The early a.m. dash is no joke. From waking sleepy kiddos to getting out the door on time, you never know what loose parts might be thrown into your well-oiled routine. To keep stall outs—and freak outs—to a minimum, read on for hacks and ideas that’ll keep your morning as stress-free as possible.

familycommandcenter_cassiehisugarplum_morninghacks_redtricyclephoto: Hi Sugarplum!

Command Center
Want to know what’s up for the day before you walk out the door? Create a family command center or launch pad and everything everyone needs to know is always available. We love this version spotted over at Hi Sugarplum! Click here to see how mom Cassie made it happen.

morninglight_joest-pierre_morninghacks_redtricyclephoto: Joe St. Pierre via flickr

Rise and Shine
Even though you may be tempted to buy your own set of black-out curtains, consider leaving the shades open to let Mr. Sun help with the whole rise-and-shine thing. Even the smallest dose of light can help kickstart your day.

wakeupdanceplaylist_viviannguyen_flickr_morningroutine_redtricyclephoto: Vivian Nguyen via flickr

Pump Up the Volume
Create a playlist of upbeat, fun dance tunes and watch your sleepyheads nod to the beat in their sleep. It’s easier than dragging them out from under the blankets, again. Need a few ideas? Check out our ultimate dance playlist here.

morningdash_brushteeth_mishmish_flickr_morninghacks_redtricyclephoto: Mish Mish via flickr

Make a Morning Dash
Play up to your kids’ competitive side and make each morning a race: Set a timer to see who gets dressed first, race them to brush teeth, pack school bags, get into the car, etc. Offering rewards and incentives is up to you!

leftandright_gunnar-sigurdur-zoega-gudmundsson_flickr_morninghacks_redtricyclephoto: Gunnar Sigurður Zoega Guðmundsson via flickr

Stick It to ‘Em
You want to teach your kids to help themselves but sometimes (especially in the morning) it’s faster if you do the task yourself. Here’s a solution—add stickers that spell out a simple word or have an “L” and a “R” on them to your kids’ shoes so there’s no question about which foot goes where.

11001834_914474238572794_5028584831311925175_nphoto: Zip It Bedding

Zip It and Forget It
No muss and no fuss; with Zip It Bedding, your kid can literally make his bed in less than 30 seconds by zipping it neat. Bonus: This fancy (and functional) bed cover comes in queen sizes, too. Grab your own here. 

good_monring_chart22photo: Bar Rucci via Art Bar Blog

Step by Step
Brush teeth, comb hair, make bed, get dressed…there are a lot of steps to getting ready for school. Make your kiddos’ morning more manageable by hanging up photo reminders (images of them doing the a.m. steps). Find out how to make your own over at Art Bar Blog.

Kids-Closetphoto: The Posh Space

Clothes Call
On Sunday, let your kids help pick out their clothes for the week. Store the outfits (including socks and undies) in a closet organizer like this one from Ikea. Morning indecisiveness can take a hike!

phoneinbag_techstage_morninghacks_redtricyclephoto: TechStage via flickr

Make Mornings Tech Free
Avoid the zombie-like state of early morning tech sessions by simply avoiding all gear. We’re talking TV, tablets, and smartphones. Exceptions will be made for the morning playlist (See Pump Up the Volume above!).

gearalltogether_vilseskogen_flickr_morningroutine_redtricyclephoto: Vilseskogen via flickr

Weather Any Storm
Have a selection of weather gear (boots, umbrellas, scarves, ice scrapers, etc.) ready to go by the door or command center so when mother nature decides to change her approach you’ll be prepared.

What are your morning routine hacks? Share your ideas in the comments section below. 

—Ayren Jackson-Cannady & Gabby Cullen