How to simplify your kids' morning routine

Mar 27, 2012 at 2:00 p.m. ET

A hurried, hectic morning can make you frazzled all day. With a little preparation and organization, you can simplify your kids' morning routine and get out the door on time with ease.

Little boy boarding bus

Step 1: Pick out clothes the night before

No matter how old your kids are, getting dressed in the morning can be a struggle. Have your children each pick out an outfit the evening before, complete with undergarments, shoes and accessories. If something isn't clean or needs repair, you'll know to set it aside so you can get it laundered or fixed.

LunchboxStep 2: Get a head start

Clothes aren't the only thing you should prepare in evening. Do everything you can the night before. Make sure homework is done. Pack backpacks. Start preparing lunches. You should even plan breakfast and set the table before going to bed.

Check out these organic school lunch bags >>

Step 3: Stick to a bedtime routine

Tired, crabby kids can definitely slow you down in the morning. By establishing a bedtime routine and sticking to it, you'll ensure your children are well-rested. After dinner, have some quiet time to allow the kids to wind down. Then after bathtime, it's storytime, teeth-brushing and lights out. Make sure your kids are getting an age-appropriate amount of sleep by staggering bedtimes according to age.

Step 4: Keep breakfast simple

No one should skip breakfast, but it shouldn't be a big production, either. Weekends are for making homemade pancakes and omelets. Weekday breakfasts should be simple. Make quick, healthy breakfasts like yogurt with fruit and granola, fruit smoothies and whole grain cereal bars. Forget about sweet cereals, sugary doughnuts and other heavy breakfast options.

Read about how to make a quick, energizing breakfast >>

Static TVStep 5: Don't turn on the TV

Kids of all ages (and adults too) can get easily distracted by the TV, video games and computers. Don't let these distractions slow down your morning routine. Make it a house rule -- no TV or other gadgets before school.

How much TV is too much TV for kids? >>

Step 6: Simplify your own routine

Sometimes it's not your kids who are wasting time in the morning -- it's you! Simplify your own morning routine and get out the door on time every day. Instead of fighting with your hair every morning, embrace the waves (or lack thereof) that you were blessed with. Get a low-maintenance haircut and cut back on the cosmetics. Try this 5-minute makeup routine. Keep your bathroom clean and organized. Also, use multipurpose beauty products to get ready in a flash.

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