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."
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.
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.
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.
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