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Get Your Kids Out the Door on Time (Every Time!)

Getting the kids out the door on time is a nightmare for most. If you're that working mom (or dad) who feels like a tornado hits your house each morning, the kids are always half-dressed and their teeth possibly unbrushed, leaving you “late again” – it's time to turn things around.

It doesn't have to be that way. We look at some practical ways to make mornings a calm, peaceful, and even fun experience for all.

Step 1. Start Mornings the Night Before

Getting things ready the night before means less to do in the mornings. There are a few things that can easily be added to your nightly routine, freeing space for other things when the morning comes.

As reported by,1 de-stressing your morning routine is key. Alexandra Mayzler, director of Thinking Caps, a tutoring company in New York, states that “the rule of thumb is that everything that does not have to be done in the morning should be done the night before.”1

1. Pack their lunches the night before2

Try packing lunches while your preparing dinner. You're already opening the fridge, and grating the cheese, might as well take out two slices of bread. Also, from around the elementary stage, kids can start packing their own lunches.2

Routine and habits are important aspects of a child's life, and helping them master these areas will give them a better chance at a happy, successful life.

2. Choose outfits

As you're getting ready for bed, taking out your pajamas, try deciding on what you'll wear the next day.2

Get the kids involved too,2 even if they change their minds the next morning. Six out of 10 times, they'll wear what they choose, and that's already a step in a peaceful direction.

3. Get the kids to bed as early as possible

A good night's rest will mean all the difference in the morning.

Furthermore, try going to bed early yourself.2 You'll be able to get up earlier in the mornings, get ready before the kids, and if you're lucky, spend some quality cuddle time with them in bed before they start waking up.

Step 2. Reframe Your Mornings

Mornings in a family home have a bad rep. The words “crazy” and “chaotic” often come up in discussions with other parents, but it can be different. We all have busy schedules, but mornings are a time that even for a little bit, your family is all together.1

Therefore, by eliminating some things that would usually take up time in the mornings, you can now spend a bit of quality time with your children.

Start the morning off with five minutes2 of snuggle time with the kids. According to a 2016 study,3 children who have positive experiences with regards to affection, free play, and family togetherness grow up to be less anxious adults. Thus, morning snuggles release happy hormones, giving your child a positive start to the day.

Additionally, try to incorporate some fun playtime either when they wake up or before they leave,4 or read a story together. Making time for your family will boost positive energy levels and ensure a great day for all.

Step 3. Add Some Morning Structure

Adding structure to your morning routine is a great way to help kids develop healthy habits.5 Depending on the age of your children, you can consider a chart1 or a written checklist. You can ask the school if they have any similar charts and copy them at home, reinforcing positive behavior.

You can also add a rewards system, giving charts for things that need to get done. Don't add any stress to the morning by giving demerits.6

Steps to include can be making the bed, getting dressed, brushing teeth, eating breakfast, and finally putting on shoes and jackets. The list should be at the front door, the final exit where everything gets a last check before you go.

Step 4. Add Timing

Make sure to have a time structure; even if your kids don't get it, you can. Giving the kids some sort of a gauge on the time will help them get things done. The timer could also be related to the checklist; if they hear the sound, the next task needs to be completed.7

Moreover, be sure to set goals for yourself. An easy one is to be 15 minutes early to work. You might not make it every day, but at least you won't be late.

Step 5. Take a Breath and Say “I Love You”

Additionally, don't let the last moments before they leave be rushed. Leave the house at least 10 minutes before you're supposed to,8 walk your kids to the bus slowly, chat, say goodbye, and wish them a happy day. Say “I love you,” – they need it.

Your attention and love are the keys to their success – cheering on behaviors you want to see brings about more of them. Practice makes progress. Don't give up, you've got this!


1. Parenting. “De-Stress Your Morning Routine” Retrieved from: Dec. 2019.

2. AhaParenting. “Getting your child out the door in the morning” Retrieved from: Dec. 2019.

3. Narvaez, Darcia et al. “The Evolved Developmental Niche in Childhood: Relation to Adult Psychopathology and Morality.” Applied Developmental Science vol. 20,1-16 (2016): 8263-8276. doi:10.1080/10888691.2015.1128835.

4. NAEYC. “Tips for spending quality time with your child” Retrieved from: Dec 2019.

5. AhaParenting. “Why kids need routines” Retrieved from: Dec 2019.

6. Study. “Behavior chart ideas for home use” Retrieved from: Dec 2019.

7. The Chaos and the Clutter. “Setting up and Effective Morning Routine for School” Retrieved from: Dec 2019.

8. Parents. “6 No-Fail Tips to Get Kids Out the Door on Time (Every Time!)” Retrieved from: Dec. 2019.

Posted: 1/27/2020 9:40:03 AM by