Details for FAMILY FOCUS COVER 5

Manage
hectic school

mornings
If a typical school morning sees your family rushing around and out the door with
nary a moment to spare, only to be left
feeling like you ran a marathon by 9 am,
a new approach to your routine might be
necessary.
Mornings, especially in households in
which parents who work outside of the
home and have one or two kids requiring
drop-off at their respective schools, can
often be hectic. Starting off the morning feeling harried and stressed can carry
over into the mood of the day, affecting
productivity as a result.
According to Dr. David Anderson, PhD,
senior director of the ADHD and Disruptive Behavior Disorders Center at the
Child Mind Institute, busy mornings can
be the most stressful moments of the day.
Homework hour and getting prepared for
bed are other typically stressful times of
the day for families.
If less stressful mornings are a goal for
your family, try these strategies.
Start the night before
Doing as much preparatory work the evening before can make quite a difference in
taming hectic mornings. Things that can
be done in advance include checking and
stocking backpacks, signing paperwork,
making lunches, setting out clothing,

showering,
and having breakfast foods ready to go.
Establish a ‘launch pad’
Ann Dolin, a Virginia-based education
specialist, suggests having a launch pad,
or a place where all school-related items
are prepped and stored. It can be a basket,
box or another container big enough to
contain school items. Children can drop and pick up
the items as needed.
Make the routine the boss
Positive Parenting Solutions founder Amy McCready says families can
implement a “when-then”
routine that sets the tone
for the morning. “When
everyone is dressed, hair
combed, breakfast eaten,
and school supplies packed,
then you can watch 10
minutes of an educational
cartoon.” This puts the
routine in control rather
than making the parents the
bad guys.
Make kids responsible
Too often parents add
more stress to their plates

by showing up at school with forgotten
lunch boxes or band instruments. Instead,
parents can stop rescuing their children
and help train them to be more responsible — an essential trait.
Chart wake-up times
It may seem like micromanaging, but

scheduling wake-up and bathroom times
can help everyone know where they
should be and when they should be there.
It also helps avoid bottleneck situations in
the bathroom or kitchen.
Keep morning madness to a minimum
with some simple strategies.

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