Every parent has been there. It’s morning and you are trying to get yourself ready, get the kids dressed in clothes that you won’t be judged for, put something in their stomach, and also break up seven sibling fights without having to set a new land speed record in order to make it to the school drop off on time. Let’s face it, mornings can be just plain nuts.
The good news is that I have some tips so they don’t have to be. I’m not saying mornings won’t be busy or you won’t ever leave the house with two different pairs of shoes on, but I am saying that I am giving you these five hacks that will make mornings much easier. Take each hack out when you need it and see how much easier it makes your morning.
1. Use a shoe holder as an outfit organizer.
At the beginning of the week, or on whatever day you do laundry, match up your kids’ outfits and place them in a hanging vertical closet shoe organizer. This way your kids can easily take out a pre-approved outfit and dress themselves while you catch your naked toddler who is trying to escape out of the front door.
2. Make breakfast the night before.
Overnight oats are perfect for busy mornings and when the weather warms up. The mixture sits in your refrigerator overnight and by morning, it’s a fast and refreshing breakfast to which even your picky eaters will give a thumbs-up. (See recipes here: www.quakeroats.com/cooking-and-recipes/overnightoats.)
3. Move food from the dinner table straight to the lunchbox.
If kids liked the dinner that night, there is no sacred rule that says you can’t serve the leftovers for lunch. Make dinner into lunch and skip a step the next morning. Chicken breast, salmon, sausages – or anything similar – make a fantastic lunch for your kids. Pair it with fresh fruit or veggies and you have a lunch that takes seconds. While you’re at it, put one together for yourself and save money by not going out for your lunch break. Of course, when you have a few extra minutes, you could always follow one of my recipes and make your kids a fun bento lunch (www.lunchboxdad.com/search?q=%23lbdbento).
4. Have your kids pack their backpacks when they get home from school.
During the school year, immediately have your kids unpack their backpacks when they walk in the door. No, this doesn’t mean to throw everything on the ground. They should put their papers away, lunchboxes in the sink and that gross unidentifiable mass of whatever in the garbage. Then, they pack up as much as they can. Do not wait until bedtime because this just won’t work. Complete this hack as soon as possible after school. It will reduce morning fights, and forgotten homework, by 567 percent.
5. No screen time in the morning.
If your kids are like mine, they are always asking about screen time. Despite popular opinions from children 9 and under who live in my house, they will actually survive and go on to live normal lives without always being glued to the screen. There is another issue, however. Screens are a huge distraction in the morning. I guarantee that if you cut out screen time, you will cut down on getting-ready time.
 Beau Coffron is a former Bay Area dad. A version of this story originally appeared on his website, Lunchbox Dad (www.lunchboxdad.com), which offers creative bento box lunches, recipes and more.


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