You’re already running behind and you look at the clock: 8:05. You have 10 minutes left to get everyone out of the door and you don’t see it happening. This was how our mornings looked, too. With four kids, it was busy! When mornings are busy, you have two choices: yell (and make for a bad start to everyone’s day) or set some routines in place. We opt for routines and it works.
Here are 5 quick tips to make your morning easier:
1) Lay out all clothes the night before– Becky and I usually lay our what we are going to wear the night before (and I usually have it on a chair beside our bed.) So when it is time to get up I throw on my outfit and get moving. She gets ready at the same time & then we both make the bed BEFORE we leave the bedroom.
For the kids, laying out their clothes is a huge time saver. Especially for our youngest son, Ethan. If we did not pick out an outfit the night before, it can make for a rough morning. There were many instances were he would put on shorts in the winter time and we had a long morning-struggle to get him to change. Once we started picking out an outfit out the night before, it made the mornings less complicated.
2) Have breakfast ready the night before- With the same concept of laying out clothes the night before. With having 4 kids, they all have different things they like to eat in the morning. I am not a huge breakfast, So I usually just have a quick protein shake.
However, with kids it is a little different. One will want cereal, one will want oatmeal, and one will want pancakes. Although we do have “Pancake Saturday” where I make homemade egg-free pancakes for everyone. (I rarely make them on the weekday mornings because it is busy. I just re-heat them from Saturday)
I will make a batch of them and keep them in the refrigerator/freezer so they are ready for whenever the kids want them. This is usually what we do at night (get their breakfast ready to go for the morning).
Ps- Always get their breakfast ready before they come down. It makes the morning so much better.
3) Have lunches packed the night before- I can not tell you how many times I would mess this up in the mornings if I didn’t have them ready at night. Probably from the lack of sleep mixed with the lack of caffeine.
Becky and I will pack all the kids lunches the night before. We do this during the school year and also during the summer. It makes it easier if we are out and if the kids get hungry, we have a much already packed. We can stop at a park and make it nice fun day out for them.
Another little tip that we do! We will make sandwiches by the bulk and freeze them. All of our kids love PB&J and for some odd reason, they like them better after they have been frozen!? When I was working in an office, I did the some thing. I grab a ham or turkey sandwich out of the freezer on my way out the door.
4) Have toothbrushes ready the night before– This one may sound a little off for you, but have you ever tried to get 4 kids to brush their teeth at one time before you head out the door. It is like a pack or lions fighting over a gazelle.
Everyone is trying to grab toothpaste or “so and so spit on me!” We found that it is easier and one less hassle of the kids in the morning. They just brush their teeth once they are done eating and ready for the day. We lay out the toothpaste, toothbrushes, and little floss sticks. (Another tip is to give each child their own, different toothpaste)
5) Have the car ready and backpacks by the door– Once again, this is one less strain off the kids and you in the morning. Our two older boys, Jack and Beau, ride the school bus. They are really good about emptying their backpacks the night before, giving us any important paperwork, and making sure that their bags are ready at night.
After breakfast, they just grab their lunches from the refrigerator and put them in their bags to set by the door. This way there are ready to just “grab and go” out the door. It is THEIR responsibility to be sure that they have their homework, lunch, and backpack when they leave for school.
The same goes for the car. If we are planning on going to the park, the mall, etc, we make sure the car is packed the night before. We also do this when we plan a trip. It really makes for an easier transition in the morning.
BONUS– I also have the coffee pot ready to go in the morning. Jack our oldest is usually the first one up and he will come down and turn on the coffee pot in the morning for me. Usually, after he eats, he will come up and tell me that my coffee is ready! It makes him feel special and responsible. It just helps me sleep an extra 10 minutes.