Wondering how to get out of the house quickly with kids? Get tips to survive and even thrive the morning rush with kids.
I am typically a very patient person who is quite calm, but nothing stresses me out like being late for something.
And nothing makes you late like trying to get kids out the door. The experience can at times resemble herding cats.
I don’t care where you are going, if you have to be out of the house with your children ready for something in the morning hours, things get hectic.
And any mom knows that the mom who feels hectic and stressed about being on time just isn’t the nicest mom ever.
Most of us don’t like being mean moms, but sometimes “mean” is what gets children moving.
So the question becomes, how can I survive this morning rush?
I want to push that further to how can I thrive through this morning rush?
Follow these tips and hacks to make mornings easier. Get out of the house in the morning with grace and kindness.
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.
A few minutes saved even on just 5 things can easily add up to 15 minutes! That is a huge time-savings.
Make sure your keys are where they belong and you know where your purse or diaper bag is.
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. You don’t want to be so tired that you are hitting the snooze button instead of getting up when you need to.
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 and make sure you have that much time available the next morning when you are setting your alarm.
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.
I find this true even with having older kids who can mostly get themselves ready independently.
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.
You need to avoid and eliminate distractions for both you and your child.
If McKenna starts reading before she is ready, it is hard to pull her back on track. She isn’t allowed to read until she is ready on mornings that she needs to be out of the house by a certain time.
It isn’t just kids who can get distracted by things. Adults can too! If you get sucked into Instagram or reading the news, don’t start it until you are ready. If the television slows you down, turn off the screen.
We can even get distracted by good things. You might find yourself distracted by trying to start a load of laundry or load up the dishwasher. Do not do chores unless that was part of your original plan or you are all the way ready.
Multi Task When You Can
Like I pointed out above, saving a few minutes here and there can really add up. Think of ways you can multi-task. Turn on your hair tools while ou do your makeup.
Brush your teeth in the shower or while you are waiting for something else. Use mouth wash while you brush out your kiddo’s hair. Find ways to save a few minutes.
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 Routine Cards for my children.
Each of my children used these until ages 10-12 range. They are always excited about them at the beginning of the school 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.
Create a Playlist or Use a Timer
For anyone that has a hard time staying on task, using a playlist or a timer can be a huge help!
Use these tools during your morning routine to keep your child on task. If you have the same playlist of songs each morning, your child can get into a groove and know if she is taking too long on a certain task or not.
I love using the timer to help motivate kids to move faster. See this post for more:
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 pull out of 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 there is the child who just now needs to go potty. Another left her coat downstairs.
Toddlers and preschoolers insist upon doing everything independently but take forever to do something as simple as walk down the stairs.
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 of buffer time is often adequate.
Figure out what time you need and make sure you have that time in your head to leave the house.
These eight tips can help you get out the door faster and on time with your kiddos. A little planning ahead can go a long way!
- Mama, When Life Gets Hard, Slow Down
- More Than Making it Through the Day as a Mom
- Seasoned Mom Hacks: 21 Brilliant Tips
This post originally appeared on this blog in August 2015