Make Mornings Easier

For most families, the most hectic time of day is when the alarm clock goes off. Getting the kids out of bed, dressed, fed and ready for school can be a daily battle. Here are a few tips to help make mornings easier on everybody.

Boy on his way to school

1Prepare.

Patricia Lalonde of More Time Moms often deals with parents who are struggling to beat the clock. She tells parents to avoid conflict by keeping things simple: "Think about the things that cause upset in the household for kids and find a solution to avoid them. If your daughter gets upset in the morning and must spend time figuring out what to wear, have her lay out her clothes at night as part of her bedtime routine. If getting dressed is not the problem, leave it as part of the morning routine."

Adjusting sleep schedules for school >>

2establish a Routine.

If parents rush around to get ready, the kids will likely rush, too. Set a good example for effective time management -- for the entire day, not just morning.

Try a few time management tricks to keep your family on track. For example, stagger wake-up times for siblings. Delegating bathroom time slots helps alleviate confusion and fighting.

Setting ground rules and sticking by them helps alleviate the chaos. For example, make it a rule to keep the television off until everybody is ready.

Teaching kids to take charge of morning routine >>

3clock it.

Put clocks in the bathrooms, kitchen and bedrooms to help kids be more aware of the time. If necessary, set the clocks a few minutes ahead to encourage them to get out the door on time.

10 tips for getting kids out the door >>

4set Consequences.

If a child is having a hard time focusing on the task at hand, try letting him learn from his mistakes instead of breaking the morning rhythm. "By following a routine every morning, everyone in the family knows what to expect. There are natural consequences to being late -- for example, missing breakfast or not having homework in the bag when it is time to go.

Parents should stick to the departure time and let the kids live the natural consequences of stalling or procrastinating. It is tough parenting, but the kids will learn quickly when the teacher asks about homework or their stomach is growling. A little debriefing after a natural consequence will set the stage for the next day, "says Lalonde.

Let your child feel the consequences. >>

Reward your child for making progress. Positive reinforcement can help give your child confidence in her ability to navigate her morning routine and to meet deadlines.

More on breaking your child's bad habits >>

More morning tips for moms

Make life easier on school mornings
7 Ways to motivate kids in the morning
Five 10-minute hairstyles for busy mornings


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