Tips to Make Mornings Run Smoothly

Health, Home & Family
on March 25, 2001

What would it take at your house for your family to experience a peaceful, positive morning that prepares them for the day ahead? Is it possible for everyone to leave the house with everythingschool papers, lunch money, briefcases, umbrellas, gym clothes, and a good attitudehe or she needs for a great day?

Sounds wonderful, and actually, its quite manageable. To make it happen:

  • Figure out what time everyone has to be out the door and work backward from there. Set a wake up time to give each family member enough time to wash, dress, eat, do chores and get out the doorthen add 10 minutes for schedule snags.
  • Set your own alarm for the exact time you want to get up. If you have trouble getting out of bed, set two alarms (one battery powered) and keep them in the bathroom so you must get out of bed to turn them off.
  • Have teenagers get up 15 minutes earlier than younger siblings because they need extra time in the bathroom. Put a makeup mirror in girls bedrooms.
  • Parents and kids: Choose your clothes the night before and examine for spots and missing buttons. Select your accessories. (Pack away all clothing that doesnt fit and out-of-season items to simplify choices.)
  • Prepare a healthy breakfast with uncooked foods such as cereal or a bagel, fruit, and juice. Save pancakes and eggs for the weekend. Sit down at the table together, even if its only for four or five minutes, and talk about each others day.
  • Have one person give family members a 10-minute warning before its time to walk out the door.
  • Keep all shoes, knapsacks, and coats near the back door to prevent kids from scrambling around in the morning looking for missing items. When homework is done the night before, it goes in the backpack on a hook by the door, along with shoes, mittens, rain gear, and gym clothes.
  • Mom and Dad abide by the back door rule too. Keep keys, errands (such as dry cleaning), purse, and briefcase in a designated basket or on a shelf by the door.