Getting out the door in the morning

I sat in my car, fuming. I honked the horn. I yelled out the window, “If you don’t get in the car straight away, I’m going without you!” I don’t know what I would have done at my daughter’s piano lesson if I had arrived without her. Of course, it was an empty threat and my daughter knew it.

Racing the clock to get everyone out the door in the mornings is a major stress. You are squeezed between the two thoughts – “I cannot be late for work” and, “I cannot drop my child off at school half-naked – again.” Breathe deeply and remember one of the major mottos of parenting, “The time to deal with the problem is when it is not a problem.” This morning is going to be a shambles but, because of some of the things you are going to do tonight, tomorrow is going to be a lot better.

Can I suggest using a picture ‘to do’ list with your little kids from late toddler stage on. Say to your kids, “Mornings are so busy I want a chart to help us know what to next. I want you to help me.” You then go through all the things they have to do, and they arrange or pose for a picture of each step – brushing their teeth, doing their hair, pulling on shoes, make their bed, eating breakfast, whatever. Print them off and make up a chart and laminate it, then stick it up somewhere. In the morning they will love looking at the pictures of themselves and checking off each thing with a dry-erase pen. Honestly, these simple charts have revolutionised the mornings at some homes.

Making the photo chart is a great fun activity to do together – and fun is a lot better than grumping and yelling. Also, as you are doing each chore for the photos, you can make sure that your child really knows how to do the things they have to do.

So, sorry I wasn’t there to help you this morning, but as you manage to get these little parenting tools in place you will be amazed how much easier family life can become.

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John Cowan

Writer, speaker and broadcaster, John Cowan shares his insight and opinions about the latest in parenting and family news in New Zealand. Hear John speak on radio stations every week throughout the country and regularly on national TV.  Follow @JohnCowanNZ on Twitter

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