5 Ways to Get Your Kids Out the Door Faster in the Morning
Tips to Get your Child to School on Time
It can be very challenging to get your child up in the morning and get them to school on time. Additionally, kids can often forget key items like their lunch, homework, brushing their teeth, etc. Here are some simple tips to help get your kids prepared for their school day quicker. Hopefully it will also save you some stress and time in the mornings as well.
Plan Outfits in Advance
Getting your child dressed in the morning can be a big time sink. Especially if you need to find all of the coordinating pieces; shirt, pants, socks, etc. You can save a lot of time if you spend some time on the prior weekend getting outfits ready for the week. If your child likes to plan their own outfits, get them involved with the planning. Make sure to get all of the pieces ready for each day and lay them aside. Also, be sure to include special clothing needed for school, such as costumes or uniforms.
Once getting all of the outfits put together, find a way to organize them so that they will be out of the way yet easy to grab in the morning. You could lay out 5 boxes or bags; 1 for each day. Another great option is to purchase a sweater organizer. You can find these at your local Walmart, Kmart, Target or other box store for under $10. If you're feeling extra crafty, you could paint or write the week days in each cubby.
Write a Task List
Keep a task list for each child to complete in the morning. Some of the items will be the same every day (brush teeth, get dressed, pack lunch), and others will change daily such as homework assignments or packing an item for show and tell. Teaching your child how to complete the task list in the mornings will be a great way to have them help you stay organized during the chaos of preparing for school and work.
Tasks lists can be written easily on sheets of paper. Hanging the paper on the fridge would ensure that the list is in a consistent and obvious place each day. Another idea is to get a dry-erase board to hang in the kitchen or hallway. Hang the board low enough for your kids to reach and make sure not to erase the tasks unless they are done! The dry-erase board could also serve as a chore list over the weekend. These can be purchased very cheaply at Walmart or your local dollar store.
Prepare Lunches or Lunch Items in Advance
So preparing school lunches the evening before is certainly not a new concept, but it surely is a time saver when you're trying to get out the door quickly in the morning. While you want to provide some variety for the lunches, it can help you stay on track and save you time if you organize your pantry and refrigerator for bagged lunch items. Whether you prepare your lunches in the morning or the night before, it is a good idea to put items that will be used in these lunches in a special spot right when you get back from the grocery store. I dedicate one shelf of my pantry and one drawer in my fridge for school lunch items. Also, as soon as I get back from the grocery store, I package snack items like pretzels, cookies, chips, fruit, and veggies into snack size plastic baggies. This also helps me to "grab and go" when preparing lunches.
Organize with Hooks
Get hooked on hooks! Hooks are a great way to keep those "get out the door" items organized. I suggest putting up an "organization station" by front or back door or in the garage. Hang hooks for each child and make sure to write what goes on which hook. You can put just coats and bags on the hooks, or if you live in a colder environment, it might be good to do hooks for hats, gloves, and scarves as well. I can't tell you how many pairs of gloves that we've gone through and the time I've spent trying to find lost gloves and mittens. Making sure these items have a proper place is a must for saving time (and money). Below the hook area, you could also include bins or an organization bench where each child has a place for their extra shoes and other items. You could do something as simple as plastic tubs for each child.
Parents usually have anywhere from 30 minutes to 2 hours to get children ready for school in the morning. Even if you are fortunate enough to get 2 hours, you might still find yourself struggling to get out the door on time. One technique that can help is to time-box. Set a timer (I recommend the kitchen/oven timer) for 15 minute increments for which tasks are supposed to get done. Use this in combination with the task list to ensure that there is plenty of time to complete all of your children's tasks. This technique can be especially useful if you have children fighting over the bathroom or eating area in the morning. Read more about time-boxing in this related hub.
Here are some more great resources for preparing your kids for school. Good luck!