Mommy’s 10 Little Tricks for Getting Out of The House On Time

Unless you are blessed with a house full of morning people, getting small children out of the house on time can be the most stressful time of the day. Unfortunately a stressful morning can stick with you and your kids for hours. An unpleasant forty forty five minutes in the morning can hang over your head well into lunch. Luckily which side of the bed everyone gets out of, is to some degree, controllable. And a smooth morning routine will decrees stress if not iliminate it all together. Over the years I’ve developed a few little tricks to help us leave on time and enjoy a more peaceful morning.

Wake Up Little Susie

The Wake Up
The Wake Up

1. Wake Up Soon

If your children aren’t morning people you might try this little trick I do with my daughter. About five minutes before I have to get her up, I go into her room. I’ll squeeze her foot or stroke her arm and say, “I’m gonna wake you up in a little bit, enjoy a few more minutes.” I usually get a smile as she snuggles down in her blankets. In contrast, when I wake her up cold turkey, I usually get a whiny, “Its still night,” or an angry, “ Its not fair.” Sometimes I have to go back and say the five minutes are up, but with the “wake up soon” method , she usually she gets up on her own.

2. Face the Music

Fill your house with music. Unlike light which can assault the senses, music stimulates them. Its a gentle way to coax your kids out of bed and into the land of the living. I like to play Reggae in the morning, but anything happy and upbeat will do the trick. Try different types out on your family to see what they respond to. This is the perfect opportunity to start your day on the right foot. Pick the tunes that produce the biggest smiles.

Michael Franti and Spearhead: Say Hey

photo by, Aaron Escobar
photo by, Aaron Escobar

3. Ban The Boob Tube

No tv. It is so easy for little ones to get side tracked, and tv is an irresistible, brain sucking, black hole that they easily fall prey to. It doesn’t have to be cartoons to be distracting to a six year old. So, much to Dad’s irritation, this means no news either. Its amazing to me that my daughter can stare, eyes glazed over, at a deodorant commercial or the stock report.

Quick Food
Quick Food

4. Breakfast Isn’t Fast Enough

When our time line gets derailed, I cancel breakfast. Breakfast can eat up a good fifteen minutes, and my chubby little sprites can afford to skip a meal now and then. Just kidding! We just take breakfast to go. Obviously bowls of cereal and milk would be a disaster. Dry cereal in a baggy and milk on the side works great. We have travel cups with straws, just for this sort of thing. I also like to keep breakfast bars and dried fruit at the ready. Waffles with cinnamon and sugar instead of butter and syrup travel well. I make them on the weekends with pumpkin or sweet potatoes snuck in, and then freeze the extras, (but that’s another hub.) There are also healthy, multigrain waffles available in the frozen section now a days. Bananas, apples and BP & J sandwiches are all easy to eat on the go.

5. Hair Today Done Tomorrow

One of our biggest time eaters can be my daughters beautiful long hair. I have to admit, I’m living vicariously through her as I could never grow my baby fine hair long like that. So, since cutting it all off is not an option, I pre-do her do at night. We brush and braid, or make pony tails or whatever strikes our fancy the night before. In the morning I just take out the rubber bands then rebrush and reband it. Without tangles and parts to deal with her hair takes only a minute. If we keep her barrettes clipped together in pairs, finding matching ones takes seconds. Its easy to waste five minutes or so wading through buckets of unorganized hair pretties.

6. Tomorrows Clothes Today

Dressing a floppy toddler, who is half asleep, is akin to dressing a freshly caught salmon. Finding arm holes can become a monumentous feat. So at night, I dress my two year old in tomorrows t-shirt, instead of pajamas. Since bed time is the only time he stays clean, he awakes with his top half ready to go. And I’ve just saved three or four minutes.

7. Fashionista

The a.m. is no time to play Project Runway! Picking out clothes the night before can save oodles of time in the morning, but I have another strategy as well. I like to group my daughters clothes into outfits in her closet. I hook the hangers together and go so far as to add tights or hats or any accessories needed for the “ensemble.” Not only is this a time saver, but its great for fashion challenged fathers that like to help.

8. Bowl Appétit

I try to have lunches made the night before. One of my tricks for a quick simple lunch is last night's leftovers, like pasta, casserole or just about any main dish, is an Aladdin lunch bowl. These thermos bowls are completely plastic so you can go from refrigerator to microwave and straight into the lunch box. They even have a spoon built in so you won’t forget it. The only thing that doesn’t seem to hold up is mashed potatoes with gravy. It seems to transform itself into an unappetizing soup. Speaking of soup, a half a can of soup can be heated in one of these bowls in a couple of minutes. Which is great for those, “Oh crap, I forgot to make a lunch” type mornings. “Yes, Mommy said a potty word, and no you shouldn’t say it.” I also like to keep credit at the school for hot lunches, in case the above quote is uttered twenty minutes after we’ve left the house!

9. Tempting Your Tots

I am not above bribing my children. In fact, I think its a great tool to light a fire under would be morning slow pokes. My routine bribe is “the muffin store,” aka the nearest drive through coffee shop. If we get out of the house on time, its scones all around. An effective motivator doesn’t need to cost you any money though. My daughter clears her plate and brushes her teeth without prompting all to get a star on her chore chart. Its quite surprising what a six year old will do for a shiny piece of foil!

10. Ladies Last

When our schedule goes awry, my beauty regime is one of the first things to get cut. Although my hair and makeup only takes about five to ten minutes, some mornings I just don't have it! My rule of thumb is always get the bangs under control and leave the rest for later. I keep makeup, hair clips and few pieces of jewelry in a travel pouch. Finding a few minutes for my face and hair later in the morning is easy for me. I have a two hour window between dropping my daughter off at school and opening my store. If your schedule is tighter, don't be tempted to do your makeup while driving. You'll need both hands on the wheel to avoid the other mom who crosses the double yellow while curling her eye lashes!

Well there it is. My laundry list of short cuts and tricks to get my family out of the house on time. I'd love to hear what techniques you might have to keep your morning schedule on track.

Comments 19 comments

sherry 8 years ago

Patty.. I have missed you. You look as beautiful as I remembered. You are amazing . Wonderful mother, writer ,business owner ,teacher, woman, friend , these are just a few of your talents and gifts to this life. I really don't mean to use these as labels. Simply put you are my inspiration. Thank you for sharing . You put a smile on my face.

amy jane profile image

amy jane 8 years ago from Connecticut

Wonderful advice and fun to read! I love the idea of "music in the morning." We still stuggle to get out of the house in the morning, but I'm going to try ourt some of your suggestions. :)

Patricia Costanzo profile image

Patricia Costanzo 8 years ago from Behind the Redwood Curtain Author

Sherry, Wow, thank you for all the kind words! I'm blushing. I miss you too. I hope you'll read my manifesting hubs. #1 is up and #2 is almost done. Love & Light, p

Patricia Costanzo profile image

Patricia Costanzo 8 years ago from Behind the Redwood Curtain Author

Thanks Amy Jane, I think we Moms & Dads need all the help and hints we can get!

AParker 8 years ago

Fun to read everything you've been writing. Love the music. Now I want the CD to try on the boys. Might be more fun than turning up the dimmer switches so they get to experience the sun rising in the own person rooms:)

Patricia Costanzo profile image

Patricia Costanzo 8 years ago from Behind the Redwood Curtain Author

AParker, I like the dimmer switch idea. I've read that mimicking the sun is the way to go.

edeen 8 years ago


i have just read and enjoyed all of your hubs. i am glad you included your picture on the site so that everyone can see how your positive thoughts radiate through your eyes and smile.

Patricia Costanzo profile image

Patricia Costanzo 8 years ago from Behind the Redwood Curtain Author

Thanks Edeen your kind. I'm glad you enjoyed them.

Danielle Kistler  8 years ago

Great advice! I know I could use all the tips I can get. One thing I have been doing differently this year has been to mentally change the time they have to be at school. For example, in my mind, my kids have to now be at school at 8am, when their bell dosn't actually ring until 8:20am. So when quarter to 8 comes around I know i'ts time to start loading in the car (which seems to take longer than anything) and this gives us plenty of time to get to school. in fact, we havn't been late yet!

Patricia Costanzo profile image

Patricia Costanzo 8 years ago from Behind the Redwood Curtain Author

Danielle, I've got a 15 minute cushion built into our departure time too. Losing your keys, dog out of the gate, orange juice down a clean shirt, or dead battery and its used up!

leaf 8 years ago

great tips! we've always done the 'pre wake-up' routine at our house, too. not being a "morning person" myself, I know, that it's much nicer to be able to ease into the day than be dragged in, kicking and screaming. a pleasant morning routine definitely helps set the tone for the rest of the day. :)

breakfast around here is usually fairly quick and simple; some sort of cereal or oatmeal, or maybe frozen waffles -but on mornings when we're crunched for time, the kids can grab yogurt and/or a bagel, a handful of almonds or walnuts and maybe some fresh fruit to take in the car... oddly enough, it seems that they get the more nutritious breakfasts when we're running late. :) we also keep a big batch of plastic spoons in the drawer right next to our regular spoons so we can just grab them and go and I don't sweat losing one of my "good" spoons.

in the car we keep a sort of mess kit that holds a few $1 bills and some change for those 'oh crap' moments -like when the kids forget their lunch and need to buy one. 3 or 4, gallon sized ziploc bags -these are very handy for messy garbage like those not quite empty juice boxes, yogurt containers, etc. they're also a lifesaver for those nasty blow out diapers or when you have a sick kiddo -which is when the zip feature is a beautiful thing. a travel pack of baby wipes, mini first aid kit, Tide laundry stick, mini sewing kit, dental floss, a small hair brush with a couple of hair bands and a small bottle of Tylenol. I can't tell you how many times this stash of goodies has come in handy.

Patricia Costanzo profile image

Patricia Costanzo 8 years ago from Behind the Redwood Curtain Author

Leaf, I love your ziploc idea. My kids often get carsick and a ziploc would be so much better than the coffee mug or baseball cap I usually offer them! Thanks for all your comments.

mollyjoy 8 years ago

Love the "hub" the kiddos faces more! :)

Mom 8 years ago

Patty, I love all of your hubs, although, I haven't even read then are so talented. It must have all started with the WillowBrook Reporter probably. I'd like you for a friend when you were growing up and,with your permission now, I'd like to recommend you as a guide for new mothers (as is our own Gina from the wedding). Her baby was delivered c section and weighed in at 8 lbs. 14 ozs. Keep up the great...luv u

Patricia Costanzo profile image

Patricia Costanzo 8 years ago from Behind the Redwood Curtain Author

Love you too Mom. Thanks for reading.

ferro 5 years ago

i love these ideas and those are wonderful.

Patricia Costanzo profile image

Patricia Costanzo 5 years ago from Behind the Redwood Curtain Author

Thanks for coming by Ferro. I'm glad you like them!

shel-connors profile image

shel-connors 4 years ago from Ohio

Great ideas! Love it- voted up! :)

Patricia Costanzo profile image

Patricia Costanzo 4 years ago from Behind the Redwood Curtain Author

I had to re-read this; its been a while. My kids are so much older now. That floppy little salmon is now in first grade! Glad you liked it Shel.

    Sign in or sign up and post using a HubPages Network account.

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No HTML is allowed in comments, but URLs will be hyperlinked. Comments are not for promoting your articles or other sites.

    Click to Rate This Article