Leaving the house every morning on time with everything you need (and no yelling and screaming )is a goal most parents aspire to. We think it will get easier as the kids get older and become more independent, but it doesn't. All you can do to stay sane is put a bit of effort into creating routines to help make the mornings run a bit smoother and less stressful.
Here are our tried and true ways to make the morning routine run a better that might just work for you and your family.
1. Pack lunches and bags the night before
The most common mantra to help make life easier is to pack lunches and school bags the night before. Yet many of us just can't muster the energy to do this everyday. We suggest that the best way to tackle this is to make the lunches and fill up water bottles for the next day before you start preparing dinner. You can even do it while you're waiting for things to boil and cook. That way it's not another thing on a long list to do after dinner when you're beyond tired.
Source: Kitchen Nine
2. Older kids to pack their own lunches and bags
One thing we do get a bit tired of with many organisation pages is that the focus is far too often on parents doing all the things. All kids need the opportunity to learn life skills, and those who are capable of helping to pack their lunch should be encouraged to do it. Of course, there will be times they won't want to help or can't and that's ok. If they need a bit of guidance, a grab and go lunch box list is a handy things to have on the fridge or pantry door to help them. You can get our grab and go list here.
3. Keep a stocked up snack tub
Having grab and go snacks at the ready can work in two ways. The first, it hekps makes preparing lunch boxes and getting ready to go to the park on a weekend a bit easier, but it also helps as a bribe box! What, I hear you say. Here me out. When the kids are dragging their heels some mornings, I grab our snack tub from the pantry and ask them to quickly get themselves ready and if they do they can have a sneaky treat from the snack box before school. Works every time.
4. Set up a DIY breakfast station
Again, empower the kids to get breakfast for themselves. Have a spot in the pantry on the bench with bowls, spoons, cereal and a loaf of bread and spread for toast. The number one way to make breakfast easier on everyone is to keep options limited and no cooking required. Reserve hot breakfasts for days off, holidays and weekends. If you like smoothies or things that require a bit of prep for breakfast, do the prep at the beginning of the week and have it ready to use in the fridge.
Source: Make the Best of Everything
5. Lay out clothes and uniforms the night before
How many times have you rushed home and torn the house apart looking for those damn hockey shorts or ballet shoes. Before bed time, get everyone to lay our their clothes and shoes for the next day - yes, you too! This means you can check for any missing items and find anything that might be on the washing line or need ironing.
6. Pack after school activity bags in advance
Have a separate bag for each activity your kids do. On Sunday night help the kids pack each of their activity bags ready for the week. If you're still waiting on uniforms to dry, they can be popped in the night before when everyone is checking what they need for the next day. Another handy tip is to confirm with the kids while packing their activity bags who is dropping them off and collecting them from activities, and if you need to arrange this.
7. Leaving toothbrushes out and ready in the bathroom
This is entirely dependent on space, how many bathrooms your house has, and probably the age of your kids. I find my kids are a bit lazy in the oral hygiene department. So I like to leave subtle hints to remind them to brush their teeth. I put toothpaste on their toothbrushes and leave them lined up on their bathroom vanity all ready for when they get up first thing in the morning. It's also something I like to do for them because I do ask them to help out a lot in the mornings, and minimises the sticky mess of toothpaste being EVERYWHERE!
8. Set up a one stop drop station
This doesn't have to be special cubby holes or furniture, it just needs to be a designated spot in your house. Designate a spot near the front door or in the laundry to put all the shoes and school bags. To save on space, store lunchboxes and water bottles in the school bag. To keep shoes tidy, put them in a large basket or storage tub.