How to Make Your Mornings Smoother

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How would you rank your family's morning routine? Are there tears and yelling (from either you or the kids) or is it smooth sailing getting everyone ready and out the door? If you fall more into the first category, we've crowd-source tips from moms around the U.S. on how to get the kids dressed, fed, and out the door without the chaos.

MAKE YOUR MORNINGS

Whether you're getting one kid out the door or a whole herd, mornings can be tough. We asked fellow moms the tips and tricks they use to get everyone ready on time. Have you own tips? Share them below!

Waking up sleepy heads

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Getting up for school isn't easy - especially when it's often still dark out! Instead of constantly pestering your kids again and again to get up (which will get you both sour), put the responsibility into your kids' hands.

  • "All my kids have their own alarm clock. From kindergarten on." - Telaina E.
  • "Early bedtimes! My kids always wake up easier when they are well-rested." - Danielle A.
  • "We have one of those alarm clocks that gets lighter and lighter to help my kids wake up naturally." - Susan H. [Try this one from Philips.]
  • "I send the dog in. A few licks to the face usually gets the kids right up!" - Chandra K.

Getting dressed drama-free

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While my biggest battle with my boys is actually getting them to change their clothes, other parents I know suffer from kids who like to try on 25 different outfits before breakfast. Streamline this daily process with one of these genius parent tips.

  • "We have them lay their next days clothes out before bed so no outfit drama in the AM." - Mario C.
  • "If I know we are going somewhere, I pull out their clothes the night before and get them dressed in the morning downstairs because it's a hassle once they go back up to get dressed because they just want to play." - Diana R.
  • "We pre-plan outfits for the week (and then some) for our two children in these hanging closet organizers." - Scott K. Genius!
organized clothes for kids

Breakfast without a battle

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Keep morning meals simple by limiting breakfast options, teaching kids to make their own, and not turning into a short-order chef.

  • "I choose breakfast for them -- if they eat all of it, they can have a choice after the 'important stuff.'" - Beth W.
  • "I keep the cereal and bowls in cabinets that the kids can reach themselves, and starting when they were 7, I taught them how to make easy breakfasts like eggs and toasts for themselves." - Kate T.
  • "We eat the exact same thing every morning during the week. I know that sounds boring, but it helps with the routine and once breakfast is done - out the door!" - Laura V.

Finding & packing the important stuff

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From permission slips and homework to lunches and sweatshirts, the big secret to making sure you can find all those important things in the morning? Do them the night before.

  • "We lay out clothes the night before, as well as make sure backpacks, lunch bags, and shoes (OMG, why do they always go missing??) are ready to go." - Christine Y.
  • "A place for everything and everything (hopefully) in its place. There is a cubby for homework folders, a bin for shoes, and hooks for sweatshirts and backpacks. This usually makes it easy for everyone to find what they need." - Kate T.
  • "Prep EVERYTHING the night before, no exception. Nighttime Me hates this so much, but it's essential for Morning Me to survive. I have breakfast ready to grab-and-serve, lunches and water bottles packed, outfits laid out, backpacks packed. This way we can get the debate about which shirt we are or aren't okay with wearing or which snacks we suddenly hate this week out of the way well before the morning, when time always feels particularly tight." - Kirsten C.

Jobs, chores and keeping kids motivated to keep moving

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Keeping kids motivated to get their to-dos done without constant reminders can be tough. While many parents use tech time as a motivator, others keep it simple with a sticker chart.

Make Your Mornings Smoother

  • "For my younger boys we use a star sticker system - get dressed, brush teeth, put shoes on. If I don't have to ask or only asked once, they get a shiny star sticker for each. It's the simple things!" - Gina M.
  • "If everything done without reminders in the morning it means my daughter gets iPad time after school. I put a 20-min cartoon on after the kids are dressed/fed/ready to go so I can get myself and the baby ready." - Danielle A.
  • "I have a Pinterest board called "Morning Motivation" full of fun short YouTube videos and the like. If they finish getting ready in time we all watch it together. I don't need it much any more, but when I can tell they're feeling poky I'll say 'Oh, I found a good video last night, hope we have time to watch it.'" - MaryAnn D.
  • "If my 7-year-old gets ready smoothly in the morning, she gets 20 minutes on the computer after school. She's very punctual and responsible, but anxious about being late (how I was as a child!) and can lose it emotionally. This reward has helped immensely! My 3-year-old is another story..." - Carol H.

And let's not forget the most important tip of all....

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"Oh, and make sure my coffee is ready to go the night before so its ready to go in the morning. That way mama can make it through the morning without crying too." - Danielle A.

Amen to that.

What are your tips for getting your family smoothly out the door? Leave them below!

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 Photo credits 1, 2, 3

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