Our Morning Routine: 5 Things My Kids Do To Make Us Late

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Our morning routine before school should theoretically go like this: I get up and shower. I get kids up. The older ones shower if they didn’t do it the night before. They gets dressed, brush their teeth, fixes their hair. I do any hair braiding, etc. that has been requested.

The kids go downstairs and eat breakfast and pack their lunch while I dry my hair and get dressed. (Make up happens in the car between drop off times.) I come downstairs, let the dog out, check lunches, grab my lunch and something to eat in the car on the way to work. Then go over the check list of everything everyone needs to leave the house, and then we leave.

When it all works well, our morning routine is a thing of beauty. Everyone is calm and happy. We often celebrate in the car. We talk about great team work and what went right.

It doesn’t seem to matter how many morning routines, shortcuts, or years of practice we have had at leaving the house before school, we are constantly running late. I have three kids and I work full-time so mornings can be chaotic.

Let me be clear. I expect my kids to have an active roll in their morning routines. They are older and should no longer need me to remind them to eat breakfast and put socks on. At some point in the next few years they are going to need to be functional adults so the least I can do is foster some independence.

That being said, I do have posted check lists of morning routines. I do prep a lot of the lunch food to make it fast and easy to grab. I do send them to a school where they wear uniforms so clothes should be easy. I do give them enough time in the morning.

Yet without fail, one of the three will do some random thing to make us late.

Late for schoolMorning Routine Clothing Annoyance

As I previously mentioned, my kids wear uniforms. They put on the same style of pants and polo shirt every day. Somehow they never have any clothes to wear. They suddenly don’t like the pants they have worn all year. They don’t like the material of the eight shirts that are clean and folded. Their socks don’t fit right. They don’t like the color red. They can’t find a replacement item only by opening the dryer door.

No Food

“Did you eat breakfast? Is your lunch packed?”

They show me a bag of sprinkles and when questioned about how this is a lunch, they tell me there is no food in the house. I will point out all the food that is available for lunches.  They just stare at me. They don’t want that kind of food. They sometimes will actually unpack as I pack.

Without fail during our morning routine one of the other kids will decide they need to tell me something very important at that exact time.  It is never actually important but their need for attention clearly is.


I know what it is like when you want a specific pair of shoes to go with an outfit. I don’t know what it is like when you want a specific pair of shoes to go with the same outfit you wear everyday.

My children like to refuse to put on the matching pair of shoes two feet away from them in order to hold out for the shoes that are nowhere to be found. As you might have guessed from their inability to find pants, their shoe hunting skills aren’t any better. They each tend to just wander in circles in the living room or walk up and down the stairs, announcing that they can’t find anything!

That is the extent of their searching efforts. Then, they will usually start crying if I tell them they need to actually look for their shoes or put on the pair that is right next to them.

Bathroom Emergencies

We have three bathrooms and three kids so theoretically each child can use the bathroom at the same time. This doesn’t work when there are preferred bathrooms. The bathroom preferences change depending on which one is already occupied. Suddenly the bathroom nobody wanted to go in yesterday is in high demand today and we need to fight about it in the hall.

If things go well, there is a lot of downtime in the morning. But my kids never want to waste it doing lame things like pooping. Nope, that has to happen after we start getting in the car. Have you ever tried to get a kid to hurry it up when they have to go No. 2? What are your options really? Can you just drag them off the seat? I am really looking for advice on this one.

Charles Dickens Syndrome

This is my all time favorite. This is when I become one of the ghosts from A Christmas Carol. I am in my house, speaking to my children and it is like they can’t hear me or see me. I have become a ghost or hologram.

There is no pause in conversation or even a glance my way to acknowledge me. I have had to actually grab them and put my face in front of theirs to get their attention. They are always startled and don’t seem to understand my extreme behavior.

“You could just tell us it is time to go. You don’t have to be so dramatic.”

Seriously, this one makes me question my sanity.

By the time I drop the kids off I am worn out. I have just won some sort of battle with no real prize. I like to reward myself with drive-thru coffee. I don’t even feel guilty about it anymore. I just need to reset and start over with my coffee so I can be a pleasant person at work.

I know I am not alone in the morning battles.  What is your prize for winning?

For more parenting experiences from The Everyday Mom Life, click here.


  1. Oh yeah, my daughter LOVES to take her time in the morning. It’s frustrating. But I won’t let her be late. I tell her it’s rude to be late, so she’d better hurry the heck up. If she misses the bus, she’s walking her butt to school.

  2. Reading posts like this remind me of how fortunate I am to homeschool and work from home! It would drive me crazy, especially the sprinkles for lunch?!? LOL!!!

  3. My boys are good about getting out the door for the bus. I, on the other hand, hate waking up so I try to go out the door running at the same time but it does not always happen

  4. My kids always are late for the bustop. It doesn’t matter when I have them get ready–it never fails. They either need to fix their hair, get a coat, or find shoes. It is so maddening.

  5. I just embraced that we were always late. Yep, here we are, late because of course we are. It made it into a game when we would get ready and the kids remembered more things from the this is why we’re late list!

  6. Luckily I am hardly ever late. I make sure we are always up on time and get things ready ahead of time. There are those times when we are late, but that’s not often. I usually have everyone use the bathroom before going anywhere. That usually helps to not be late too.

  7. We have morning battles too. My son has such a hard time getting out of bed. We often threaten that he will have to eat in the car and that usually gets him out of bed!

  8. My son is a teenager and I still have to ask him if he brushed his teeth. I should know better and not ask as we are about to head out the door.

  9. These tips are definitely very useful! We are always in a hurry and forget always something. Organizing our morning this way will definitely help us!

  10. My kids used to be this way too, but they seem to have outgrown it as they’ve gotten older. I’m amazed at what they do on their own now. They wake up on their own, my son cooks eggs for himself and his sister, and they’re usually ready to go and waiting 10-15 minutes before we need to go. I dreamed about these days when they were younger and I’m so glad my dreams came true!

  11. My husband can totally be included in this. Half the time they all tell me they are waiting on me, when I’ve been the one getting them all out of the door. Drives me insane.

  12. Haha too funny! I still only have to worry about getting myself out of the door in the mornings but in the future I may have to worry about others slowing me down.

  13. I am so glad that I survived that phase. Looking back at those days, all I can say is that it was mayhem. Especially when you’ve got them all dressed and ready to leave, someone spills a glass of juice on his school uniform so you have to get them washed up and changed again.

  14. It is either shoes or socks… sometimes both for us! Their shoes have a home and they go there every day, but somehow they disappear when it is time to go somewhere!

  15. We homeschool, but last year we had a season where our two oldest were in a local private/Christian school. I could not believe all what all you mama’s go through every day, those morning routines can be a nightmare!

  16. Haha! Love this ! All so so true ! My son will change his outfit 3 times before even coming upstairs for breakfast. It drives me nuts !

  17. Even though we try to prepare food for the next day, it seems that we are always running late because of the breakfast, great tips

  18. My niece is like this. Suddenly she doesn’t like her uniform or breakfast. That makes her late for school and she knows it.

  19. Our kids do the same — more so with the shoes. I’ve been telling the kids to start putting their clothes aside the night before so we have one less thing to worry about.

  20. I love this!! I love all the different things you named that kids suddenly care about when there is no time left. Two days ago my daughter wouldn’t leave for school because her shirt had water on it. AARGH!


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