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3 Ways to take the stress out of the morning rush


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Theresa Civantos Barber - published on 11/04/23

Here are a few things I’m doing to make mornings smoother and life easier as I'm getting out the door with my four young children.

Parents know that few things are harder with young kids than getting out of the door on time. 

An action that should take 30 seconds, like putting on shoes, somehow takes a young child approximately 10 minutes. 

What can we do to make the mornings run a little smoother and make life easier for everyone as we’re getting out the door? (After you have said a morning prayer, of course.)

Here are 3 things I’m doing to make mornings less stressful with my four young children.

Make a plan with your kids

I’m a big fan of Dr. Ross Greene’s book The Explosive Child and his “Plan B method” of including children in collaborative problem solving. 

At a calm time, like a weekend afternoon, sit down with your child and discuss how you can work together to make mornings go more smoothly. Lay out all the expectations you have for your child and ask them what would make it easier to get all these things done in time. 

Perhaps your child might appreciate a written or pictorial visual reminder chart to stay on task. Maybe using a time timer would help or setting up auditory reminders with a device in your home. 

Talk to them and see what suggestions they have. They might surprise you with their ingenuity!

Do as much as you can the night before

After a few rough mornings at the beginning of the school year, we try to do as much preparation as we can the night before. 

Now I ask my kids to lay out their clothes the night before. 

We work together to pack backpacks and lunches the night before, and I try to remember to put my son’s guitar and any other supplies in the car the night before, too. To simplify lunch packing, I keep this printable list on the inside of the pantry door and tell my kids to choose (at minimum) a fruit, a vegetable, a grain, and a protein every day. 

Ideally breakfast can be prepped ahead of time, either the night before or on the weekend, or you can choose from a few quick breakfast options that your kids like. 

My toddler is going through a stage of hating to get dressed in the morning, so in a real pinch, I’ve dressed her for the next day at bedtime and had her sleep in her outfit instead of in pajamas. That way she’s dressed and ready to go in the morning without any drama.

Allow yourself extra time

My kids’ school is a 5 minute drive from our home, so you would think I only need to leave the house 5 minutes before drop-off, right? Nope. Somehow it always takes forever to put on shoes, find that one errant water bottle, grab a jacket, and so on.

I’ve started getting everyone to the car 20 minutes before drop-off time, and I’ve never once regretted it. Giving myself that little time buffer helps so much!

I hope these suggestions can make your mornings a little easier. What are your favorite ways to take the stress out of the morning scramble? Let me know in the comments!

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