Updated: May 30
Getting out the door in the morning can be stressful for many parents. Even the simple thought of it gives many parents anxiety and a feeling of dread. Before having children, we didn’t realise what the other working parents had to go through each morning before getting to work. As Mamas of seven children between us, we have had to implement a healthy routine to get out the door on time, ensuring all children are prepared for their daily activities. Even though your little one may wake up as early as 5.30 am, it is so easy to still be late and to forget their water bottle, sunblock, to clean their teeth or hat or that all-important book week outfit.
Organisation tips for busy parents
Here are our Top Tips for getting out the door on time without feeling like a bulldozer has run over the top of you and you have spent your entire morning yelling at the kids to get ready. Following our step-by-step guide you can get out the door most mornings calmly and smoothly.
Preparation and organisation are the key
The night before, put out everyone’s outfits for the next day (including your own). Place their bags at the door along with any next-day activity outfits (i.e. swimmers, climbing clothes, consent form). Place your handbag and laptop next to the door also.
Ensure their bags have hats, spare clothes, nappy bags etc., pre-packed. Put all of their lunch boxes and water bottles on the kitchen bench, along with breakfast plates and, cutting boards, bottles, ready to go for the morning ‘breakfast shift’.
Packing their lunches the night before also helps to get out the door faster.
Try to get in the habit of putting the washing and dishwasher on just before you go to bed (ready to hang out and unpack in the morning to ensure plates are ready to go and clean clothes to wear).
Wake up before your children
This can be a tough one. Most parents are exhausted and let’s face it every minute of sleep counts. But if you can, try rising before your little one, make yourself a cup of tea or coffee and allow yourself to take a few deep breaths. This can really set your mindset for the day.
If you can, have a shower and do your hair and makeup before the noise and the hustle and bustle of the day starts. It’s much easier to be calm and help your little one get dressed and have breakfast when you are ready for the day.
Have an ‘Out The Door Station’
Next to the door, place your sunblock, raincoats, shoes and a spare hairbrush, hair ties and water sprayer and even their toothbrushes in a tub. Have helmets in one spot next to the door if your children are riding their bikes or scooter.
That way just before they go out the door you can ensure the key-getting-ready supplies are stocked and good to go. If it’s raining you can pop their raincoat on without having to search the entire house for it (while they get distracted again).
Try and teach the children to put everything back, when they return home, in the same place ready for tomorrow.
Why are routines so important for children?
Routine is key so that your children know exactly what to expect each morning. So try getting ready, having breakfast, going to the toilet, then heading to the ‘Out The Door Station’ for hair, teeth, sunblock, shoes etc., before heading off for the day.
Have a rule of no devices in the ‘morning shift’ so you don’t have to have tantrums from children who need to hop off devices to get ready and out the door.
Head to the out-the-door station 20 mins prior to actually needing to get out the door (which will allow for tantrums and help you feel less time pressure and thus calmer with the children).
Other morning routine tips for busy parents
For little ones, you can pretend to be a fast race car to zoom in to the door.
For little ones, you can have a special way you carry them to the door or for bigger ones a fun dance to the door each morning.
You can play a ‘get out the door song’, and when the children hear the song, they can run to the ‘get out the door station’.
You can have a ‘family challenge’ where you time your entire family each morning to see how long it takes you to get out the door and each morning trying to beat the time.
Have a star chart. Each morning if your little ones get out the door as a family by a specific time you can go and get a ‘chino’/ ‘hot chocolate’ at the end of the week for a reward.
Staying calm under pressure as a parent getting out the door is hard, especially as children are in the moment and, most of the time, don’t understand the importance of having to be at a certain place at a certain time. If you try and connect with your child before directing them it will help to give your child a smoother 'out the door' transition.
Children are very sensitive to the adult in the room’s feelings and emotions so if you are stressed, they will be stressed, if you are calm and happy they will generally be as well.
Remember, there are little moments in the morning you can take the time to connect. Slowly and gently get your little one dressed and hug them when they have completed the task of getting dressed. Slowly and gently place them in their car seat and give them a kiss and look them in their eyes when you have finished buckling them up, and smile.
Not every morning is going to be smooth and calm, you and your little one are not perfect. The most important thing is to ensure that just before you leave your little one for the day you tell them you love them and give them a big hug. It will set you both up for a good start to the day.
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