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If you're looking to streamline your morning routine, here are life-changing hacks you need to know.

The alarm clock rings, you rub your eyes and pop out of bed, knowing you have only one hour to get through the morning routine and get everyone out the door. But getting ready doesn't have to be hectic -- even for larger families. With some smart planning and a few perfect morning hacks, you'll all be frazzle-free and never late again:
 

  1. Get That Morning Meal Done for the Week
    There are many breakfast options you can cook ahead of time and reheat each morning. There are even some recipes you can get your kids to make themselves. (Check out Breakfast Ideas For Kids to Make Themselves). Pancakes, for example, can be cooked and frozen. Pop them in the toaster each morning, and you've got a breakfast everyone will love. If you prefer eggs, cook up some egg muffins using Cook Like a Cave Woman's recipe. You'll save hours each week in your morning routine.


     
  2. Pack Outfits Into "Outfit Burritos"
    Many parents suggest putting your kids' clothes out the night before to save time in the morning, but one mom has an even better hack. "Poppy and I make 'outfit burritos' (whole outfits rolled up, including socks/undies)," shares mom Emily B. from Puyallup, Washington. She adds, "She just grabs one she wants to wear each morning; zero time spent deciding!"

    Pack Outfits Into "Outfit Burritos"

     
  3. Post Your Routine
    If you have more than one child, helping them all stay on track can take a lot of time. But it doesn't have to. Get creative and use flashcards or a whiteboard to help your children know what they're supposed to do next. Use words they'll understand (or photos), and keep the board somewhere they can access it easily -- like the kitchen table.


     
  4. Be Smart About Your Kids' Hair
    There are many hairstyles that take less than five minutes to pull off and will look like you spent hours on them. Think braids and wash-and-go styles -- but if you're really short on time, a sleek ponytail always does the trick.

    For more inspiration, check out these 28 Adorable Little Girl Hairstyles.


     
  5. Organize Last-Minute Remedies
    Keep a shoe organizer near the front door, but instead of filling the pockets with shoes, use them to keep all those handy fixes close: baby wipes for fast face cleaning, fabric spray for wrinkles and fabric cleaning wipes for breakfast that falls onto your shirt. This way, when something goes awry, you won't have to run up the stairs to get something to fix it.


     
  6. Make a Timer Playlist
    No one likes having to shout "only five more minutes," but keeping to a schedule is the key to making it out the door on time. Setting a song playlist boosts everyone's energy way up, and also helps you all keep track of the time.


     
  7. Stop Matching the Socks
    While you can insist that shoes make their way to the designated shelf, socks aren't so easy to keep track of. Throw away those cute, patterned socks and buy socks all the same color. That way, you're not wasting time finding matching pairs because they will all work. Or just resign yourself to not matching.


     
  8. Let Your Children Mimic You
    If you've ever tried to get ready in the morning when you have a young one around, you know it can be frustrating -- to say the least. Instead of fighting it, let your kids mimic your get-ready routine. Set up a pretend makeup counter while you're doing your makeup, and let your child drink his milk out of a coffee cup so he can be like Mommy. It will cause less stress in the mornings, and you'll all be happier for it.


     
  9. Combine the Must-Do's to Save Time
    You can save time through multitasking and smart time management. When your child is eating her cereal, you can be brushing and styling her hair into one of those perfect updos. Also, seasoned moms know just how to use those after-school hours in a smart way. "I unpack [the kids'] lunches when they get home from school and I repack them right away," says Tanya K., mom of two boys from Orangeville, Ontario.


     
  10. Stop Dividing Their Attention
    Avoid putting on television shows or allowing your child to use other technology during the morning rush. In doing so, you'll avoid the arguments of your child begging for "just five more minutes," and his attention will be focused where it needs to be -- on getting ready and out the door on time.


     

For more parenting hacks, check out these 11 Organizing Hacks for Kids' Clutter.

Do you have any morning routine hacks? Tell us about them in the comments below!

Devan McGuinness is a Toronto-based freelance writer who specializes in parenting and lifestyle topics. Keep up to date with her on Twitter.

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