Tips for getting the kids bundled up and out the door in the morning - fast

The Baltimore Sun

Getting kids ready in the morning is often a struggle during the school year, but it's especially difficult this time of year - when the kids (not to mention parents) would rather stay in their warm pajamas. All those hats, gloves and scarves have to be collected and put on, adding to the morning rush.

Today I'm passing on some advice from the Wondertime blog's expert advisory board, made up of family experts, who had some tips for taming morning madness:

* Make getting ready fun, if you can, by singing songs for each stage of the process. Or turn getting ready into a fun "race" that the kids can win. Have a pack of toys or books in the car to give the kids an incentive to make it out there and play on the way.

* Help each step along with a chart that reminds children of each thing they must accomplish (brushing teeth, packing backpacks, etc.) before they leave.

* Dial down the stress, including your own. The experts say that if adults seem rushed, kids will get the idea that that's the normal way of getting ready to go somewhere, and they'll naturally resist it.

* Stay focused. On the other hand, you (the adult) should make sure everyone does get out the door on time. Don't let kids dawdle, or they'll think they can do it every day.

Here's a tip that has worked for me recently: Let the kids come downstairs for breakfast in their pajamas and dress there. It lets them feel cozy longer, encourages them to eat more for breakfast, and - most importantly - gets them out of their rooms earlier than if they were dressing first.

You can learn more at wondertime.go.com.

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