7 tips and tricks for keeping kids on track in the morning

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The struggle to get kids up, dressed, fed, and on their way to school can be overwhelming. It's like running a marathon every morning while dragging sleepy - and often grouchy - children behind you.
These helpful hints and tricks will have your mornings running smoothly and your kids arriving at school on time. You'll find yourself asking why you didn't think of these sooner!
1. Create a wake-up clock (h/t One Crazy House)
Created color-coded sections on a clock to let your children know when it's time to get up, get ready for school and so on. Remember to keep it simple. This creative tutorial shows how to paint the sections on. However, if your clock has a clear cover, simply use a dry erase marker to indicate time sections.
2. Get ready the night before (h/t The Spruce)
Your morning really begins the night before. Take the time to gather all the books, papers, and bags you need for the next day. Plan on getting to bed early for a good night's sleep. No matter how smoothly your mornings go, always plan on getting up 15 minutes earlier than you need to. It's better to have too much time, than it is to have not enough!
3. Pick out clothes before (h/t The Boys Store Blog)
Organizing clothes into outfits helps speed up getting ready for the day. At a relatively young age, children can learn to get their clothes and get dressed all on their own. This creative tower saves time in the evenings by organizing a week's worth of outfits at a time.
4. Make breakfast easy (h/t Encouraging Moms)
Breakfast is the fuel for the day, but it needs to stay simple on busy mornings. There are many healthy, nutritious breakfast recipes that can be made ahead. Something as simple as this zucchini bread is a perfect pairing with a quick bowl of cereal and glass of juice. Many can also be grabbed for an on-the-go breakfast!
5. Create a school storage area (h/t Mum Central)
Your school storage area doesn't have to be fancy, it just needs to be a designated spot for keeping items you need to get out of the door in the morning. Backpacks should be filled and placed there the night before. Shoes, musical instruments, sports equipment and any extras can also go there. Who has time to find missing gloves or school books in the morning, anyway?
6. Make a morning routine checklist (h/t Sweet Rose Studio)
Children (and adults) often get distracted in the morning. Keep everyone on track with a morning checklist. You will all know what needs to be done to get out of the house on time. This cute list can be downloaded for free and even customized for your own children and routine. By laminating it, you create a reusable dry erase surface.
7. Keep things together with a school clipboard (h/t Stacy Julian)
From morning routine checklists and extra lunch money to reading lists and permission slips, keep everything in one place with a handy clipboard. One per child keeps everything organized. All you need to do is make it a habit to fill the clipboard at night and check it every morning.
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