With everything that needs to be done at home and then the stuff that needs to be gathered for the day out, it's a struggle to get out the door on time even if you only have yourself to take care of. With kids, the problem is drastically multiplied and getting out the door in the morning can quickly turn into a stomach-churning, bags-flying nightmare.
In addition to strategies like having backpacks and—if we can swing it—lunches ready to go the night before, we have one simple rule in my house that quells the frenetic morning energy:
We have our kids put on their shoes before they eat breakfast.
Why the "Shoes Before Breakfast" Rule Works
In addition to getting their backpacks, water bottles, and lunch boxes by the door before they sit down for breakfast, having the kids get their shoes on eliminates one other thing that has to be gathered (read: frantically searched for) before actually heading outside.
This takes the stress-level down during breakfast and makes it more pleasant. By having shoes on and knowing that all the things that also need to make it into the van are ready to go, I don't have to breathe down anyone's neck to eat fast so they can have enough time for last-minute searches for misplaced items. The clock tells us when it's time to clear the plates and walk out and we can do it without rushing.
Despite being a die-hard shoes-off-in-the-house family, our practice of having the kids put on their shoes before breakfast has given our mornings such a surprising amount of peace and calm that the habit is here to stay.