In the old days, you used to show up ten minutes early to everything. And then you had kids. Now, you’re lucky if you show up an hour late with socks that match. Don’t sweat it: Here are seven get-ready hacks that will get the kids out the door a few minutes faster (and maybe even buy you a few seconds to get yourself ready).
1. MOVE YOUR SLEEPY KID’S ALARM
She used to wake up early to watch cartoons, but ever since your kid turned 12, she’s been addicted to the snooze button. You have no time (or patience) to run up and down the stairs a billion times to make sure she wakes up. So tomorrow morning, plug her alarm clock (or phone) into the farthest outlet from the bed. That way, she has to physically get up and walk across the room to turn it off. (And if you have a snooze habit, this is a great tip for you too, Mom.)
2. BE SMART ABOUT BREAKFAST
First things first: coffee.
On to breakfast: If you usually don't have time for a sit-down meal, give your kids their own easy-to-reach drawer in the fridge or pantry stocked with healthy options like yogurt pouches, granola bars and bananas. That way, they can choose what to eat and serve themselves.
3. LET THEM PICK THEIR OWN CLOTHES (YES, REALLY)
No, we’re not telling you to let your three-year-old tear apart her closet and come downstairs in flippers and a pink boa. Instead, set out two seasonally appropriate options the night before, so your kids can choose which of the two outfits they’d like to wear. Then, if they’re old enough, they can get dressed without any input from you. To make things even easier, stick to neutrals, plus two or three matching colors when shopping for each kid’s wardrobe. Voila: Any combo of clothes becomes an outfit.
4. BRUSH AND STYLE HAIR DURING BREAKFAST
Whoever said that children should be seen and not heard obviously never had to give a five-year-old a French braid. If it’s impossible to get your kids to sit still while you do their hair, try this: Serve breakfast, then rotate around the table until each child’s tresses look presentable. Even if your hairstyling abilities need work, a little spray bottle of water, a comb and a cute hair clip can go a long way.
5. MAKE A SCHEDULE (BUT DON’T WORRY IF YOU DON’T STICK TO IT)
If you’re a type-A parent, you probably have an internal drill sergeant that barks orders at you all day long. (“It’s 7:57 and 30 seconds, time to get the kids’ backpacks on!”) If you’re type B, you’re a bit more…relaxed. But whatever your style, writing the morning routine out on a whiteboard will help the whole family know what is expected each day (and take the mental load off of you). But if things fall off the rails, don’t fall to pieces. The twins don’t need matching pigtails, your preteen can buy his lunch at school today and it’s OK if your threenager watches an hour of Doc McStuffins.
6. CREATE A MORNING PLAYLIST
Scrub your hands. Wash your face. Brush your teeth. It’s easy in theory…unless each task is accompanied by 10 minutes of whining. If dragging your kids through their morning routine has started to feel like a slog, it’s time to create a morning playlist to keep the younger ones on track. Start with “Brush Your Teeth” by Raffi, followed by Peppa Pig’s “Wash Your Face and Hands Song,” “Let’s Get Dressed” by the Kiboomers and the “Tidy Up Song” by Little Baby Bum. They’ll be ready to go with smiles on their faces (or at least stay occupied for a few minutes while you run to the bathroom).
7. DESIGNATE A STORAGE SPACE FOR EACH CHILD
“Mom, where’s my shoe?” “I forgot my folder!” “My backpack is missing!” If this sounds like your house every morning, it’s time to create a designated area by the door for each of your children to put their stuff. Attach a row of hooks to the wall (stick-on hooks work great in a pinch) at kid-level, then label one for each child. This is where they’ll put their backpack, jacket and shoes when they get home each afternoon, so everything will be organized and ready the next morning
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