Routine: Get Your Kids Out the Door Faster

By Good Housekeeping
Morning routine: Daughter playing on digital tablet while parents running around

You never realize how jam-packed your morning routine can be until you have kids: Get out of bed. Get dressed. Comb hair. Make breakfast. Eat breakfast. Brush teeth. Find shoes. Pack backpacks. Each step is a potential speed bump, poised to give your day a rough start.

Want a smoother get-out-the-door routine? Try these parent-approved tricks.

1. Prep the night before.

This strategy helps many of the parents we polled. Some lay out clothes for the next morning (or even the next week), others set the table for breakfast after clearing off dinner and many report the benefits of packing lunch in the evening.

2. Store gear in unusual places.

You may dream of shoes neatly placed in bedrooms, or coats always hidden behind closet doors, but for the sake of speed and ease, you might be better off storing them where they don’t “belong.”

3. Set consequences and stick to them.

A few moms reported that the threat of extra chores or no TV time works well in keeping kids on task. Consider making your morning routine part of your kids’ allowance responsibilities: Each day you don’t leave on time, dock their weekly “pay.”

4. Make the routine a race.

Something about calling it “a race” kicks kids to high gear—and out the door faster. Facebook fan Christina reported how her son took forever to get dressed until she challenged him to see if he could beat her at it.

5. Invest in timers, buzzers and … doorbells?

Setting a timer to ring at appropriate intervals (“15 minutes ’til the bus! 5 minutes! Time to go!”) is a popular morning strategy.

6. Admit when you’re the weakest link.

Designate a tray for keys and cell phones if you’re constantly misplacing them, invest in a programmable coffee maker, and make it a habit to fill your gas tank in the evenings to make for smoother start to the day.

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