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Managing Morning Madness

by Elizabeth Pantley, Author of Kid Cooperation and Perfect Parenting

Are your mornings rushed, chaotic and disorganized? Then it’s time to get control and make morning a good start to a wonderful day! When your morning activities run smoothly, and you’re out the door on time it can make your whole day feel better. To create a peaceful morning routine, follow these steps:

Start your morning — at night!
A real key to smoothing out your morning is to prepare as much as you can the night before. This means choosing the day’s clothing, packing lunches, gathering homework, signing permission slips and setting the table for breakfast.

Post a calendar
Buy the biggest wall calendar you can find and hang it in a central location. Write down events and appointments for everyone. Use different color marking pens to code items for easy reading. (As an example: ball practice in red, carpool in green, doctors/dentists in purple) Keep the calendar up to date and you’ll be more organized!

Create a drop box
Have a labeled box for each family member by the door. Use this to store shoes, keys, backpacks, coats and anything else that goes out the door with you in the morning. Plastic tubs or decorated crates make great drop boxes!

Use a morning list
Sit down and analyze a typical morning. Make a list of everything that needs to be done. Create a poster-sized list of the standard morning activities listed in order to be done:

If you have a child who gets easily distracted and ignores the morning chart – don’t give up! Just make a small mini- size chart, laminate it, put it on a chain and let your child wear it as his “morning necklace”! Your part is to make a few gentle reminders, “How are you doing on your chart this morning?”

Check out sleep time
If your child has trouble getting up in the morning and sticking to his schedule take a look at what time he or she goes to bed. Without adequate sleep a child won’t be able to follow a morning routine successfully.

Fix problems with a family meeting
If problems persist take the time to sit down with your children and talk about it. Let everyone have a turn talking, and then work to arrive at solutions that will benefit everyone.

Get up fifteen minutes earlier
You’d be amazed at the difference fifteen minutes can make to your morning, it can mean a peaceful pace instead of a rushed frenzy. Try it!

Praise successes
Remember, your words of praise will encourage your children to continue to meet their goals!

Copyright Elizabeth Pantley. (McGraw-Hill, 2003)

About the author:
Elizabeth Pantley is the author of several books, including
Gentle Baby Care : No-cry, No-fuss, No-worry — Essential Tips for Raising Your Baby, The No-Cry Sleep Solution: Gentle Ways to Help Your Baby Sleep Through the Night, Kid Cooperation (with an introduction by William Sears, MD), Perfect Parenting, as well as her latest The No-Cry Sleep Solution for Toddlers and Preschoolers and is also president of Better Beginnings, Inc. She is a popular speaker on family issues, and her newsletter, Parent Tips, is seen in schools nationwide. She appears as a regular radio show guest, and has been quoted in Parents, Parenting, Redbook, Good Housekeeping, American Baby, Working Mother, and Woman’s Day magazines. Visit Elizabeth’s web site

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