Between getting kids dressed, fed and out the door on time mornings can be hectic! What tips do you have for making morning routines easier?

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20  Answers

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I should place a disclaimer, lest people who know me accuse me of duplicity, that I am very often late. So, to answer this, I have to say this is what I know I ought to do, not always what I actually do.

OK. Glad to have got that off my chest...

First thing after getting up is having breakfast in our household. That way, the kids don't get their good clothes grubby. I will lay out clothes for the children, and my husband and I will just work on dressing each child as we are able to throughout the morning. Shoes often go missing around here, so if we don't put on shoes early, we will often be scrambling at the last moment to find a matching pair.

My nappy bag is normally packed, so I will just top it up with particular things I need for the outing we are about to embark on. I also pack an extra food bag full of snacks and beverages for while we are out. It has been a lifesaver many times!

The biggest factor is organisation and leaving yourself enough time, getting up earlier helps out big time in this area, which is hard with multiples because often you find yourself trying to get every last bit of sleep you can possibly score.

It's also good to have clear expectations on what everyone's individual roles are. My eldest son knows he needs to get dressed before he does anything else. My husband will clean the kitchen in the morning and feed the kids breakfast, I will normally have my shower and get ready during that time.

We've also found that we need to give ourselves a generous amount of time to allow for the amount of time it takes to unload the children from car seats, set up and pack strollers, etc. once we get to places.

I find that when I am organised, I'm less likely to yell and things aren't so hectic in the mornings. That makes things easier automatically! It's much nicer for the family to arrive somewhere feeling calm also.

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Because my quadruplets are only a year old, we haven't experienced the daily morning rush to get out to school and work. But we've certainly had our fair share of early morning doctor appointments and other events, which have all required the did-I-brush-my-hair-your-diaper-stinks-jeez-we're-already-30-minutes-late frantic dance.

The best thing I've found for aiding in fast-paced mornings is to be prepared. Setting things out the night before—even small things, like outfits for the babies—shaves off minutes and helps you go through the motions quickly. I select an outfit before I go to bed as well as shower and blow dry my hair or anything else I can do to lessen my list in the AM. And following the same sort of routine certainly helps, because you know what to expect, what you'll need (for the most part...extra outfits for the kiddos doesn't always make my list!) and how long it'll take you to get going.

If all else fails, caffeine is a great fallback.

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The first thing I do for a successful morning is to keep more than one alarm set. There is always a snooze button & if you are anything like me, one who doesn't fall asleep well at night (what mom does, with all the things running through our minds!?), having more than one alarm makes it more likely I'll get up on time. The mornings that run best for us are also ones where the kids sleep well past when I wake up. However, if they do get up while I'm still running around drying my hair, making breakfast, & getting clothes ready, having something easy for them to snack on (think dry cereal) and a little cartoon on t.v. is not something I'm ashamed about. Making sure things like backpacks & lunches are prepped the night before are also a must. The kids are good about knowing our routine. They have the same spot they get dressed every morning, they know they are expected to put their pjs in the hamper afterward & put shoes on following that. They know we brush teeth right before we walk out the door and that when I'm getting my coffee ready it's time for them to load up in the car. I think ultimately the biggest thing with making morning routines easier is making sure the kids know the routines, too. If they know what to expect everything runs easier.

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Have everything organized and ready to go the night before. We have the girls pick out their clothes and hang them in a designated spot.

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When we have to get out the door quickly in the morning, I start moving that direction the night before. We take two diaper bags, one for the girls and one for the boys, when we leave the house. We make sure they are stocked with plenty of diapers, wipes, toys, snacks, an extra set of clothes, and anything else we might need. We also set out outfits for the next day as well. I like to coordinate their clothes without matching them, so it's easier to do that when we aren't rushing around.

We've also found that if we can keep the breakfast prep and mess to a minimum, we are ready to face the day a little more quickly. We routinely have cereal and bananas, or nutrigrain bars for breakfast. Those are pretty easy to clean up and don't make clothes messy.

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My twins are still very young--under a year old. However, mornings can be the hardest time for me personally! Usually we take it nice and slow in the mornings. The twins each sleep in their own crib next to my bed but after my husband leaves for work, I usually pull one or both into the bed with me and we have cuddles and I nurse them. Sometimes I get lucky and they doze a little longer!

If there's something that needs to be done or somewhere I need to go, I try to wake up before the babies. This way I get myself dressed and fed, the diaper bag stocked, outfits picked out, and everything ready beforehand. Then when they wake up, I can just quickly feed and dress them and we're on our way out.

Luckily, most of my errands don't require me to be up so early in the morning, though! So another thing I make sure to do is try and schedule any necessary outings for after the twins' morning nap. This way I don't have to get up extra early, and I can still get the prep done while they are napping.

I am not a morning person! And I'm lucky that I can still get away with it. I know that once the babies get a bit older and more active, our routine will have to change. Thankfully, these changes develop over time and everyone can adjust.

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To help ensure our mornings run smoothly we try to get as much ready as we can the night before. On school days we have backpacks ready, clothes picked out and shoes lined up. Baths and showers the night before also ensure less has to be done when we wake. We have breakfast first and then the kids are old enough that they get themselves ready for the most part. This has helped cut down on the time it takes to get out the door. The more you can have them responsible for the more they begin to get done on their own. We even have them helping with buckling themselves in their car seats. Of course we still have a hectic morning every now an then, especially if someone wakes up in a grumpy mood. You still have to get out the door at the same time and you find a way to do it.

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Mornings are very busy for us between getting four babies changed, fed (bottles & solids) and dressed plus get the three older kids fed, dressed and hair done which is a must for this momma AND then we must get ourselves acceptable to be seen in public. If I know we have to be out of the house early I try and pack as much as I can the night before. I make sure I get up plenty early to have time to shower and get myself ready before the kids get up. I have also learned to wake my husband up right after I get out of the shower so that he is done getting ready around the same time so we can divide and conquer. If we have to be somewhere really early, say before 7am, I will pack a breakfast for the car such as dry cereal, string cheese or hard boiled eggs with the yolk removed. This saves us time and the kids love having a picnic in the car! A soon as we are ready to go we have the big kids get in the van so they are contained. I load the babies into their seats and Paul starts taking them out to the car. After all seven kids are in the car I do one more sweep of the house and grab pacifers and anything else I may have forgotten. I always plan an extra 30 minutes longer than what I think it should take to get everyone ready to go. If only one parent is home than the same stuff occurs but takes longer!! Planning ahead is key to getting everyone out of the house on time.

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Get as much done the night before as possible! Start the day by letting your kids know what is in store for them. "Today we are going to preschool!" Give narrow choices and have the kids help pick out clothes the night before. If my kiddos are having a hard time focusing on getting dressed, I remind them that they need to focus on getting dressed or mommy will have to help them. They love to do everything on their own at 4 years old, so this helps speed things along.

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When we are on a tight schedule, we will bring our four 2 1/2 year old toddlers a non-messy breakfast in bed. That way, we can get one or two dressed while the others are eating breakfast. They love the novelty of it and it makes life easier.

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I would like to "pretend" to be that super on top of it Mom, but I'm so not. I fly by the skin of my teeth most days. The saving grace for me on school mornings, getting 4 kids out the door is prep work. I spend my Sunday afternoon making huge batches of muffins, making huge batches of sandwiches, and cutting up a week's work of fruit and veggies. It takes my whole afternoon, but it helps a lot through the week.

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Organization! I may not look like an organized person, but I know where everything is, and we have a set routine for mornings that keeps everything running smoothly.

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At this point, the babies 910 months old) stay home while we go to work. But, that doesn't mean we don't have serious morning routines. I do a ton of prep work the night before, especially if we have babysitters coming the next morning. I lay out clothes for each baby, make sure the changing tables are fully stocked, prepare lunches for everyone (babies' bottles/ spoon feeds and sack lunches for parents). I also make sure everything needed for the day is easily accessible for babysitters. George and I also prepare everything for ourselves as well (e.g. choose and iron clothes, shower, load cars). To make our babysitters comfortable, we leave a basket of snacks out as well as a variety of k cups and soft drinks. Preparation, preparation, preparation!

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Oh, this is a tough quest that we all battle every single day! For us, we have a schedule that we *attempt* to stick to as closely as possible. We find that if there is time for personal devotional, breakfast, play, showers and the like with enough padding to allow for a bit of drama our mornings are much more manageable than without. You can read all about our thoughts on a schedule here (http://www.kellywestover.com/beware-the-evil-behind-the-smiling-eyes/) and see how our schedule plays out here (http://www.kellywestover.com/scheduling-with-a-toddler-twins/).

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I wake up an hour and a half before the girls do. Which means I wake up at 5am! Ugh! But it also means I can drink a cup of coffee, shower, and do blog stuff in peace and get the girls breakfast started all before they wake up. It's made getting ready so much calmer and I have more time to play with them in the morning because I've gotten so much done before they wake up.

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Well, I am very grateful and feel blessed to be able to stay at home with the trio! But the mornings we do have to get out the door...it's all hands on deck! Outfits have been laid out the night before, the diaper bag is packed and we have a routine. My husband knows what he is responsible for and jumps right in. I would encourage moms to talk through everything with hubbys - what works? What doesn't? What can wait till later and what needs to be done now? If you both have clear expectations of what should be done, things will go more smoothly. And if you have as much as possible ready the night before, the work is half done!

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Preparation! Coffee ready, bags packed, lunches, snacks or breakfast ready. Good communication with my husband and letting the girls know what's going on and what is expected of them always helps.
The biggest thing that slows me down is showering in the am but I can't wake up without one! Challenging the girls to get dressed or at least eat their breakfast while I am in the shower helps. they are 4 now and really good at helping. Luckily I don't work out of the house so my mornings are flexible.

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PREPARE the night before. Especially on days the trio goes to preschool, everything that can possibly get prepped the night before DOES. I set out their complete outfits on the bathroom counter (always in birth order, btw) from their underwear to their shoes. Next to the clothing are three toothbrushes WITH toothpaste on them, and finally hair accessories.

In the kitchen, their lunchboxes are set out on the counter with everything that won't spoil overnight, already in them. (I also pull up corners of tupperware so they'll be able to open them easier, cut notches in anything that's in a bag (fruit snacks, crackers, etc.) so it's easier for them to tear and I even cut off the bottom half of straw wrappers on juice boxes so that my kids can independently get into lunches with minimal help from adults.

Prepping lunches also means filling their water bottles with ice only, and putting them in the freezer overnight so that all that's left is adding water in the morning. Their backpacks are set out (again, in birth order...OCD much?) with extra clothes already packed and sweatshirts placed on top of each backpack, if the weather requires it.

Cereal boxes are set out on the counter, next to the bowls and spoons.

Finally, we learned early that it made a HUGE difference in everyone's overall demeanor and attitude if we woke them earlier than they actually need to be awake. Being able to wake up and leisurely watch a cartoon while having breakfast made the morning routine SO MUCH LESS HECTIC.

Consistency and efficiency is key!

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When we have someplace to be first thing in the morning we get right down to business! I avoid anything that could cause a temper tantrum or any other kind of delay. Breakfast is usually just waffles & bananas at the coffee table & I dress them while they eat. I alway dress last just in case anyone decides to wipe their mouth or spit their milk on me. I pack the diaper bag the night before & have sippy cups & snacks ready to go if needed.

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Well, due to their extreme prematurity, we still don't get out much, but we definitely have our routines. I listen to my kids' needs - that's super important. I try to stick to the schedule and routine as often as possible, but we do leave room for changes when necessary. If one is more cranky, I feed that one first. If one wakes before the other, that's our special quiet time with just the two of us. If one is happily playing, I'll pull the other aside to feed/clothe/etc.

When they're both going off the deep end, well, I just hold on for dear life! Because, sometimes, routines go out the window and we go into survival mode.

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