Morning Tips to Get Kids Out the Door


Winter in New England means we need to be ready for any and all weather. The LOAD of items that have to go to school with my children each morning seems endless! No matter what season it is, I simply cannot get my kids out the door fast enough! In order to avoid screaming like a lunatic as we rush to the bus I have made a list of tips to get kids out the door with everything they need.

Nonverbal Tips to Get Kids Out the Door

A few months ago I wrote How I Use Sticky Notes to Creatively Discipline My Children. My friends still laugh at the notes in our bathroom. I am a pediatric occupational therapist who works in schools and in a private practice. Not all children respond to verbal instructions, and we as adults need to adapt to their learning styles to help them be successful. Another mode of learning is visual, through the use of pictures and visual supports, like sticky notes or checklists, to help kiddos execute routine tasks.

Morning Checklist

In order to avoid being unprepared in the morning, we sat down and brainstormed as a family to create a morning checklist. I asked the question “What do you need to be ready for school in the morning?” My children knew the answer and all the steps to get there it was just a matter of getting organized. We then wrote them all down together. I then searched Google Images, Clip Art and other free sources on the web for images to use for our checklist. I have one who reads, and one who doesn’t, but they basically need the same list, so I combined them. Pictures for my kindergartener and written words for my third grader. I added a column to one side for when we start this and they need to “check” a box. I will laminate our morning checklist and add an erasable marker when we first start using it. Hang it in a common area, at their eye level, before they go out the door. For us, that’s the back of the front door.


Can your child pack a backpack?

 Packing a backpack can be a true physical puzzle for some children. They sometimes struggle to pack practically. Some kids need clear instructions on how to pack their things. I find packing with the largest item closest to their body is the best way to do it. Its best to practice at a time when things aren’t rushed to get out the door. Sometimes I find a photograph (another visual cue!) helps. We then start with laying out all of their things, largest to smallest, and then pack the bag, back to front before zipping it. In the winter I add a reusable (lightweight) grocery bag for boots and snow pants. If you need backpack packing tips as a parent/caregiver, feel free to read here
tips to get kids out the door

Do you have any tips or tricks to help the morning routine go more smoothly?


  1. Sometimes having Alexa play a song or setting a timer helps too! If we need to be out the door in 9 minutes, I’ll say “see if you can get your shoes on and pick your mask out by the end of these songs”


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