The Frumpy Guide to Great Mornings

As someone who has to get four children up, dressed, fed, and out the door by 7:45 every morning, I've learned a thing or two about speeding up the process. Because kids - at least mine - are naturally about as fast as a herd of turtles stampeding through peanut butter. They stop to torment each other dawdle about every minute and a half. If you don't have some sort of a game plan (and/or an iron fist), nothing ever gets done. So here are a few of my best tips for making things run smoothly.

Make a morning checklist. This is a great way to keep your kids on track. At least sort of - and sort of is better than not at all, right? It gives them not only a visual reminder of what they need to be doing, but a sense of accomplishment from checking things off. You can use a wipe-off board or a piece of paper or whatever to list their morning routine: Eat breakfast, get dressed, wash face and hands, brush teeth, make bed, get backpack ready, etc. For kids who aren't old enough to read, you can use pictures. As a bonus, if you've got more than one kid, they tend to race each other to see who can get their checklist finished first - which is great because they get all their stuff done quickly, and it gives you plenty of time to mediate the inevitable argument over who's faster.

Plan ahead. Trust me, I know: sometimes I've had such a crazy day that I can't fathom doing one more single thing after the kids are in bed except for freeing my boobs from their bra and sprawling fatly on the couch. But ask yourself which is worse: postponing your sprawl for fifteen minutes, or scrambling around in a half-asleep haze the next morning trying to find shoes and determine which pants belong to who. Take fifteen minutes and lay out clothes (unless your kids are fashionable enough to be trusted with their own outfits, in which case I'm jealous because mine would end up in some unfortunate mix of stripes and plaids and a size 3T shirt that they insist "fits" since they managed to squeeze into it). Make sure the clothes you need are in fact clean and dry and not mildewing in the washer (oops). Locate everybody's shoes. If you're feeling really ambitious, pack lunches (and maybe you'll have a few minutes to throw in a lunch note that your kid can pretend to be embarrassed about but secretly loves). You'll thank yourself in the morning, when you aren't running around in a sleep-deprived stupor trying to get everything together and feeling like an epic failure.

Independence is awesome! This is less of a quick tip and more something you have to work on for a while, but I cannot stress enough how sweet it is when your kid can actually do something for himself instead of relying on you (when you're trying to do something else). I know that when they're younger it seems easier to just do things yourself. If they put their own dishes away, they spill or break something. If they try to dress themselves, it takes ten million years. So you just do it to speed the process along. BUT. Once they do master something, there's such a sense of freedom in knowing that you can trust them to do it on their own. Practice on weekends or evenings or snow days or summer vacation, when there's not so much of a time crunch. Choose uncomplicated, kid-friendly things: Velcro shoes are your friends.

... Unless you've done this. Have you seen this video? Anybody tried it? I'm dying to but haven't gotten around to it yet.

And finally, my last tip ...

Have a few quick standby breakfast recipes. This one speaks for itself. Quick breakfasts are awesome breakfasts. So I'm including a couple of my favorite breakfast recipes. You're welcome.

1.) Pour cereal into bowl. Pour milk into bowl.

2.) Put bread in toaster. Toast. (Also works with waffles.)

I mean, I'm somewhat of a culinary genius, but I think those are easy enough to follow.

Have a great morning, everyone!

(And don't forget to click on the "Giveaways & Reviews" tab to win yourself some NeoCell Beauty Bursts - I'm extending the giveaway a few more days!)


  1. You do an awesome job getting everybody out the door on time! I'd say these hints are working well!

  2. As of next year, I will have TWO WHOLE CHILDREN to get up and out the door every morning, and I'm not sure how that's going to go. I'm not optimistic.


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