If getting your family out the door has started to feel like a timed treasure hunt ("Mom, where's my math workbook?" "Has anyone seen my recorder?"), these breakfast place mats will go a long way toward restoring morning sanity.
For each, start with a 12- by 16-inch piece of poster board. We liked the morning dash theme, so on ours we drew a home on the left side and a school on the right.
On the home, make a morning to-do list (for prereaders, consider using magazine photos). On the school, make a checklist of items your child might need on any given day -- lunch money, sneakers for P. E., and the like. In the middle, where the cereal bowl will go, draw your dashing youngster (for added realism, affix a cutout photo of her face).
Cover the place mats with clear Con-Tact paper or have a copy shop laminate them.
Affix a small piece of stick-on Velcro to the mat and another to a grease pencil, which we found works quite well as an erasable marker (just rub it off the mat with a moist paper towel).
At breakfast, check off what's needed for the dash out the door.