Simplify the Morning Routine

As a homeschooling family it isn’t often we need to be out the door early in the morning. This makes Sunday mornings quite a challenge for our family, with seven children going in seven different directions it is easy for patience to run short. Anything I can do to simplify our morning routine keeps the Happy family, happy on the way to church.

A few years ago I started doing two simple things. It started just on Sunday, but it has become our routine any time we need to leave the house early in the morning.

The night before we lay out all our clothes for the next day. From shoes to hair bows, everything is grouped together and set aside for the next morning. Clothing is approved by mom or dad and we make sure it all fits before crunch time. This saves us from mismatched socks, missing shoes, too short pants, and stained shirts the next morning.

I know many people already do this, so I am going to share with you my other secret to getting seven kids ready on time in the morning.

I let my kids sleep in their clothes.

There you go, for those of you who wonder how I do it all, that is my secret weapon. I know all my ironing readers (like my mom and mother-in-law) are cringing at this idea, but it really works! My boys wake up in the morning dressed for church. For those of you who are picturing my children in wrinkled clothes, that is not totally true. My boys usually wear knit shirts and they don’t wrinkle too much.

Getting ready the night before applies to lunches, book bags, and anything else you need to take with you the next day. For some reason getting ready the night before is always a time saver.

How about you, how do you simplify your morning routine?

This post is linked to Works for Me Wednesday.

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  1. I’d like to say I plan this well…but I would be lying! I may just throw the kids’ jammies away in the morning.

  2. I love that you save time. If the kids are comfortable, who cares?!

    I know grown adults who are on-call (yay healthcare) at night, and instead of staying up they do their hair/makeup/get dressed and lay very still on their backs to sleep. That way, when the pager goes off, they can get up, fluff a little, and get out the door ASAP.

  3. I don’t think this would work with my 12 year old daughter….but I would love it if she didn’t take foooeveeeer to get ready in the morning! Any idea’s for tweens?

  4. What a fabulous idea! I always wonder how you’re able to do it all…thanks for letting us in on your secret 😉 I think I may need to start doing this for those early mornings! That is the most stressful part of getting out of the house early is making sure the kiddos get dressed! Thank you!

  5. Oh, clever! Do your kids wear jeans? I wouldn’t be comfortable sleeping in jeans so I’m not sure if they’d be comfortable. We hang everything by outfit, with underwear attached (all socks are exactly the same, balled in a drawer, so there’s no search for the lost socks). That saves time, since everything always matches.

  6. I love laying out clothes the night before. I am only going on baby #3 and it has helped tremendously with just the two! I actually started doing it so that my husband could get the kids dressed without having to ask me what I wanted them to wear and if something matched. Laying them out gives me that extra bonus of him usually doing all the work 🙂
    I wouldn’t be able to let them sleep in their clothes quite yet though because they are still so young and someone would most likely wake up in a wet bed the night I did it!

  7. We do that too! ( I only have 5 kids)

  8. awesome! This is a great idea! I don’t know if I’m going to do this everyday, but by golly – some of the days!

  9. I love this post!! Sunday mornings are the worst for my family…we often end up running around like crazy people and it usually ends in an argument! We’ve been working on it in other ways, but having my son sleeping in his clothes would be a great fix! Thanks for sharing!

  10. I used to do this with my oldest child, dress her for the next day. She was a baby at the time and I worked outside the home daily so it was easier to have her dressed to leave when she got up. We lay out our clothes the night before every night but on Saturday night, we lay everything out from hair bows to shoes and accessories. I pack a bag the night before too. I do everything I can think of to do the night before. I’ve always done that, even as a teenager. (I used to sleep in my clothes then too, to grab more sleep in the mornings).

  11. When my husband enlisted in the Army and left for basic, our son was almost 4 1/2. I was teaching full-time and six months pregnant with #2. I bought six clear shoebox-sized rubbermaid containers (about $1 each at Wal-Mart). I printed the words for the days of the week and taped one to the end of each box, along with a dinosaur sticker (different sticker for each day). On the weekends, I loaded up each bucket with clothes for the day. I lined them up on a shoe-shelf in the floor of his closet so he could reach them. He was able to go pick out the right bucket each day and get dressed all by himself! This was especially helpful when I went back to work after my maternity leave (and hubby was still gone)!!!

  12. I have been known to do this, too. Now I don’t feel so bad. Thanks for letting us in on your secret.

  13. I’ve let mine sleep in my close, when we have to rise at 5am to travel somewhere. ; )

    I also lay my kids clothes out before a day that we have to be somewhere before 9am. It’s so hard getting five kids ready to leave the house. It makes my morning smoother knowing that I won’t have to hear “I can’t find any socks”.

    I also carry brushes in the car, because we always end of with a few that snuck out without brushing their hair!

    • I love this idea–never thought about it, but that sure happens to us once in a while! Now to work on those kids who forgot to brush their teeth–gum, anyone? LOL

  14. 🙂 🙂 Sorry, but I’m cringing, too!

  15. I do this OFTEN. My husband and I are school administrators and kids need to be dropped off by 6:30am. They are up at 5:30 but definitely not moving. It takes that whole time to get them to go to the bathroom and put their shoes and coats on. Sometimes I have even ran out the door handing them an ice cream cone on their way out. Dairy right?

  16. My boys have been doing that for a very long time. They say because it saves so much time, mommy! My only rule is that they are not allowed to sleep in church clothes on Saturday night bc of the wrinkle factor… although they wear knit shirts and nice jeans… hmmm… maybe I should rethink that silly part.

    I haven’t bought pj’s for them in a very long time. I kinda miss the first thing in the morning crazy haired, sleepy eyed, pajama look. *sigh* But less stuff always makes me happy!

  17. Jen Rodriguez says:

    For their birthday parties I buy cakes for our 5 children, for their real birthday if it falls on a different day then their party I make the cake…. the children and I always make birthday cakes for everyone else, dad, grandma, grandpa. They LOVE helping and I enjoy it too!

  18. Somebody's Mimi says:

    Actually you have opened my eyes to the simplier way of life… Golly is always wanting to sleep his clothes. So if it works for you share it with me!

  19. If they sleep in their clothes why do you have to lay them out? Or is the boys that sleep in their clothes and not the girls?

    I am cringing, too. I would have never thought to do such a thing! Maybe it’s because getting in your sleepers was an important signal for “bedtime”. BUT I say if it works…it’s a great idea!

    My kids are all in college now so I hope they are sleeping in SOMETHING…..!!!

  20. It’s about 50-50. Each family member gets to choose whether they want a store bought or home made cake. Some of us do a storebought one year and a home-made the next. With a spring birthday, I prefer anything made with fresh strawberries!!

  21. I’ve done this, and I get some crazy looks when I admit it 🙂 Now I can say I’m not the only one!

  22. I did this in high school . I’m not a morning person and it works awesome. All you have to do is grab a bite to eat, put your hair in a ponytail and brush your teeth and you are DONE! I guess I should have thought of this for our kids…. Sometimes I even slept in my shoes. I could go from bed to the car in 5 minutes 🙂

  23. Brilliant idea. I will try it out next time we get up at 4:00 a.m. to travel out of state!

  24. HA! That is hilarious. Both of my kids wake up before my husband or me and come out of their rooms dressed. Recently, my 3 year old has been having nightmares and I noticed once (even in the dark) that she was fully dressed at 2am. Sure enough, she’d been going to bed in her clothes to keep from having to do it in the morning. She was also sleeping on TOP of her covers so she didn’t have to make her bed. Efficient, lazy, or genius? I haven’t yet decided!

  25. My 7yo is a bear to keep focused and running on time in the morning. We lay her clothes out the night before – absolutely essential. We also make sure her homework is in her bag or at least nearby ready to be packed. Every minute in the morning is structured. If she had any “free time” she gets way too distracted. It’s better to wake her later and help her focus to get everything done: dress; brush teeth; eat; bundle up (definitely takes a minute or two) than it is to wake her earlier thinking that she’ll have more time to get things done. She just uses it to dawdle and daydream!

    I did use this technique with her older brother as well, who’s now 14. He’s very good with his morning routine and needs no hand-holding or reminding to stay on task.

    The downside is that when her little brother wakes up early and is in our business, it definitely sets us off-track! He has learned that mom can’t give him her time until his sister is out the door. This wouldn’t work so much, obviously, with a younger toddler or baby.

  26. i LOVE IT!!! with five, i just may try this. fabulous! we try to lay them out also, and our oldest two generally iron their have-to-be-ironed stuff… but for all the other stuff, this is the best idea ever!! (my mom-in-law would cringe too… 🙂 )

  27. My husband works Friday, Saturday and Sunday (12 hour night shifts). So, on Sunday morning I am on my own getting the kiddos ready while he tries to grab a quick nap before church. I try to make breakfast the night before, lay out our clothes, pack the diaper bag and have bibles and shoes by the front door. It takes a bit of time on Saturday night but its totally worth it not be stressed and late!!!!
    If I’m feeling super organized I might clean out the van on Saturday so we have a fresh organized van to ride in….

  28. I was one of 7 (in a 10 year time span) and we always managed to get to church and school on time without having to sleep in our clothes. We coddle our kids too much. My mother even managed to put three meals on the table or two meals and have our lunches packed – the school did not have a cafeteria. Of course we had to help with lunches and other chores as assigned.

  29. Seriously? What a great idea! I’ll bet your kids love that.

  30. So THAT’s how you get to church on time!

  31. I love that you let your kids sleep in their clothes, I did this when I was in 5th grade for about three days and then my mom told me I was not allowed to sleep in my clothing. I was always late to school I thought I finally figured it all out and she said no… so I kept being late to school “wrinkle free” lol not sure exactly what she was thinking. But I love that you do this!! Thanks for sharing

  32. I wish we (as adults) could sleep in our clothes too!

  33. Too funny! I guess I would resort to this if there were 7 in my house.

    Since there are only 3 of us (me, hubs, and the kid) we just wake up on Sunday like any other school/work day. This way everyone is ready for church. It isn’t popular with everyone, and sure we’d love to sleep in on the weekend. But it keeps us on time (important since hubs and I both volunteer at church).


  34. I like this idea. We are gearing up for a busy season at our family business. My dh seems to be able to get everything ready in the morning, but not me! I like having everything ready the night before – even if this means I need to get up a couple of times out of bed before truly retiring for the night to get everything together. I love the idea of sleeping in clothes (and so will my boys). Thanks Happy Housewife!

  35. Oh, wearing their clothes? That is too funny!

    I’m laughing at you but once I give it a try, I’ll join the ranks of those nodding their heads and laughing with you. I wouldn’ t have thought of it but why not?!?

  36. It would lose time for us – we have frequent bed-wetters in our house. Just setting out the clothes, bathing the night before, and having the diaper bag packed makes a big difference on its own. Now I just need to do it every day!

  37. I have a seven- and an eight-year-old daughter. On Sunday afternoons we pick out our five outfits for school for the week. The girls each have one of those sweater five-shelf canvas hangers in their closet. We look at the weather forecast on Sunday and pick out the outfits for the week–including socks. 🙂 For tweens…the rule we had to make on Week 2 would probably help you out. They get to chose the outfits they want as long as they’re appropriate, BUT if they start pieces to their outfits MOM gets to pick out their outfits next week. We had that problem maybe once or twice, but as soon was they were reminded of the rule….yikes! they changed back to the outfit they had already picked out.

    It makes our morning go so much smoother. We occasionally have an early morning, so I’ll have to remember to let them sleep in their clothes on those nights–they would love that!

  38. OMG! My kids do this all the time even though it does make me cringe! They got it in their heads to take a shower in the evening and then get fully dressed for school and go to bed. When I told them I didn’t approve of it, their reasoning was it is just easier. And I am a parent who will ‘pick my battles’ carefully and this isn’t one of them. So glad to know that they aren’t the only ones. lol

  39. My children also sleep in their clothes. It started when we were moving. We were going to be on the road for 7 days (I had a newborn – short drive days!) and we wanted the mornings to go quicker. So each night, everyone showered and got into their clean clothes for the next day. After that week they all loved it and still do it.

  40. I have also dressed my children – and myself – in the next day’s clothes the night before. My “rules” about doing this include: 1) We take baths before we put on our clothes, and pretty much go straight to bed after that; 2) We wear knits, synthetics, or otherwise durable clothes that don’t show wrinkles; 3) No uncomfortable clothing is worn to bed. But otherwise, who would be the wiser?

  41. while I agree that each family is different and what works for some may not work for others, it seems to me that this idea sounds a little bit lazy. I could see you doing it every once in awhile or especially when getting up early to travel, but every Sunday morning for church or anytime you have to get up early. Wouldn’t it be better to teach our children the responsibility of getting up in time to get everything done even if that means getting up an hour or two earlier than normal? I will admit I am not a morning person at all, but I don’t think that that is an excuse for me not to give my very best in the area of taking care of myself and being on time. Besides that, what most people wear, especially girls and women, would not be comfortable to sleep in. I hope anyone who reads this knows that I am NOT judging anyone who does this, I’m simply suggesting that this may not be the best thing to teach our children. It may be easier, but I just don’t know that it is better. I think it would be much better to teach our children self discipline in this area. The flesh may not want to get up early, but the flesh is not in charge, The Spirit is or should be. 🙂

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