11 Moms' Hacks & Tricks for Taming the Morning Chaos

Wendy Robinson | May 11, 2016 Big Kid
11 Moms' Hacks & Tricks for Taming the Morning Chaos

family breakfast

My children are 3 and 7, which means that I've had literal years of experience with having to get us out of the house on time in the morning. And yet we still scramble far too often, scarfing granola bars in the car and telling my son to comb his hair with his fingers.

I hate starting the day feeling frazzled, and I'm sure my kids don't like getting whatever random snack I have in my car for breakfast. So, we need to tighten up our routine and get back to having an actual breakfast at an actual table together.

I know I'm not the only one feeling the morning struggle, so read on for some totally doable ways to make mornings manageable again.


Image via iStock.com/Geber86

  • Set Strict Morning Rules


    iStock.com/ PeopleImages

    "We have a few non-negotiable morning rules: no TV or screens, no coming out of your room without your day clothes on, and no leaving the house without eating breakfast. A 'no TV' rule was a total game changer for us. The kids do everything faster without it on in the background." -- Laurel G., Tucson, Arizona

  • Make a Deal


    iStock.com/ Steve Debenport

    "I made a deal with the kids that whoever is at the table first with clothes on, teeth brushed, and backpacks ready gets to pick what we're having for breakfast that morning and what music we'll listen to in the car on the way to school. My daughter is an early riser so we've had a lot of waffles and Taylor Swift lately." -- Denise S., Des Moines, Iowa

  • ... and Set Consequences


    iStock.com/Rob Friedman

    "Now that the boys are older, I bribe them. A peaceful morning means we listen to their radio stations in the car. Annoy Mommy and she puts on public radio. Really annoy her and she puts on classic country." -- Jessica G., Saint Paul, Minnesota

  • Prep at Night



    "I get the coffee pot ready and lunch packed the night before. I have the coffee travel mugs rinsed and next to coffee pot, and sometimes I even pour dry oats into bowl. Sounds crazy but it saves time!" -- Laura M., Saint Paul, Minnesota

  • Make a Crock-Pot Breakfast


    iStock.com/ GeorgePeters

    "I have been known to make breakfast in the crock pot at night, and it is hot and ready to go in the morning. Also, no showers in the morning for the older kids. Takes too much time." -- Emily S., Saint Paul, Minnesota

  • Let Them Sleep in Their Clothes



    "Our school principal suggested having my oldest sleep in her clothes, so she didn't have to get dressed in the morning. She admitted she'd done this with her own kids. I immediately felt better -- if the principal resorted to letting her kids sleep in their school uniforms, then at least I don't need to be embarrassed about my struggle getting kids out the door on time." -- Kristy P., Saint Paul, Minnesota

  • Warm Up the Winter Clothes


    iStock.com/ Cebas

    "In the winter, I put the kids' clothes on the radiator the night before, and they're more or less excited to get dressed since their clothes are all cozy. They get up, eat breakfast, get dressed, brush teeth, and if there's time, they can watch TV before we leave." -- Yasmine S., Grand Rapids, Michigan

  • Make Sunday Your 'Get It Done' Day



    "I really like having a hot breakfast for the kids in the morning, so I've gotten in the habit of trying to do as much prep work for the week on Sunday as I can. First, I usually make two egg bakes that I can reheat for breakfasts. Second, I lay out a week's worth of clothes for each kid. They can choose whichever outfit they want each day, but they have to choose from one of the five choices. Finally, I make 10 PB & J sandwiches and put them all in the freezer. I grab each kid one sandwich per day for lunch boxes. They are all small things but they add up to a slightly easier morning." -- Rachel W., Portland, Oregon

  • Create a Bathroom Schedule


    iStock.com/ sturti

    "We have five kids and two bathrooms. My husband and I both work and our kids go to three different schools, so our mornings are TIGHT. I am rigid about enforcing a bathroom schedule. Each kid knows that they have a 20-minute window to get in and out of the bathroom to get ready for the day, no exceptions. My husband is in charge of getting breakfast on the counter, so we can do a buffet-style breakfast. I'm in charge of lunch and backpacks. Most days we make it on time." -- Isadora W., Boise, Idaho

  • Enlist the Kids' Help


    iStock.com/ Brad Killer

    "I don't think I have it all figured out, but teaching my 10-year-old how to make coffee is one of the best parenting decisions I've ever made. He starts it when I'm in the shower and in exchange, I make his breakfast and lunch while he is getting dressed. Team work!" -- Nan K., Phoenix, Arizona

  • Admit That You Need to Get Up Earlier



    "Our mornings were totally frantic and we were always running late. I finally had to admit the truth -- we needed to wake up 20 to 30 minutes earlier than we were. I'm not a morning person so it seemed brutal but we decided to do this when the clocks changed in the fall. That seemed to help the transition." -- Annie U., St. Louis, Missouri

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