I want to push that further to how can I thrive through this morning rush?
Do What You Can the Night Before
A little preparation the night before can do a lot for you the morning of. You can choose your clothes the night before. You can help your children choose their clothes the night before. You can make a list of things that need to happen in the morning before you leave. Pack the diaper bag the night before. You can even put it in your vehicle the night before if it is secure enough. Pack lunches, prep breakfast foods...there are a lot of things you can do the night before that can save you a few minutes here and there in the morning.
Here is the biggest thing the night before. Get to bed at a reasonable hour. Make sure you and your children are in bed early enough that you can wake up the next morning.
Calculate Time Table
Really think about how much time you need to get everything done before you need to leave the next morning. How long do you take to get ready? How long will you need to help each child get ready? How long will breakfast take? Figure out how much time you need.
Wake Up Early
I am telling you that it is 110% easier to get yourself ready if you do so with your children out of your picture. What takes me 30 minutes childless and uninterrupted can easily take me 90 minutes with children popping in and out of my system. Get as much done as you can before your children are awake. It is so nice to just be ready yourself before you have to help the children get ready.
Let the Children be Independent
Do all that you can to get your children to be independent in the mornings. Help your children learn to make their own lunches (see my post on Organizing School Lunches for ideas on that). Organize their clothes for the week using my free printables Hanger Tags.
My biggest help in the mornings is having the Morning Chore Cards for my children. Each of my older children (10, 8, and 6) use these. They are always excited about them at the beginning of the year, then honestly get annoyed about me continuing to make them use them. They do get used to what is there, but inevitably if they don't use them, I run through the list and they have missed something. I often remind them that I made the cards for a reason and they need to just use them as a reference point.
I love the cards because I don't have to keep track of where each person is on the path to being ready. I don't have to remember that yes, Brayden has showered but he hasn't brushed his teeth but McKenna still needs to shower and practice her piano and Kaitlyn needs her socks and shoes on...instead of them relying on my brain tracking all of them and myself, they just use the cards to guide them through tracking themselves. These cards make the biggest difference of all of the tips I list here. When the kids are independent, it frees me up to get ready and get other things ready. It also makes it so I easily have time to help them with the tasks they need help with.
Start for the Car 10-15 Minutes Before You Need to Pull Out
I have learned that if I need to leave the house at 8:45, I can't tell everyone to get in the car at 8:44. If I am leaving alone, sure. But if I have children with me, I need to tell them to load up ten minutes before I actually want to leave the house. With four children I often have one who "forgot" to put shoes on when I say to get in the car. Someone else might suddenly realize how close he/she is to dying of thirst. Then you have the factor of buckling up a child in a car seat. All of these little things add up to minutes on the clock. If I am leaving with just the older kids, I find 5 minutes is often adequate. Figure out what time you need and make sure you have that time in your head to leave the house.
Have you found anything helpful in getting you and yours out of the house on time? Please share!