From the time you roll over to hit your alarm, you have exactly 44.5 minutes to get yourself dressed, get your tot dressed, feed Fido and Fluffy, pack your lunch, pack your S.O.’s lunch, pack your kiddo’s lunch, and… oh yeah, sit everyone down for breakfast. Once upon a time, your pre-work breakfast routine included grabbing a muffin and yogurt on your way out the door and a latte at Starbucks. Or maybe you went big and poured yourself a bowl of cereal and drank a juice at home. Now breakfast can kind of feel like a battlefield, but it doesn’t have to be that way. Cut the crunch and take back your time by checking out these tips for making pre-work/pre-daycare breakfast with a toddler almost easy.

A mother chops vegetables while her daughter watches

1. Make meals ahead. There’s no reason to wait until morning to get breakfast together. Instead of rushing around, take whatever time you have left at the end of the day to prep the next morning’s meal. When the alarms go off, all you need to do is pop your ready-made meals out of the fridge, heat them up (if needed), and feed your family.

2. Cook in bulk. If putting breakfast together the night before just isn’t for you, consider making many, many meals at once. A dozen hard boiled eggs are an easy option that you can cut apart, add to toast (with cheese too!), and make sandwiches out of. You can pre-prep a fruit salad to dole out every day. Breakfast burritos offer flexible ingredients and easy freezing and reheating. Get creative and bake, cook, or just buy in bulk. It will make your morning meal almost a no-brainer.

3. Sort out smoothies. Dish out fruits, veggies, and your other pre-work smoothie ingredients into plastic zipper baggies. Pop the bags into the freezer, then take them out one at a time for days of ready-made breakfast drinks.

4. Soak oats overnight. Your tot love-love-loves oatmeal, but making the non-instant version every morning takes too long. Instead of tearing open an instant pack of “just add water” oats, make the overnight version: Simply add oats, a little bit of milk, and your kiddo’s favorite fruit to a mason jar, then refrigerate. Their hearty cereal will be ready to quickly heat up in the morning.

A mother and child clink mugs at breakfast

5. Assign jobs. Breakfast isn’t all about the major food prep. Plates and utensils need to be set out, napkins distributed, butter taken out of the fridge. Don’t count out your toddler when it comes to morning meal chores. Give your kiddo their own special job, such as handing out napkins or putting toast on the table.

6. Build a buffet. This may sound like more work than it’s worth, but it doesn’t have to be. Instead of feeling like a short order cook, make a mini-buffet that gives everyone the choices they like. You don’t have to go overboard and set up something worthy of a Mother’s Day brunch: Provide a few simple options, such as toast, bacon, veggies, fruit, cereal, and eggs.

7. Keep them clean. You just spent 20 minutes wrangling your little one into an adorable outfit, only to watch them spill grape jelly down the front. You can win this battle before it starts by admitting there’s no practical way to keep your toddler clean during meal times. Avoid the issue altogether by waiting to bathe and dress them until after breakfast is over.

8. Use leftovers. Your kiddo absolutely adored last night’s veggies. Use the leftovers for an omelet or frittata that they’ll eagerly eat. This saves you time trying to figure out what your child actually wants to eat and makes prep time almost nonexistent.

9. Encourage a team effort. There’s no rule saying that breakfast is mom’s domain. Make your morning way easier by ensuring S.O. contributes, or ask friends and family who live nearby to make a habit of stopping by.

Tweet us your favorite easy toddler breakfast recipe @BritandCo!

(Photos via Getty)