Family Management: 10 Ways to Beat the Morning Rush

Morning Rush

What's the most hectic, stressful, time of day? For many families, it's weekday mornings. In the rush to get everyone up and out on time, it's easy to get cranky or fall behind. And that' not a good way to start the day!

The solution: do as much as possible in advance (usually the evening before), and get your child to pitch in when possible. To be specific, here's 10 simple ways to make mornings more manageable...

  • Create a designated staging area near the door (a table or boot bench works just fine). The night before, load it up with backpacks, diaper bags, shoes—everything you know you need in the morning.
  • Everyone knows it's smart to pack lunches the night before. But did you know that the best time is actually right after dinner, or better yet, while your dinner is cooking? After all, you're already in the kitchen, and you'll only have to clean up once.
  • On the same note, as soon as you clean up from dinner, start thinking breakfast. Put the bowls, cereal boxes, etc. on the counter or even pre-set the table, so you can grab-and-serve come morning. (Be sure to setup the coffee pot, too.)
  • Review tomorrow's schedule the night before. Soccer practice? Get those cleats and shin guards ready. Library books due? Ditto. (If you really want to proactive, pack what you can in the car.)
  • If your child is old enough, encourage him to be part of the planning/preparation process. For example, you might inspire him to be organized with a kid-friendly Daily Planner or to take on some chores with a reward-based Responsibility Chart.
  • Pre-plan outfits for the week in advance. This will spare you prolonged "wardrobe wars," especially if live with a future fashionista. Our "Days of the Week" Organizer is a terrific timesaver/peacemaker that also builds self-reliance.
  • Investigate your child's backpack the night before, and encourage your child to share information with you. Teachers' notes and lengthy forms do not make good morning surprises.
  • All this planning applies to grown-ups, too. Pre-plan your outfit, make your lunch, pack your briefcase or diaper bag, etc. If you need to remember something in the morning (like retrieving your cell phone from its charger and moving it to your purse), write yourself a note the night before and post it where you can't miss it.
  • Don't allow yourself to be sidetracked on your way out the door. Morning is no time to read yesterday's mail or start tidying up. Stay focused!
  • Goodbye kisses are one thing that can't be rushed or done the night before. So schedule in a few minutes for sweet goodbyes—and start the day with a smile.
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