The secret to smooth morning routines is empowerment. When children and teens are given the opportunity to manage their time and affairs, parents can relax.
When allowed to make decisions and experience the consequences of say, sleeping late, forgetting lunch money, missing the bus, young people will make better decisions. The goal of parenting is to nurture independence so when children become teens they will make good decisions when 60 miles away, going 60 miles an hour.
Start by teaching morning self-management in kindergarten forward. It will eliminate a huge source of family conflict and nagging. The key is to coach them, give them the tools and then treat getting out the door as their problem, not yours.
Download my tip sheet on how to create a nag-free morning experience. Start with a family meeting and providing each child with an alarm clock. Be patient for three weeks and encourage them to meet your new expectations. Either say something encouraging or keep quiet. If necessary, go to another room!
Be willing to let them fail if they don’t plan properly — without breakfast because they didn’t allow enough time or without homework because they couldn’t find it. Parents can offer neutral statements such as, “The bus will be here in five minutes. Do you need help?” Give enough rope to burn but not enough to hang.
Remember — it’s their challenge to learn to manage getting up to an alarm clock and allowing time to get ready for school. Practice the double E — encouragement and expectation. Notice what they have done: “I see you packed your lunch last night. Good idea,” or “You have one shoe, do you know where the other shoe is?”
When parents change their behavior, children will respond. You can do it — have a plan and stick to it. It will transform your morning routines and give your children skills for life.