My Number One Piece of Advice for Getting Kids Out the Door on Time in the Morning

published Jan 11, 2022
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I have five kids, which does not make me any kind of expert. However, five kids does give me a lot of chances to learn and practice. In the end, I’m just a mom sharing what’s worked in our house, passing it along to you in case it works in yours. This tip I’m sharing with you has worked for all five of our kids since early on in their school-age days, and — I’m not exaggerating — it just might transform your mornings. 

As any parent who needs to be anywhere on time knows, getting kids ready to go out the door really is like herding cats. You get one where they’re supposed to be and the others slink away. No part is harder than that almost-there scramble to get socks and shoes on at the door. Between lost shoes, socks with seams that are intolerable to the texture-sensitive child, and everything involved in tying laces or securing velcro, the whole scene is one big tangle of toes and fingers that leaves any parent taking deep, calming breaths once they’re finally headed to the car. 

Imagine eliminating this rushed chaos from the getting-ready-for school equation for good. Here’s the super-simple secret: Have your kids put their shoes on before sitting down for breakfast. It’ll cross one thing off the to-do list and give them some extra motivation to dig into those chocolate-chip waffles. Increase your chances for success by finding shoes the night before and setting them near the kitchen table. Don’t forget socks! Grab a clean pair (or have the kids do it) and tuck them into the shoes. Of course, you’ll have to help younger children get their shoes on, but doing this without rushing means it’s a time of closeness rather than tension.

We’re a strict shoes-off household, but I make an exception for this practice because it has made such a difference in how our mornings go. It allows time for children to find their shoes without the down-to-the wire frantic factor. It means that getting out the door only involves putting on coats and backpacks. No bending down, no Cinderella’s stepsister moments trying to stuff pudgy feet into tiny shoes as part of a hectic lurch across the finish line. 

With the promise of breakfast to encourage your kids to focus on putting their shoes on, maybe even by themselves, you might even be able to enjoy a less hurried breakfast because you know that you won’t have to face the shoes-on stress. A more peaceful morning might be one easy get-ready routine adjustment away. Give it a try.