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How To Get Your Kids Out The Door Without Pulling Your Hair Out

By Jan 23, 2012July 31st, 201622 Comments

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Do you wish you could get your kids out the door each morning without any yelling (from you OR from them) that leaves you feeling frazzled? It CAN be done…. You just need a plan… or in this case- a morning routine! Having a clear morning routine allows everyone in the family to know what their responsibilities are and what is expected of them. And it allows you the possibility of starting your morning in a calm and relaxed manner!

Do you want to get your kids out the door in the morning on time without any yelling? These tips will help you organize your morning routine.

A Morning Routine To Get Your Kids Organized And Out The Door On Time

Map out a schedule, working backwards from your out-the-door deadline. I think the place to start when planning your morning routine, is to plan the time you need to exit the house, and work backwards from there. I personally prefer that my children ride the bus to school- it forces my kids to learn and respect the concept of “being on time” every day, which is a skill that will serve them well for the rest of their lives.

At our house, the bus comes at 8:25am, so I have set our goal to be in my car by 8:15am. We need to drive down the street to our bus stop, and I like to be at the stop 5 minutes early. I also plan 5 extra minutes of “cushion” – which we end up using almost every day to run back into the house to grab another sweatshirt, retrieve the forgotten backpack, etc.

Working backwards, I know that we need to have our breakfast completed by 8am, which gives us 15 minutes to brush teeth, comb hair, make one last trip to the bathroom, get shoes and coats on, and gather backpacks. And if we want to complete breakfast by 8am, the kids need to be downstairs, dressed, and at the table by 7:30am, and any hot food such as eggs, need to be made and served by no later than 7:45am. The kids need to finish eating, clear their plates and load them into the dishwasher by this 8am deadline.

Which makes our latest wake-up time 7:15am. And that is also the time when I need to have myself ready to focus just on the kids and on helping them along. I have found that mutli-tasking (getting myself dressed while trying to rouse my later sleepers and help the younger ones get dressed), just ramps up my stress level, and makes me less patient with my little sleepy-heads!

Keys To A Successful Morning Routine:

Put your own mask on first, before helping others. We’ve all heard these words before taking off on an airplane, and the same advice goes for us at home. As the Mom and leader of this family pack- I need take care of myself first in the morning before moving on to get everyone else ready. At a minimum, I absolutely must have a few moments to make myself a cup of tea, check my calendar to review the day, check my blog, and read my email- this is what I need for my own sanity. And I like to give myself some time to take care of anything that I might not have finished the night before (laying out the kids clothes, getting lunches and snacks ready, etc). So yes, this means that I need to get up early…. very early….. Most days I try to be out of bed by 5:45am. I do this because it is what works for me, and I am happiest when my home feels organized and I feel prepared for the day.

Set yourself up for less stress, and help your kids to be as self-sufficient as possible. At our house we lay out our clothes there the night before so in the morning the kids can just get themselves ready as they wake up. We have tried to make it a “house rule” that no one goes downstairs in the morning until they are dressed. We use two different bathrooms for teeth brushing (it speeds up the process), and each child has a tray in the vanity drawer with their own toothbrush, toothpaste, and floss- so that they can go right to their station and get ready. And each child has their own bin in the coat closet with just their shoes, so they can find their own shoes and put them on in the morning.

Make sure that everyone knows what is expected of them. For younger ones it might be helpful to start out with a picture-based checklist that they can follow until the routine becomes a habit. For older children who can read, a written checklist will work nicely. Once the kids know and are following their routine, you can eliminate the checklists.

And make sure you can check the clock- wherever you might be working. Since I have worked our morning routine around set “deadlines”, I need to be able to keep one eye on the clock- which means having one in each room that we use in the morning to get ready. If I see that it is 8:05am, and we still have a few kids at the breakfast table, I know that I need to move them along. This school year, I even added a small battery powered clock to our bathroom so I can keep an eye on it while I am helping the younger ones brush their teeth. I also believe in having the kids set and use their own alarm clocks to wake them up in the morning (although in our house this only applies to my older children- my young ones all seem to spring out of bed waaaaaaaaaay before 7am!)

What is your best tip for getting kids out the door in the morning?

About the Author: Sharon
My name is Sharon and I am the busy Mom of six children ages 11, 9, 8, 7, 6, and 6. People often ask me “How do you do it?” I tell them that my key to success lies in planning ahead, with a whole lot of creativity and organization thrown in! Momof6 is the place where I share all of my tips and techniques to inspire you to tackle your own busy life! blog: www.momof6.com, facebook: SharonMomof6, twitter: @sharonmomof6

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  • Thanks for the great tips! I link your post on my blog about stress for others to check out.

  • Erica Filpi says:

    One of my kids lives on her own now that she is 18 (yes it was a sad, but beautiful day) *L*. The other one wakes himself up and has to be out the door by 6:45. If for some reason I’m not moving around he will knock on my door at 6:30am (usually means I was up late doing homework). But what I have found is making my coffee the night before, crawling out of the bed by about 6:15, and flipping that switch makes all of the difference. If I have had a few sips of that heavenly caffeinated brew before they wake up at 7am I can handle anything. I have from 7-7:25to get my three youngest sleepy heads up, dressed, their morning drink, teeth brushed/hair combed, and out the door. This gives me five extra minutes of flub time. At 7:30 my daughters bus picks her up, I take my boys to school, and head home. While I’m working on my second cup of coffee I let my dogs out, feed them, and remind my 14 year old what time it is.

    Things run smoothly as long as their drawers have their clean clothes in them, shoes/bookbags/jackets are where they belong, and I’ve had that one cup of coffee *L*

  • Oh,boy! I really, really need to get up earlier.

    That, and having backpacks/lunchboxes packed the night before saves my hide!

  • Angelle says:

    I like this post! It will help a lot especially for the parents out their. Its not good to frustrate your children and be embarrassed to the public. Much better to understand your child’s mood and slowly talk to make them understand whats your point.

  • Leah says:

    This is such a great post! Every morning, not only am I frazzled but I’m sure the kids are too, from mommy being so pushy and frustrated.

    Thanks for sharing!

  • A busy mother can always use suggestions on how to organize a household and I love the the sentiment of taking care of oneself first. I HAVE to eat a piece of toast in the morning before anyone gets their toast–or I just might throw it at them! Your blog is refreshingly neat, organized, and clean! Just like your household! Thanks

  • I originally read this post yesterday…quickly…in between school and sports.
    This am, as I was lying in bed, dreading dragging myself out of bed to start the day, all I could think was “Put your own mask on first”. It was like a billboard, flashing over and over!
    Thank you for the reality check…If I’m not ready, how can I expect them to be ready? Hopefully tomorrow will go smoother…and in a timely fashion!

  • Marie Cole says:

    Well said, I may use some of these tips for myself. 😉

  • ha! I called mine pokemon! So I don’t feel so bad. Love these suggestions!

  • Shaunell says:

    This is fabulous……….my morning routine could use some tweaks for sure. I’m all for doing all of this in a happy positive way……not turning into beasty mommy and barking at children to GET DOWNSTAIRS! SHOES ON! 🙂

  • I absolutely love this post; I don’t have kids, but my friend is a professional and she and her husband manage to get out of the house daily with two kids and I’m always astounded. I figured that I’d be driving around in pajamas, because I’d be so frazzled in the morning, but she looks great every day.

    These are great tips.

  • Elyse says:

    I think I am going to be checking this site REGULARLY!!!!! In love just after the first post.

  • Mary says:

    Noted, thanks! We only have an 8 month old, so I will take notes!

    Hope everyone is having a wonderful Monday!

  • kyfirewife says:

    Happy Monday Everyone!

  • Pamela list says:

    Really great tips and wow 6 kids.
    I get up extra, extra early but them end up needing a nap before homework time. Still struggling for hte perfect schedule.


  • Ashley says:

    Great tips! I need to start getting some of our stuff ready the night before. I just recently started getting up an hour earlier and it has made a lot of difference to us if I am already ready!

    • Sometimes it is just SO HARD to drag myself out of bed early enough to get myself ready first…. so those days when I hit the snooze button a few too many times…. I just skip myself altogether and then get ready once they are on the bus (so yes, sometimes that means driving them to the bus stop in my robe and jammies!)

  • What great tips! I do need to get my act together first rather than last in the morning.

    • For me it makes all the difference in the world…. that way I am paying attention to the kids and what they need to do to get ready- vs. trying to multi-task which just amps up my stress level!