Even if you live in a house full of early birds, the chances of your morning running smoothly from wake up to out the door isn’t always guaranteed. However there are things you can do to make sure the wee hours don’t have to be a lesson in chaos. Scroll down for seven things every family that rocks the morning does (and why you should, too).

kid brushing teeth morning routinephoto: Matt Bauer via flickr

1. Wake up at the same time every day. Who isn’t tempted to hit the snooze button once (or twice)? The best morning people wake up at the same time every day so your internal body clock knows exactly when it’s time to rise and shine. Even if you love sleeping in on the weekends, your best chance for weekday morning success is rising at the same time every day.

2. Let the light shine in. Once the alarm goes off, open the window shades and welcome the morning sun. Our bodies wake faster in light rather than dark. Have your kiddos open their blinds or curtains as their first morning chore. If you’re awake before the sun isn’t quite ready to come up, hop out of bed and turn on the light.

3. Eat in the car. Seriously. Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. But we don’t always have time to get something nutritious in, especially if your kiddo is slow to rise or doesn’t have time to finish their breakfast before the bus comes. The solution? An on-the-go snack with lots of staying power.

4. Move it. Move it. We’re guessing you probably don’t have time for a full workout before breakfast. But getting the entire family moving in the morning is a great habit and way to wake up your kiddo’s minds and bodies. Put on an upbeat song and have a 5-minute dance party. Or strike up a few yoga poses and spend a few minutes stretching. Once your family starts moving, chances are mornings will be much less sluggish.

5. Have a posted morning routine and schedule. Kiddos (and adults) work best if they know what’s expected of them. Post a morning routine poster on the refrigerator, or hang a chore chart on the kitchen wall. Even if the routine contains simple steps like make your bed, brush teeth and wash your face, the act of checking the chart and crossing off the items help every family member know what’s expected of them and keeps the morning on track.

6. Make morning time electronics-free. We all know phones and televisions are distracting. Keeping the diversions to minimum will help everyone stay focused on the tasks at hand and keep the morning focused on getting ready and out the door. And yes, parents, we’re talking about you too! Put the phone away until the morning morning hours have come and gone.

7. Carve out five minutes for double checking bags and backpacks. Before your family members go their separate ways, set a timer for five minutes before departure and have everyone check their bag or backpack to make sure all the necessary items are packed away. Lunchbox and water bottle? Check. Homework folder? Check. Diaper bag is stocked with essentials? Check. Having a regularly scheduled five minutes for double-checking will help ease the “I forgot my lunch!” cries and also helps teach the kiddos some responsibility too.

8. Take advantage of the night before. If you really want to conquer your morning like a boss, do as much as you can before going to sleep. Have everyone set out their clothing choice for the next day. Have backpacks and lunches packed before bedtime. Homework is completed after school. And baths happen at night and not the morning.

—Leah R. Singer