March 2, 2013 - Better You

Rush Hour Tips | How to End Hectic Mornings

With three school-aged children and two working parents, our busy household needs a plan to make mornings run as efficiently and smoothly as possible. After a few years of chaos and disorganization, my husband and I brainstormed ways to makeover our morning routine.  The plan we devised makes even the most time-crunched days start off on the right foot for everyone. Our smooth weekday mornings start with a Sunday routine.  Before the week gets underway, we make preparations in three areas that can derail families on weekday mornings – preparing breakfast, packing lunches and getting dressed. Here’s our 1-2-3 plan to make mornings go smoothly.

1.  Preparing Breakfast

Our family enjoys a big breakfast on Sunday mornings. We usually have French toast or pancakes, along with eggs. Whatever I’m making gets doubled and put in the freezer.  I package individual servings of two slices of French toast or pancakes in freezer bags. On school mornings, they get popped in the microwave for 30 seconds, and voila, a warm breakfast is served! To round it out nutritionally, we add in sliced strawberries or bananas along with a glass of milk. Morning breakfast prep clocks in at around 5 minutes.

2.  Packing Lunches

On Sunday evenings, we create an assembly line in the kitchen. We pull out all non-perishable food items and package them in individual resealable bags. Our girls both love PB&J, so we make a week’s worth and store them in the freezer. Each morning, we pull out a frozen sandwich. It thaws out just in time for lunch, and tastes as fresh as the day it was made.  We then add in the already packaged non-perishables, a string cheese and a whole piece of fruit.  All that’s left is filling their reusable water bottles and popping in an ice pack. Our morning lunch packing routine takes about 3 minutes.

3.  Getting Dressed

Our two older kids wear uniforms but our youngest daughter does not.  Sometimes she and I clash over her outfit selections.  At the beginning of the school year, I decided that we needed a solution for our morning outfit arguments. She never wanted to wear what I picked and what she chose wasn’t always dress code approved, so we arrived at a compromise. We would work together to pick out her outfits for the week on Sunday night before bed. After we’ve decided, the week’s outfits get hung in groups in her closet to make it easy for her to grab in the morning.  No more wasted time arguing over what to wear, and dressing time is down to 5 minutes flat!

When our kids wake up, our morning routine is a well-oiled machine. They shower the night before so they can grab their outfits for the day and get dressed.  While they are dressing, I’m doing breakfast prep. After breakfast, all they have to do is brush their teeth, grab their lunches and head out the door.

As soon as they are all off, my husband and I relax with a few minutes to spare for a well-earned cup of coffee together.  Now that’s a great way to start the day!

This post is part of BlogHer’s Rush Hour Tips editorial series, made possible by Got Milk?

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  • Girl, these are AMAZING ideas! Seriously! I fill like I am constantly feeding an army and I have two kids. I also find myself packing lunches last minute, I love this Sunday routine. I think I might have to adapt it when we’re in the states!

  • We make our lunches the night before and it saves SO much time!

  • These are great tips! Thank you for sharing 🙂

  • Wow you are one organized mama! Sounds like you have it down to a perfect system. I will remember these tips of preparing meals ahead of time! Well done.

    The House of Shoes

  • Awesome post!! Thanks for the tips of freezing stuff. I was at a loss on how to keep PB&J fresh, freezing it is! I’ve been doing the pick out a weeks worth of clothes the past few months and man, does it make a difference!

  • These are some great tips! I love the early breakfast preparation, that would totally come in handy for myself because I’m so often wanting to just run out the door.

  • Great tips Alison. I don’t have school age kids yet but I’m tucking these tips away for when I need them!

  • Wow..great tips for a hassle free start of the day! You are so efficient! Hope you are having a wonderful day!
    Style Delights Blog