Getting Out the Door in the Morning Without Stress!

Updated on September 20, 2011
S.S. asks from Albion, NE
15 answers

It seems as though EVERY morning, my kids and I have a horrible time getting out the door without being frustrated. All of their coats, shoes, bags should be in the same place every day but, every day I have a child (or two) who can't find something important. Or, like this morning, I asked my oldest THREE times before he actually got dressed. I feel as though I'm constantly repeating, "Get your clothes on... Get your clothes on... Get your clothes on" to the point of me getting upset. It is so stressful in the mornings (even though I think we should be organized) and I'm starting to lose my cool with my kiddos. I really don't want my oldest going to school feeling like I'm frustrated with him... Poor kid. But, I just don't know how to fix this on-going problem. So, what are your suggestions for getting to school on time without becoming stressed out with the kids? What has worked for you and your kids? I hate repeating myself over and over or trying desperately to find jackets and shoes 5 minutes until school. Any and all help is wonderful! I always get wonderful ideas when I post a question so I appreciate your help. Thank you, in advance!

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answers from St. Louis on

First of all get up earlier. I know it sucks but from experience it doesn't suck as much as what you are going through now. Second, get everything together the night before as you possibly can. Backpacks by the door, coats on backpacks if they will be needed. Clothes out with all undergarments, socks and shoes close by. Know what you are going to eat for breakfast.

You won't have to find anything in the morning if you already know where it is, ya know?

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answers from Houston on

I get up early and I have never had to deal w/too many mornings of rushing around.

Before my kid goes to bed at night, we make sure he has clothes, socks, shoes, papers signed, homework in his bag, lunch ready if he's bringing it.

As soon as he gets home, I go through his bag and look for things that need to be signed and write important dates on the calendar. Then everything goes right back in the bag and hung up.

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answers from Dover on

I think it's all about the night before. It will take you and your 4 and 6 yr. old 15 minutes to set our clothes, shoes, socks and so on at the end of the bed, set all school stuff with coats and such by the door, and lay out comb, washrag and toothbrush on the bathroom sink. It should be a part of the bedtime routine. It's a wonderful habit for them to get into, learning to be prepared for the next day instead of rushing around in the morning. Then breakfast, a drink, tv, anything at all doesn't happen until they are dressed and ready (with the exception of tooth brushing). If they don't eat before they leave, then they have to have toast in the car. If they eat at school or preschool, then however late they make you in the morning, they go to bed that early the night before. For instance, "If you are so tired that you can't get up and around in the morning then I think we need an earlier bedtime." T

In this way, they take responsibility for getting prepared and learn a valuable skill, they take responsibility for getting ready, and they own the consequences if they don't.

Hope this helps,


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answers from Charlotte on


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answers from Washington DC on

The only thing that really worked for me was to get us all up earlier. That is probably not the answer you want to hear, but it has made life so much nicer in the mornings. Don't try to multitask, give yourself more time, and then you can take your time.

I am trying to get me to work, 1 child to the bus, (age 7), and 1 child to preschool (age 3) by 7:30 - darling dad leaves at 6am. I really prefer to stand over my daughters and coax them, rather than to scream from another room and repeat my self. I would take 15 minutes of sitting with them while they get dressed over 30 minutes of yelling at them and hoping they come downstairs in the right clothes and ready to go.

My schedule is
6:00 Mom showers
6:20 Start breakfast/set table, Mom gets a nibble of something
6:30 Wake kids - supervise older and dress younger
6:50 Kids eat, Mom makes lunch
7:00 Mom gets dressed, etc.
7:15 Send kids to brush teeth and put on shoes
7:25 Walk to bus
7:35 In car to preschool

And if I get up before 6:00 I get a few uninterrupted minutes to check e-,ail or watch the news :)

It's tight, but it works.write down your schedule and figure out where you could use more time, and get up that much earlier.

It helps to have clothes laid out the night before, let the kids set the table, and have my older daughter pack her lunch the night before. But that doesn't always happen.

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answers from Dallas on

I like Love and Logic's answer to this.

Basically, you tell them what to do once. Take them to school in their PJs if you have to or throw an outfit in the car. I don't have kids this age, but it seems to me that they'd learn quickly that if they want to wear what they want, they'd better be ready when my car pulled out of the driveway. I'd personally pick out something ugly to drive the point home. *evil smile*

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answers from Detroit on

Make sure you are pre-planning/preparing as much as you can the night before. I make all lunches the night before and just have to put them in lunch boxes in the morning. I lay out their outfits and shoes are by the door. They have to get dressed before they go downstairs. Once dressed, I start getting them breakfast (cereal or yogurt for the most part). Before I let them sit to eat, I have them go to the bathroom. They do watch TV while eating and that slows them down a bit between bites so I have to prod them along. They are usually cold in the morning and want to curl under a blanket and watch a little TV. I will not give them a blanket until they brush their teeth. I TRY to get everything in before they get comfy and I have to start the motivation process all over. I give myself 35-40 mins from the time I start to wake them up to the time we HAVE to walk out the door. I HAVE to stay on them the entire time, but it works for me. I would imagine the colder it gets outside and the darker it is, will make this all harder. I wake my 3 & 6 year old aat 6:10am daily :(

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answers from Phoenix on

I didn't read your prior posts but you said everything "should" be in the same place every day but isn't. That's a big problem right there. We have a big rack thing with hooks on it that coats and backpacks hang on. Our 3 kids each have a place for their shoes in their rooms, both girls have a shoe rack thing that hangs on the pole in their closet and my son has a big basket in his closet that he throws all his shoes in. So they always know where their shoes, jackets and backpacks are. As far as repeating yourself, we were having this problem as well. We sat down the kids and told the we no longer are going to repeat ourselves. That we are going to tell them to do something and they will IMMEDIATELY do it. IF we have to repeat ourself because they don't do it the first time they are told then they get to spend the time in their room after they get home from school. This just happened to us this morning. Hubby gets up with the kids before me, he asked our 11 yo to take out the trash, he called me later to see if she did it, I after homework is done, she's taking out the trash and spending the rest of the day in her room. So you need to let the kids know what to expect. they put everything away in the right place so they know where to find it. My kids are early risers so we are not running around all crazy at the last minute. The kids eat in their jammies but then get dressed and ready for school so we have time to relax before we actually have to leave. I hope you find something that works for you...good luck!

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answers from Toledo on

I have this problem also, right now we are trying a treasure chest reward system. I always have everythign ready for them btu the contant repeating everythign is driving me nuts...SO if they get dressed with no or one reminder they earn a coin. At the end of the week they can "buy" a toys from the treasure chest. Example...a squnikie is 4 coins, doll dress 8 coins etc.....I am hoping this works.I am with you and dont like sending them off to school being yelled and screamed DD's are 3 and 6, if that helps..ill let you know how this goes. At one point I was contimplating putting them to bed in their school clothes so they would already be dressed LOL

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answers from Iowa City on

I hate it when mornings are rushed and the kids get yelled at so we get up earlier than we need to and there's no tv or distractions until the kids are completely ready to go. We leave the house at 7:30 am and I get up at 6 am to have time to shower and start getting ready first. I get my kids up around 6:45 and my husband gets up a little after that. We also have everything but lunches ready for school the night before. Backpacks, homework, anything that needs to be returned to school, must be by the door.

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answers from Sacramento on

Flylady recomments a Before Bed Routine (or after dinner routine, if you prefer). These are the things you do before going to bed, in preparation for the next day, and includes laying out your clothes for the next day, and putting anything you need to take the next day on your launch pad.

You can establish a Morning Routine for your kids which will help them get everything done that they need to remember.

Aside from that, something that worked for my 6yo DD is bribery. She wants to be a big girl, and walk down the alley to school by herself. If she gets ready without any hassle from me, then I drop her off at the mouth of the alley and she walks herself in (though I sit there until I see her ON school grounds). If she doesn't, she either gets dropped off at the front of the school, or I walk her in.

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answers from Minneapolis on

How old are your kids? If they are older, then you can and should start giving them more personal responsibility for mornings. One of the first chapters of the book "How to Hug a Porcupine" (about parenting tweens) has an example of a girl who was constantly late and disorganized in the morning, and how that changed when she became responsible for getting herself ready. She screwed up a few times at first, was late for school, and then had to go to dentention. Her parents didn't rush in and fix things for her. She then started setting her alarm early enough and managing her time in the mornings properly. More importantly, her mornings became relaxed, and she felt more grown-up and really proud of herself for being so mature.

You could also make getting everything ready for morning part of your bedtime routine. Before going upstairs for bedtime, the kids need to get out their jackets and backpacks, and make sure everything they need is in them. They can even put their shoes out as well.

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answers from Pittsburgh on

Well...from your profile, your oldest is younger than my child--he's 8.5 and I'm still "on" him about getting ready in the morning.
Getting ready the night before as much as possible really does help. And I find, the earlier I get up, the better "we" do in the morning!

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answers from Minneapolis on

Our problem is two part: with my daughter (5) it starts with not wanting to get out of bed and taking way too long to get dressed. Both she and my son also get distracted by toys (or deliberately reroute to the toys vs. the routine. To get my daughter to dress I do what Michelle K suggested: Threaten that she will be going out the door in whatever she is wearing when it is time to go - jammies, underwear, whatever. And you need to be able to follow it up if they don't get dressed. It's a little easier because my daughter wears a uniform, and she only needs to decide which grey item to wear from the waist down (the only thing I like about uniforms). As for the distraction, I'm still working on that. There is a lot of yelling each morning at our house, too. Mostly "FOCUS!!!"
I realize that I set the pace too. I cannot expect them to go through the motions robotically if I'm trying to get myself ready in between. I often miss a shower or make-up because I don't get up early enough. However, I must say that if I do get up early, my 3 y/o son finds a way to get up earlier!

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answers from Minneapolis on

1-2-3 Magic is a great book about getting kids to do what you say the first time.

Here's a good story: My mom was a true believer in natural consequences. That means if my sister didn't get dressed in time for school, she would find herself standing at the bus stop in her pajamas (and it's cold in Minnesota!). If I dawdled getting to the bus stop and my mom had to drive me to school, she charged me the going rate for the local taxi (not cheap). If I missed a deadline for an assignment, I got a big fat zero and my parents didn't try to change anything for me. (I also didn't get my allowance.) Consequently, our screw-ups were usually one-time events, including the "zero!"

My mom was pretty cool about stuff, she never repeated herself and therefore we never thought her a "nag."

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