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Life With Kids Made Simple: How to Simplify Mornings with Kids

Updated on September 23, 2008

Crazy mornings - we've all been there. Spilled milk, missing homework, and socks that don't match. The time between waking up and getting out the door can be hectic and can negatively affect the rest of your day. Safeguard against overwhelming mornings with these simple strategies.

Quick Tips For Smoother Mornings

  • Make an extra set of extra car keys and keep one on a hook near the door.
  • Buy a coffee maker with a timer. Nothing like waking to the smell of fresh java to get you out of bed.
  • Leave the TV off in the morning. Who can concentrate on tying shoes with Dora singing in the background?
  • Keep all coats, shoes, backpacks, and lunch boxes in one area for easy access.
  • Put out cereal bowls, cold cereal, so that kids can help themselves.
  • Keep a big "family routing" calendar on the refrigerator so you know where each member of the family is going and who needs to be driven where.
  • Let kids get dressed by themselves and make their own beds. Seriously.
  • Even if you're at home with very young kids, create a routine anyway.

Pre-Prep the Night Before

Prepping as much as possible the night before is the first step to a successful morning. It may not be in your DNA to set out clothes and pack lunches in the evening, but do what you can. Maybe it's just a matter of making sure the kitchen is picked up so that you're not battling paper from the day before. For me, it means making sure the dishwasher is set so that the first thing I do is empty it in the morning. If not, we've got toast crumbs and cereal bowls stinking up the sink. Super Parents will have backpacks loaded, outfits matched, and PE or non-PE day appropriate shoes lined up. More power to you.

Encourage Self-Sufficiency

Encouraging self-sufficiency will be invaluable the whole day through, not just in the morning. It does, however, initially make life more complicated in the short term. The more you can teach kids to do for themselves, the better. It takes extra time and effort in the beginning, but pays off big time. Young kids can make their beds (it doesn't have to be perfect!), bring you their dirty laundry, and even help with breakfast. What kid doesn't love to pour cereal or nuke a batch of microwave pancakes? Also consider teaching children to use their own alarm clocks. This one comes in really handy when parents oversleep!

Keep Only One Calendar

The last thing you need to worry about in the morning is where someone is supposed to be after school and if there's a parent available to take him or her. I admit, keeping only one calendar is a challenge for me. I cheat on this one because I have to have my own, but I also keep one in plain view in the kitchen. Some people can do this with a techie program like Google Calendar, but I'm old fashioned. It's pen and paper for me. Considering the number of activities you need to track, you may need a rather large calendar. It can help to color code family members or commitments like school events, extracurricular activities, and doctor's appointments.


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