Do your mornings start out rushed and frazzled? Does the stress build to the point where you end up yelling at your kids to get them OUT THE DOOR!

Believe me, I hear you.

Some days by the time 8:30 a.m. rolls around and I have finally deposited my 6 kids onto the school bus, I feel almost as if I have run a marathon. Put into practice these tips to make the morning rush much calmer and happier for all.

As They Say on Airplanes, "Put Your Own Mask on First"

A sure-fire way to amp up the stress level is to try to multitask while you are helping your kids get ready for school. So this means that you need to take care of yourself first… BEFORE it is time to help them. For me, that means setting the alarm for 5:15 a.m. (and making sure that I stop slamming down the snooze button by 5:30 a.m.). That gives me enough time to shower, get dressed, dry my hair, put on makeup, and sneak a check at my email and blog before I need to wake the first child at 6:15 a.m.

Get Them Up Early Enough

Pick an absolute-out-of-bed time for the kids that gives them enough time for them to get dressed, eat a healthy breakfast, brush teeth, comb hair, don cold weather gear, and get to the bus stop at least 5 minutes before the bus is due to arrive. And then add a 5-10 minute cushion to allow for things that go awry - like when your son spills his milk down his shirt and has to change clothes. It also allows a little time for the inevitable "find the missing left shoe" treasure hunt game.

Pick Out Clothes the Night Before

I found some inexpensive canvas bins at the dollar store. These are placed on the closet floor in each child's bedroom. In that bin, I have piled up the week's worth of outfits. I do this each Sunday night. For my daughters (who each brandish an opinion), they help me with the clothing selection process… but since it is all done on Sunday, we need to only engage in the clothing battle once a week. (Yes!)

Once the kids get up, they know where to find their clothes, and they can get dressed on their own. No asking me what they should wear, no coming downstairs with strange shirt and pant combinations of questionable cleanliness. Easy and done.

Have Backpacks (Nearly) Ready to Go

Ideally, all backpacks should be packed up and ready to go the night before and set by the front door before bed. In reality, that system doesn't completely work for us. My older children often finish up homework at their desks in their room in the evening while I am putting the younger ones to bed. Or someone will want to review their spelling words one last time over breakfast. Not to mention, on any given day, I usually have several lunches to pack for those that have turned their noses up at the school hot lunch menu.

So at the very least, there should be one designated area in your home where everything that needs to go to school should reside (at our house, that's known as the kitchen counter). Then, in the morning, while I am finishing up making lunches, I can easily gather up the stray homework assignment, library book, etc. and help my children get it all packed up in plenty of time to head for the bus stop.

Remember, They Are Still Kids, and Kids WILL Be Silly

It can be so frustrating when you are trying to herd the crew through the morning routine, and all they want to do is to act like goofballs and belt out the dialogue from last night's iCarly episode. And that's when it is so easy for your exasperation at their silliness to send you over the edge — and for you to start yelling at all of them to "Sit down, hurry up, and EAT YOUR BREAKFAST!!!" And there you are again, yelling in the morning.

It's far better to remind yourself that there WILL be morning silliness, and build in a little extra time for it than to be fighting a losing battle — against them and the clock!

How are your mornings going this school year?