How to Be On Time in the Mornings, Part 2

on time series part 2 copy

This is the second post in my series on being on time in the morning. If you missed the first post, click on over and check it out! 

This week, I’ve been talking about how to be on time in the morning, even while herding multiple children of varied shoe-finding abilities out the door. I want you to think back for a moment, if you can… try to recall those blissful moments, pre-kid, when you needed to leave the house. Maybe there were hectic days (because you set your alarm for exactly six minutes before you have to be out the door, perhaps), but I’d be willing to bet you could be on time to any given situation.
{If you really wanted to be, that is.}

This was you. Then you had kids.

Now that we’ve had a moment of reflection, and shed a few tears for the young, youthful, skinny woman you used to be; reflect on today. Was there a lot of noise? Was there yelling? Was there more than five minutes spent looking for one item, only to realize you should have been looking for two missing items all along? Was there begging, pleading, and nagging, only to have it all fall on suddenly deaf ears?
(Though if you whisper “pick up some ice cream” to your husband, those ears are as fine tuned as a sniper’s in the jungle.)

What’s changed? The birth of your innocent, precious angels. Somehow those little angels turned into people who needed more than just a diaper and a source of milk.
Which is also why you shouldn’t get a puppy. They tend to turn into dogs.
They are now kids who need breakfast, and backpacks, and socks, and shoes, and signed field trip permission slips, and money for lunch, and their top secret diary because their illiterate preschool sister might “read” it while they are gone. On top of this, they still manage to leave their homework in the car and will call you two hours later asking you to bring it to school. Seriously.

Let’s step back. Let’s think about this for a moment. Just who is causing all the problems in the morning?
Certainly not you, who can still roll out the door in 6 minutes flat, given enough motivation and no kids.
It’s them.

 My next tip for getting out the door on time:

2. Put the kids in charge.

No, don’t roll your eyes. I know I don’t know your kids, but I know my kids, and kids are all the same. :) I happen to be a stay at home mom. My job is to raise and feed and care for my kids to the best of my abilities. Their job is to go to school. So why are you stressing about getting them there on time?
I know, I know, you can’t just let them not go to school. I’m not suggesting that. We want to live within the bounds of where someone could call DCFS on us; isn’t that every parent’s dream?

In all seriousness though, put some of that headache inducing stress on them. If they are older than 5, they are plenty old enough to be picking out their outfits the night before. Have them lay their clothes out, socks and shoes included. Backpacks need to be packed by the door (or even in the car!), ready to go. If you are OCD (I’m not, I’m just a control freak), double check the outfit to save their teachers from anything that could potentially blind with “flair.”

Older kids can be given an alarm clock. Teach them how to set it, and if your child is not a morning person, teach them how to use the snooze. Let them know the absolute latest they need to be up.
If this ends up being a problem, let them know how soon they need to be up if they expect to shower, and the latest time to be up to get out the door, semi-dressed. Let them know at what time they need to be in your sight dressed to leave before you will come and wake them up; set consequences if you need to take the time from your morning to wake them up.

Even little kids can set the table for breakfast. Alternatively, setting the table can be part of after dinner chores, unless that will drive you crazy to have the table set all night. :) But don’t feel like you need to be the only one making their breakfast. My oldest either pours all the cereal or starts the toaster. On smoothie days, he’ll help pull the ingredients out of the freeze so all I do is combine and blend. If lunches need to be packed, older children can help with this as well. (You do have your monthly menu posted on your fridge, don’t you?) If your kids are too young or not responsible enough for this chore, then be sure to pack the lunch the night before.
(Hint: place condiments between layers of meat, or between leaves of lettuce, and the bread won’t get soggy! Or you could get little condiment packets from Sams Clubmustard here, mayo here–and have your kid spread them at school!) 

And one last idea for the kid who just can’t get going, or spends way too much time doing basically everything, I suggest this:

The all-powerful timer. I’ve posted about using a timer before, but another way to use it is to set a timer for each activity your child needs to be doing. Eating breakfast? Give them ten minutes. Brushing teeth? Two minutes. Dressing? Five minutes. And so on. Every time the timer beeps, have your child (or assist them) to reset the timer. I’ve included a free printable for a morning checklist. Simply write in the time each task should take, and let them check it of when they are all finished. Put it in a sheet protector and use a dry eraser marker for re-usability (I think I just made that word up.)

The bonus for the child is not only using a nifty gadget, but it helps them pace their own speed better. Children have virtually no sense of time, so picking up a Barbie for what they thought was ten seconds, was actually enough time to miss the bus. This would also work well for the child who can’t get themselves out of bed, but isn’t ready for an alarm clock. Rouse them to semi-consciousness, and let them know you’re setting the timer for x minutes. Let them know they can have one “snooze” where you will come in and reset the timer. Keep the “snoozes” short, so their brains stay in a lighter sleep pattern and will often wake easily by the second time you come in to turn off the timer.

Oh, and speaking of pacing their time; if they only take eight minutes to dress, they can have the rest of the time for play! Before you know it, your child will be racing to get ready for school.

Click here for post 3 in the series “How to Be On Time in the Morning.”

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13 Responses to How to Be On Time in the Mornings, Part 2

  1. my sister has a rule that if you are ready first, you get computer time. My nephew actually got dressed the night before..pack back on, shoes on..ready to go! He said he did that so he could get on the computer before school. That night, he actually got up at 11:30pm thinking it was morning and proceeded to get on the computer…All the motivation he needed. She never has an issue with him getting ready for school. Her two daughters on the other hand could care less about that…so they are still looking for something for them, they are 9 and 6.

    Honestly, my first child has just been any mother’s dream. She just gets it…she is so smart….her fav sandwich is tomato, cucumber, avacado, lettuce and mayo…seriously! She is just 7. I normally only call her one time in the morning and she is immediately up and out of bed. She pops her toaster stroudle in the toaster, or water for her oatmeal in the microwave after she goes potty, then she gets dressed, eats, brushes her teeth and her hair and is ready to go 5 minutes before she needs to look for the bus. I haven’t had to give her motivation, or punishments. Like I said, she is any mother’s dream…My twins on the other hand…are late almost every morning for school! lol

  2. […] How to Be on Time in the Morning, Part 3 September 09, 2011   theslackermom   No comments This is part 3 in my series on how to be on time in the mornings. If you’ve missed the other parts, click here for part 1, and click here for part 2! […]

  3. […] 6. Beep to Go! If you know your three year old will freak when its time to be torn from the beloved TV, let him know you’re setting a timer until its time to get ready. When the timer beeps, the TV goes off (or the toy dinosaurs get put away), and its time to go! (To get your kid to school on time with a timer, check out this post!) […]

  4. […] Click here for post 2 in the series “How to Be on Time in the Morning.” […]

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