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/ Source: TODAY
By Jessica Migala

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If you have kids, you know the morning rush all too well. You face different challenges depending on their ages, but I imagine it feels the same for any parent: crazy.

From the moment they wake up, they have demands: on breakfast, if they really have to go do school (yes), and why isn’t their favorite shirt clean (they wore it yesterday. What are you? A laundry machine?). There’s probably an argument about something thrown in there for good measure.

I have two kiddos, ages 1 and 3. The littlest goes to day care, the oldest to preschool, both full-time (and at the same place, thank goodness). It’s my goal to leave the house with them by 7:45. It’s a mad scramble. Made even harder by the threenager who is quite opinionated and emotional about every decision and the 15-month-old who is having a stage-5 clinger moment.

Over the years, I’ve noticed that there are some products that help me make it through the morning rush still alive and with a bit more sanity. Here’s what I need to make it work:

1. Hatch Baby Rest Sound Machine

You know that little kids can wake up at any time in the morning. They’re famous for wanting to rise with the sun (thanks summer!) or any time they detect movement in the house (it’s cool, I didn’t need five minutes to myself). This “okay-to-wake” smart clock is the only way I can get my three-year-old to stay in bed until the time I want him to get up. He gets more sleep, patiently waits for his blue light to turn on, then announces its illumination with gusto. You can set this clock to virtually any color (his bestie likes the purple setting, I hear), it’s also a sound machine, and you can control the settings from your smartphone.

Hatch Baby also just launched Hatch Baby Rest+, which has even more bells and whistles, like an audio baby monitor, functionality with Alexa, and a display clock that sounds even cooler than the original.

2. Foryee Cute Frog Potty Training Urinal

My boy hates the sound of flushing toilets (as I’ve learned, this is a common kid quirk), but he’ll happily take care of business in the morning by ambling up to this kid-size urinal. Best of all, he can do it himself (and dump out the contents into the toilet), increasing his independence — and relieving me of bathroom nagging duties. It’s also adorable to have hanging on the wall.

3. Boogie Wipes

If you have kiddos in day care like I do, you know about the “day care cold,” the year-round runny nose. Gross as it is, my babe often wakes up with a crusty, partially stuffy nose. Saline wipes get rid of the dried-on boogers and helps clear his nose better than tissues.

4. Kizingo Toddler Spoon

Both my kids love this spoon, and we have several in our house. But it’s really handy for my littlest, a budding toddler who is just starting to learn how to use one. This spoon is specially shaped for little hands, and allows them to pick it up, hold it, and feed themselves in a way that’s natural. Of course, the little guy is still at the "what’s a spoon?" stage, but he’s slowly learning, and I love how this gives him some independence when he eats yogurt or oatmeal for breakfast, allowing me to buzz around the kitchen and do my thing. It’s still a messy affair, so I keep lots of paper towels at the ready, of course.

5. Primary The Pocket Tee

The “what do I wear?” problem apparently exists for all ages. My 3-year-old loves dressing himself, which was fantastic until he started to refuse every shirt I bought for him. (He finds buttons offensive. He’s against prints for ethical reasons, I don’t know.) So, I bought him a ton of these plain pocket tees in a variety of bright colors and it makes getting dressed in the morning a snap. He’s happy to make a choice, and I’m happy that we’re not arguing over his clothes (and he looks good). Plus, if you buy a bunch, you get a bundle discount, which is pretty sweet.

6. Echo Dot

Do you know that your kids will ignore you but listen to a mysterious robotic voice or alarm coming from a speaker? The smart speaker works with Alexa, and on days when I can tell it’s going to be tough getting my 3-year-old out the door, I ask her to set an alarm for 7:40. When it goes off, he knows we have to put shoes on and head out the door.

7. "No Bad Kids: Toddler Discipline Without Shame," by Janet Lansbury

You can tell I ordered this when we were going through a rough patch — especially with the morning routine. And while this isn’t an immediate fix, it’s worth finding the time to read. Read it and you’ll feel better able to separate yourself from your toddler’s emotions, and not allow their tantrum or bad mood rub off on you. Because you don’t want to go to work with a post-toast meltdown hangover.

Finally: Paw Patrol. We can’t get through the morning without Ryder and his team of pups. That might be my biggest not-so-secret secret.

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