The average American mother has a bazillion things to do every morning, and only two hands — and limited time — to get it all done. Finding some tricks and tactics to make the morning go smoothly can help ensure you accomplish everything, squeeze in a satisfying breakfast, and get the family out the door on time.
Here are six smart ways to save time in the morning and get the day off to a good start:
1. Work ahead — Anything you can do the night before is one less thing you have to do in the morning. Generally, moms have more time at night after the kids are in bed, so shave minutes off your morning tasks by doing basic things — like choosing outfits, organizing backpacks and athletic bags, and even pre-packing non-perishables in lunch bags — the night before.
2. Know what’s coming — Use smartphone apps to check the weather forecast and traffic reports so you can be prepared. A quick look at the next day’s forecast before going to bed can help you know how to dress everyone, and setting your phone to receive real-time driving alerts can let you know if you need to leave the house a little earlier to beat the traffic.
3. Choose a speedy, wholesome and satisfying breakfast — You may not have time for a hearty feast, but skipping breakfast altogether is a bad idea. You need that boost of energy and satisfaction in the morning to help get the day started right. Look for wholesome options that are easy to eat on the go.
4. Build organizational habits — Hunting for car keys, your purse, running shoes, or your kids’ backpacks can add critical minutes to your morning schedule. Designate spots in your house for important morning items — such as a hook next to the door for your car keys — and return those items to those spots each time you’re done using them.
5. De-stress with some stretching — It may be difficult to fit in a run or workout every morning, but you can still savor the benefits of some mild physical activity. Stretches can relax your mind and loosen muscles, and you can do them virtually anywhere. Lift yourself onto your tip toes and rock back on your heels to stretch calf muscles while you’re standing at the counter or waiting for your kids to get ready. Do some gentle head rolls to ease neck strain while you’re sitting in the car at a stoplight or waiting in traffic.
6. Keep kids moving with music — Children may not feel motivated by a traditional timer, or by you verbally counting down the minutes for them. Instead, try making a playlist of their favorite songs that lasts exactly as long as they have to get ready in the morning. Help them learn that by the end of the first song, teeth must be brushed. When the third song is over, everyone should have backpacks and their favorite Quick Starts in hand and be ready to walk out the door.
From wholesome on-the-go breakfast snacking to easy stress-relievers and better organization, it’s possible to manage the hectic pace of every morning — and get your day started smoothly.