Getting Out the Door
For most families, back-to-school means a new schedule complete with homework, meetings, practices and new activities. Remembering everything that has to be ready to go each day can turn your mornings into a mad dash.

It doesn’t have to be this way.

With a little organization, you really can make this the year your family commits to making every morning a smooth one. Experiment with these tips, adapted from At-A-Glance and Stacy M. DeBroff’s The Mom Book (The Free Press, 2002), to find out which ones work best with your bunch:

The Night Before

• Create a launching area. Whether it’s a table by the door, the kitchen counter, or the lumpy chair in the living room, have one designated place where your kids put the items they’ll need the next day. In the morning, just grab and go.

• Choose an outfit at night. Lay it out the night before – right down to the socks and accessories.

• Have the lunches ready, labeled, and in the fridge for everyone who takes one.

It may take a couple of weeks, but force yourself to follow this routine. The entire family will reap the benefits.

Family Calendar

• Invest in a master family calendar. Make sure there’s plenty of space to write appointments and daily reminders.

• Hang the calendar in a central location. Make sure everyone in the family uses it. TIP: Don’t answer questions about dates and times – send them to the calendar.

• Nothing is too minor to be written down. Tests, parties, big games, concerts, promised family time, days school is closed – everything.

• Make checking the calendar part of getting ready the night before. If the calendar says your son has a soccer game, then he’d better put his uniform in the launching area the night before.

• Color code the entries on the calendar. Make colors stand for certain activities or assign a color to each of your children. Your daughter can then ignore anything on the calendar that isn’t written in green.

So you’ve gotten the kids out the door.
But what about the rest of the day? If you need help getting everyone from point A to point B, don’t miss the expert tips in
How to Make for Smoother Transitions Throughout the Day.