Lunches need to be made, the laundry is strewn all over the living room, there's a glob of peanut butter in Mom's hair, and somewhere the phone is ringing. Sound familiar? Make things easier with a few simple tips to help your family focus on daily routines. Even those with lil ones can get the tot on track by helping to ease the morning rush , which makes everyone's day run so much smoother. Here are a few ideas that just might change the way your family deals with the daily grind.
Source: Flickr user Philippe Put 
Map It Out
Create an easy-to-read calendar for the whole family to use as reference when wondering what chores need to be done. Once it's been accomplished, have a colorful marker handy to mark things off. Make sure to leave time for fun activities as well as budget for things not getting done on time. When you've got a bit of extra time in the family's schedule, use it for a fun family outing or adventure.
Make sure to schedule times for kids to be kids, including appropriate slotted times for video games, chatting on the phone, or hanging out with friends. But stick to it — by having everyone involved in mapping out the week, the whole family understands expectations.
Source: Flickr user Yandle 
Wake Up 30 Minutes Early
Yes, sleep is a very precious thing, but getting a jump on the day before the rest of the family gives you a chance to have a breather. Take advantage of the extra alone time to take a shower, exercise, or get a jump on a bit of work. Prerna, from The Mom Writes, finds waking up a half hour earlier than the family  gives her a head start on chores and work, making morning routines so much easier.
Source: Flickr user Alan Cleaver 
Eat a Big Breakfast as a Family
Prebake breakfast goodies, such as muffins or quiche, so the whole family can load up on healthy foods first thing in the morning. Starting the day by sitting down with a hearty family meal keeps everyone focused and gives the family a moment to quickly chat about the day, making sure everyone's activities and plans are clearly defined.
Source: Flickr user followtheinstructions 
Set a Timer
Take advantage of your kitchen timer to keep everyone on task. Use it to time getting ready in the morning or the bedtime routine. Kids can be in charge of setting the timer, which keeps them involved. Set times as a family for other activities such as phone calls or taking turns with a special toy to help stick to the daily routine without getting off task.
Source: Flickr user tanakawho 
Turn Off the TV After School
Instead of turning on and zoning out after school, start an afternoon routine of heading outdoors for a bit of fresh air. Homework can be tackled while enjoying the great outdoors, or spend some time kicking a ball around. If your kids are involved in after-school activities, give them a moment to clean up after they've walked in the door and before dinner, but stick to keeping the TV off so no one is distracted. Create an organized drop-off area for books, bags, coats, and shoes so go-to items are ready the next day.
Source: Flickr user Sebastiaan ter Burg 
Get Organized About Dinner
Stick to the same time each night for a family dinner. Eating a family dinner encourages healthy eating habits and builds a stronger family bond. Don't stress if you're eating a homemade meal each night; pick a night just for take-out favorites, prep meals early in the week and have leftovers stashed in the freezer, invite kids into the kitchen to take part with the cooking duties, or pick one night a week for a fun dinner out. Just stick to the same time, and before you know it, your dinner routine will be a breeze.
Source: Flickr user Jinx! 
Make a Bedtime Routine and Stick to It!
Start bedtime an hour earlier than the actual hit-the-hay time to keep everyone on track. Along with sticking to bedtimes, start prepping for the next day with routines that help the family focus on a good start. Pick out clothing for the next day, sign all permission slips, and have backpacks ready to go.
Source: Flickr user mollypop