Mornings seem to be the most frantic time of day. Here are some tips that will help you save time in the mornings.
The Night Before:
Include the following in your evening wrap-up:
Pack all the items you and your child need for work, school, or day care and load the car. If that’s not feasible, place coats, bags, and lunch boxes by the door.
Designate a shelf, basket, or area for each family member to place what needs to go out the door in the morning. Check the calendar in case your child needs sneakers for gym or a snack for a field trip.
Pack lunches and refrigerate sandwiches—sometimes this is easies to do while making dinner. Put your car keys with the sandwiches if it helps you remember to add the sandwiches to lunch boxes in the morning, or put a note on the lunchbox to remind you.
Check the weather report to plan clothing and outerwear for the next day.
Have your child pick out the clothes she wants to war the night before, or lay out two outfits for her to choose between.
Make a pact with your partner to clean the kitchen and do the dishes together every night before bed.
Set the breakfast table, a great task for your preschooler or older child. Decide what to serve or breakfast to avoid early owning debates.
—Keep meals simple and get your child to commit to a choice the night before. Some hot items, like pancakes, french toast, and bacon can be made ahead of time and reheated. Wait until the weekend to make time-consuming breakfasts.
—Keep child-size cups of milk and juice in the fridge so your child can help herself.
—Set out a book to read to your child as she eats.
—For those desperate mornings when you and your child oversleeps, have breakfast items like muffins, fruit, or a granola bar that can be eaten in the car.
If you’re a coffee drinker, prepare your coffee maker and set out a travel mug.
Give your elementary school child her own alarm clock so she can start learning to wake up on her own. A clock radio that wakes her to music will better ease her into the routine. Let her pick out the style she likes best so she feels vested in this grown-up item.
Set clocks ahead by ten minutes to help keep you on time in the morning.
To help your toddler remember all the things you want done in the morning, take pictures associated with each activity. Mount them on poster board as a visual reminder. This will cut down on the nagging you have to do., and allows your child the independence to master the morning and evening routines on her own.
In the Morning
Choose your own outfit for the morning, and take five minutes to lay out your clothes the night before to make dressing hassle-free.
Clean out your makeup drawer, tossing the makeup that you never use and storing what you wear only on dressy occasions. Keep just the basic supplies you need every morning readily available. Do the same for your jewelry and hair products.
Buy an alarm clock that has a back-up battery in the case of a power outage, or buy a battery-operated or wind-up alarm clock for backup.
Wake up a half-hour earlier than you currently do, which may mean going to bed earlier.
—Before waking anyone else, grab a cup of coffee or tea, shower, and get dressed so at least one person in your family is ready to go. Then begin the morning wake-ups.
—Use the extra time to take care of a few household basics, such as switching a load of laundry pulling out food to defrost for dinner, or emptying the dishwasher.
Ask for your spouse’s help with morning tasks. If he says that he can’t because he’s trying to get to work on time then both of you should probably wake up earlier so he can help you with the morning routine.
Try to schedule in some quality time with your child and give him something to look forward to in the morning.
—Make time in your regular morning routine to play a game or read a book with your child.
—Banish television to avoid the lethargy that it causes and the battle to turn it off when you need to get ready.
—Share cereal box jokes or write goofy captions for newspaper photos with your child.
Have your toddler eat breakfast in pajamas to avoid staining her clothes for the day
If getting your child dressed consumes your morning time:
—Have her sleep in sweats or another comfortable outfit that she can wear to day care or school the next day. For a baby this means only a quick diaper change in the morning.
—Give up caring whether anything even remotely matches.
—Take your child to day care in pajamas with clothes to change into if being dressed is always a drawn-out battle. Hopefully, a day or so of this, along with the power of peer pressure, will inspire her to get dressed at home.
Let your preschooler color at the kitchen table, giving you time to clean up after breakfast.
Make getting ready a contest: can your child beat you when brushing her teeth, getting dressed, or putting on shoes?
Play music if everyone is sluggish and needs some energy.
Gradually add morning responsibilities for your child, such as helping you clear the table and clean up the breakfast dishes.
For the last minute out-the-door rush:
—Have toothbrushes, toothpaste, and a towel in the kitchen for quick access if you are running late.
—Keep barrettes, hair bands, and a brush in a basket near the front door.
—Keep a basket of extra socks with shoes by the door.
If part of the reason your family runs late in the morning is because your in-home child care provide is frequently late, sit down to discuss with her the importance of arriving on time in the morning, and consider moving her arrival time to a half an hour earlier.
Set your kitchen timer for five minutes before you have to leave.
If too many incidental delays make you late most mornings, move your goal for when to leave the house up fifteen minutes, so unexpected traffic or difficult good-byes with your child will not be a problem.