Getting ready for school the night before

I thought that things would get "easier" and that I would have so much more time to get things accomplished, both for home and work once all the children where in school all day. I also thought that it would be easier to get them both out the door at the same time. I was wrong on both counts. So it's time to bring out my working outside the home tricks used with my older children to help save time and stress in the morning, one of which is getting ready for school the night before.

Begin with bath time. I know that a shower in the morning wakes me up, but if everyone in the household needs one in the morning it may be late afternoon before I can get mine. Showers and baths can take up valuable morning time, especially for busy parents who need their own time in the bathroom to get ready for work. Get those baths and showers out of the way the night before, no matter what the kids say.

Long hair takes a long time to dry. We have three daughters in our family, so you can only imagine what that means when it comes to drying, brushing and styling hair in the morning. Getting the children's hair washed and blown or air dry the night before can save so much time on styling in the morning. For girls with really long hair like my youngest, a quick braid helps to avoid tangles and knots saving me even more time in the mornings on their beauty routine and saves her some tears.

Pack it up perfectly. Pack up the backpack with papers and homework the night before. You can even include lunch money now so you aren't looking around and counting change in the morning. If you are packing lunch go ahead and pull it together the night before and add an ice pack last thing in the morning.

Beef up the breakfast. Since we will be getting so much done the night before I can "beef up" breakfast and offer them something quick and healthy. There are some nice recipes for slow cooker breakfast items from oatmeal to casseroles and breads. You can start these the night before and just serve them up. With the extra time in the morning I can also prepare a meal, which means they aren't so bored with cereal and other fast and easy breakfast ideas. Of course, they may get confused at seeing a real breakfast and think it is the weekend.

Shoes and more by the door. We use our former changing table to hold everything we need to get out the door. Mom's purse and keys, backpacks and shoes all are stored; well, almost neatly on each shelf. Now all we have to do is grab and go.

Sure, this is getting an early start on our day, but for a family like ours who apparently are not morning people except on weekends and holidays, it can make all the difference to our day. Who knows maybe we will even have time for some extra hugs and kisses, treats for the dog and walk out the door with a smile to start our day away.

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