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Working moms (like me!) are often behind the eight ball when it comes to getting their kids out the door on time. If youre sick of the stressful morning scramble (and I dont mean eggs!), a little night prep along with a few morning shortcuts can go a long way in establishing a seamless morning routine. Here are 10 easy ways to give the start of your days a, well, fresh start.
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1: Lay out clothes the night before
Just this morning, a skirt-or-no skirt showdown with my pre-K sweetie sucked a whole seven minutes out of our routine. Learn from my mistake; before bed, give your kid the option to pick out what they want to wear the next day (within reason!) and lay it out for them. Want to save seven more minutes? Do the same for yourself!
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2: Preventative lunch packing
Sure, it might cut into the newest episode of Glee, but packing your kids lunch the night before goes a long way toward a smoother morning. Think how much time youll save when all you have to do is toss everything into the lunch box with an ice pack and call it a day. If you believe in letting your kid dictate their menu, ask what theyd like for lunch before tucking them in at night — and only offer two options to keep hemming and hawing to a minimum.
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3: Early homework assembly
If your kid is old enough to do their own homework, theyre also old enough to take on the responsibility of putting said-homework in their school bag for the next day. Encourage your child to pack up their papers and any permission slips/books/miscellany themselves, as soon as they finish. By building next day prep into their homework routine, theyll learn how to take care of their own stuff and spare you valuable seconds to boot!
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4: Cook big meals
Is your kid madly in love with your lasagna? When making your kids fave dish for dinner, plan ahead and buy enough ingredients to guarantee a few leftovers. You can set aside ready-to-go lunch portions during post-meal clean up and store them in these easy chilled containers, so all youll have to do in the morning is stuff them into a lunch bag. And youll bust your kid out of their sandwich rut while youre at it!
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5: Rise for the worm
Whatever your morning chores consist of, notice how much faster they get done without the kid-interrupting factor? As lovely as it can feel to slap that snooze button a second, third, or fourth time, it can feel awful to rush your kids and bicker your way out the door. By giving yourself a 10-minute, kid-free head start to shower, iron, or what have you, youll have more time to focus on helping your kids through their routines when they wake.
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6: Ban the tube
When my kids were very young, I loved how the TV would mesmerize them into lingering in front of their plates and, thus, theoretically, eating more. But now that theyre both in school, having to constantly remind them to shove breakfast into their slack jaws while the tube is on is both emotionally exhausting and a total time suck. Since weve banned TV in the mornings, our kids eat a lot faster — and get out the door a lot faster, too!
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7: Crank happy tunes
Study upon study has shown that upbeat music is instrumental in getting your blood pumping, boosting your energy, and improving your mood. Instead of de-motivating your kids with the distraction of TV, kick off your morning with some of their favorite party tunes — and dont be afraid to turn up the volume! Itll put a little extra pep in their step, get them psyched for their day, and inspire a quicker pace.
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8: Put down the handheld
Are you among the perpetually plugged-in? Have the tendency to disappear into your handheld device? As distracting as TV may be for children, its the smart phone that paralyzes a working parents attention span. To keep your kids on point each morning, drop the device and truly focus on ushering them through their routine. You can always address your email/Facebook/Twitter/LinkedIn updates during your 10-minute solo head start, or wait until after drop-off to dive into the handheld action.
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9: Plan an easy breakfast
Pancakes are always awesome, but when youre watching the clock, having to bust out cookware and ingredients will cost you precious minutes — and makes a big ol mess! Instead, choose from a variety of healthy frozen waffle or breakfast burrito options that pop in the toaster or microwave and serve them up with a yogurt tube and some fruit. Youll get a healthy breakfast on the table 10-15 minutes faster — and spare yourself the hassle of a hectic clean up.
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10: Program your coffee maker
I’m not alive until I consume a stealth cup of caffeine in its entirety. It seems so simple, but I’ve found that programming my coffeemaker the night before saves me up to 5 minutes in the morning — 5 minutes that can just as easily be used to convince your preschooler to pee or corral your crew into the car. Plus, there’s nothing to pry you out of bed like the promising scent of freshly brewed coffee!
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