9 Ways to Speed Up Morning Routines

How to avoid the morning rush and get to work and school on time

If your morning routine usually turns into a scramble to get your family out of the door on time, you may want to consider a makeover to ease your morning rush. Whether you’re getting back in the school groove after a long vacation or holiday break, or need to jettison sluggish habits that are putting you and your child at risk of being marked “chronically late” at school and at work, here are some great ideas to speed up your morning routine.

Get a timer.

Kitchen Timer
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Kids love to make a game out of just about anything. To challenge your family to get ready on time, set a timer and make it a race to see who can be dressed and at the breakfast table, ready to eat a healthy breakfast before heading to school and work.

Stick to regular morning routines.

girl brushing teeth
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Whether you decide that baths before bed or showers in the morning fit better into your grade-schooler’s schedule or your child prefers to brush her teeth before getting dressed, keep the order of tasks consistent. Sticking to the same morning routine day after day will speed things up because she will be more likely do what she needs to do without any reminders.

Check out the weather forecast the night before.

rain boots foyer
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One way to get out the door faster in the morning is to check out the weather forecast each night before bed. That way, you can make sure the rain boots and coats and umbrellas are ready by the door if the forecast calls for rain or heavy jackets if the temperatures are supposed to drop. The last thing you want to do when you are on a tight schedule is dig around in the closet for coats and boots and umbrellas for everyone.

Pack up beforehand.

ready for back to school
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Have your grade-schooler pack up his backpack the night before. Homework, library books—anything that needs to be taken to school the next day should be in his bag, ready to go. Designate a spot near the door for bags, shoes and jackets.

Make lunches ahead of time.

mother daughter packing school lunch
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Sandwiches can easily be made the night before. You can also put fruit, string cheese, box of milk or water bottle, or whatever else will be going into the lunch bag together on a shelf in the fridge. That way, you can save precious extra time by not having to look for each item in the morning. For great ideas for school lunches, read "School Lunch Ideas and Recipes."

Get to bed on early.

bedtime routines help children sleep
A good bedtime routine can help children sleep. JGI/Jamie Grill/ Getty Images

If you find yourselves constantly scrambling to get out the door in time every morning, it may be time to take a hard look at your bedtime routine. Straightening up her room, a warm bath, a good book, soft music and dim lights—there are many things that can get a child relaxed and ready for bed, and less likely to fight bedtime so that she can get a good night's sleep.

Wake up a bit earlier.

morning routine - girl sleeping alarm clock
Setting the alarm a few minutes early can help speed up your morning routine. Heide Benser/Getty Images

Getting up just 15 minutes earlier in the morning can make a big difference if your family routinely runs late. Get to bed on time and adjust the alarm clock to get up a little earlier in the mornings.

Find ways to eliminate any dawdling.

dawdling - boy playing with dinosaurs
If your child tends to play and dawdle instead of getting dressed, try some strategies to get him moving. KidStock/Getty Images

If you have a child who can easily spend fifteen minutes in a shower or take five minutes to put on one sock, try using a timer to get your dawdler on the move. Kids naturally love to make a game out of things. If you challenge him to beat the clock, he’ll be less likely to daydream and become distracted while getting ready. For more tips on how to deal with procrastinators, read "How to Handle Dawdling."

Make it a team effort.

family morning routine school
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If you present the idea of making it out of the door on time as a family project, your grade-schooler is more likely to get enthusiastic about getting on board. On mornings that you make it on time, say, "We are a great team." If you end up late, avoid placing blame on your child and say, "I know we can do better tomorrow."

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