routine.
4. Start Your Week With A Full Tank Of Gas
My car is the family car, and the only one that gets used on the weekends. This means that unless I make it a point to fill my tank on Sunday, my low fuel light will most definitely turn on first thing Monday morning. Putting off your trip to the gas station until the morning can almost guarantee that you'll be already be running late, it will rain, or there will be an excessive and unexpected amount of traffic that morning. Save yourself the headache and your kids the tardy slip by filling up your gas tank the evening before.
5. Bathe Your Kids (Or Have Them Shower) Before Bed
Not only will showering before bed wash all of the day's germs off of your kids, it will help them relax and fall asleep more quickly. Skipping the morning shower can also allow your kids to sleep in an extra few minutes or even give them a little free time to watch some television before heading out to school.
6. Check The Weather Report The Night Before
Knowing what the weather is going to be like the following day can help you have a less stressful morning. You can set out umbrellas and raincoats and be prepared if you need to head out a few minutes earlier. I always check the weather at night before going to bed and again before getting out of bed in case the forecast changed.
7. Get To Bed Early
This doesn't just apply to your kids, either. Although you may be tempted to unwind in front of the TV or scroll through your phone for an hour or two, getting to bed early will make your morning so much easier. The National Sleep Foundation has a chart that shows how much sleep the average person needs, according to age.
8. Get Up 15 - 30 Minutes Before You Have To Wake Up Your Kids
If you're like me and cherish every single moment of sleep, this one can be hard. However, you'd be surprised at how much more you can accomplish in a quiet half-hour than you can when house is awake and bustling. You can shower peacefully and have time to do your hair and makeup. Or, you can sit quietly with a cup of coffee and watch the morning news. Whatever you choose to do, you'll be up and at 'em which can have a positive effect on your children, as well.
9. Set A Bathroom Time Limit
The fight for the bathroom is one of the biggest arguments in my house. In order to combat this, I've implemented a bathroom time limit. This keeps them from standing under the hot shower indefinitely or playing a video game while sitting on the toilet.
10. Keep A Mirror Outside Of The Bathroom
If you have a kid who loves to primp, keep a full-length mirror in a room outside of the bathroom. This mirror can be used for hair or outfit prep while freeing up the bathroom for its intended purpose.
11. Invest In A Programmable Coffee Maker
Coffee lovers know that there is no better smell to wake up to than a pot of freshly-brewed java. Set up your programmable coffee maker the night before, and have a cup of coffee in your hand seconds after crawling out of bed. It will save you time, and get you caffeinated enough to get through your morning routine.
12. Use A Travel Mug
Instead of pouring yourself a cup of coffee, and then realizing you're running too late to enjoy it, invest in a good travel mug so that you can take your drink to go. My husband hates having a travel mug rattling in his car all day, so instead, we buy disposable lidded coffee cups that he can take with him in the morning, and then toss as soon as he's done.
13. Teach Your Kids How To Prepare Their Own Breakfast
By the time kids are of school age, they should be able to toast a waffle or pour themselves a bowl of cereal and milk. You can even pre-pour milk into plastic cups, and keep them in the fridge so that your little one doesn't have to handle the entire milk jug on their own.
14. Make A Hot Breakfast Overnight In The Slow Cooker
If you want your family to enjoy a hot breakfast, consider looking for some recipes that can simmer in the slow cooker overnight. All Recipes has an overnight slow cooker oatmeal recipe that is easy and will warm your family's belly first thing in the morning.
15. Use Individualized Pill Boxes For Vitamins & Medicines
In the morning rush, it may be easy to forget to give your kids their vitamins and any medicines they may take. Keep an individualized pill box for each child (and yourself) so that no one forgets to take their medicines each day.
16. Keep Backpacks, Sports Gear, Instruments, & Winter Accessories By The Door
Instead of having the kids run around collecting gear in the morning, have them set it all out by the front door the night before. That way, everything is together and ready to go as they are walking to the car.
17. Park In The Garage
If you have a garage, parking your car inside of it can help shave a ton of time off of your morning routine. You won't have to scrape ice off of your windows, or run to the car through the rain. You can also pre-pack the car with backpacks and gear the night before, without worrying that they will be visible and tempting to a burglar.
18. Keep Some "Extras" In The Car
Having a few extra items in the car to use in a pinch can keep you from having to run back home. I always keep a hairbrush, some hair ties, baby wipes, a couple of $1 bills, a set of earbuds, a pencil and a pen, an umbrella, and napkins in the car. In the winter I keep an extra jacket, scarf, and gloves, as well.
19. Divide & Conquer
Sharing the morning responsibilities with your partner can also make your day infinitely easier. Divide up your tasks so that you can each have time to get ready and sit with a cup of coffee for a few minutes before heading out for the day.