Getting My Kids to School in One Piece: Your Morning May Fall Apart If…

Posted May 29, 2009 by

Your morning may fall apart if…

You don’t model what you are asking your children to do. Ouch.

The reasons my morning fell apart today included the fact that my alarm wasn’t set, I couldn’t find my shoes, had no milk in the house for coffee and drove my younger daughter to school in bare feet and my pajamas and had to sign her in because she was late. Ugh.

Theoretically I know all the right things to say and do to make mornings run smoothly and with the precision of a Swiss timepiece. Theoretically. The problem is the theory falls apart completely when I can’t apply the steps to my own life.

I know that setting clothes out the night before, packing backpacks, checking the weather and setting alarms all lead to sounds that mimic harp playing rather than harping as a new day starts, but more often than not we miss one or two of these key activities the night before and frenzy sets in.

Not good.

Now, this morning started out well enough…I woke up before my older daughter missed her school bus but only because her alarm went off. She continued to check the weather another three times on convinced that somehow a major tsunami might have developed over our rural town overnight.

Since I am the kind of pot-a-day coffee drinker who has some coffee with her milk, I was not happy to discover that all the milk was gone, so I was forced to drink my java black. I can’t function without it: I support a pot-a-day habit.

Then on to child number two, whose alarm also didn’t go off, although it was set. I will have to check into that…she isn’t the fastest moving child in the first place and couldn’t decide what to wear, and then realized that she needed to check a math problem from her previous night’s homework. Somehow that eluded both her exhausted mother and father the night before….then, do you think there was a single pencil anywhere that had both a sharp point and functioning eraser?

I got her to school precisely 45 seconds late and had to exit the car to sign her in. I was in bare feet and had stepped in things I shouldn’t have stepped in with no shoes prior to getting in the car and my jammies. I was wearing a shirt that says “Diva” on it…and had to sign her in.

The mortification of an un-showered, bedraggled barefoot mother who can’t practice what she preaches may have just been enough to ensure she isn’t late again any time soon…

Can you relate? What makes your morning fall apart and how do you plan ahead?


Kathy has four children, aged 9, 12, 24 and 26. Her second son was seduced by marijuana when he was 16. Kathy is now a published author of "Winning the Drug War at Home". She is also a childbirth educator and is writing a pregnancy and childbirth book. Kathy graduated from Brown University with a degree in Health and Society, and also has a BSN in Nursing.

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  1. JustCallMeMom (Edit) Report

    I have three boys, a 13 year old and 7 year old twins, who also seem to move at slow or stop. All three have ADD and the oldest has some ODD tendancies. My husband and I have tried everything known to man to motivate and get them out the door in the mornings. Everything you’ve read is true – it doesn’t start in the morning. Step one is getting everyone in bed on time – parents included. Kids who don’t get enough sleep are really, really hard to wake up in the morning and grumpy besides(most adults will get up but they’re grumpy all day). Then you need to prep everything the night before. Pack the lunches and make sure they all have their backpacks, homework, and anything else ready and sitting by the door. It does save time. Pick out the clothes the night before – for everyone – not just the kids. We set out everything we can for breakfast the night before – at the very least I set it out when I get up in the morning so it’s waiting for them when they come downstairs. It helps if you have a routine and stick to it every day. The morning routine has been the same since all three were little – get dressed, eat, comb your hair, brush your teeth, get out the door. We are trying to have them all put their own lunches in the backpacks in the morning – trying to get them involved in the responsibility as they get older. Now don’t believe for a minute that it always goes smoothly. Someone always doesn’t want to get up, spills something on their clothes and has to change, forgot to put their homework in the backpack the night before and can’t find it, picks a fight with one brother or the other, or wants to watch TV before they leave in the morning, and yes I don’t always keep my cool when these things happen but at least we have a plan. Having that and a routine helps everyone – especially Mom. I know I have to get up early if I want time to exercise before the fun begins, and I know what I need to have ready before I wake up the thundering herd. No, it’s not that easy, and no there is no sure fire answer. Just like raising kids – it’s a work in progress. It is nice to read the blogs and see what works and what doesn’t for others though. I’ve gotten a couple of good ideas for the dawdling – but that’s another story.

  2. JC (Edit) Report

    I have had many bad mornings, single mom to 5 & 8 yr olds, its been hard to change my (bad) habbits, but the results are soo much better when you do! Dealing with angry/ cranky kids (absent father,etc) and have found that when I am prepared, the morning is better. Yes, still have a hard time motivating myself, but it all starts with me, they react to how I am feeling and behaving. My 5 yr old would defy even God if given the chance, any moment he senses where he can pick a battle he will. The 8yr old, slower than molasis on a cold day, and very emotional these days, so any wrong tone, word or look leads down a path of tears, anger and me being realllly really late for work. I’m not perfect, but giving yourself a ‘game plan’ for the day ahead will save tons of time and headaches. The 5 mins picking out there clothes the night before saves me at least 10-15 agonizing ones in the morning, making sure backpacks are organized & ready to run out the door with saves by not foregtting anything when they get to school (and of course then blaming mom) Yes its no fun but who’s the adult – you are. My mornings still have arguements, dawdling and general grumpiness, but eliminate some things that are a set up for disaster, do it for yourself. (and them too) Keep listening to TT, it works, and is useful in all parts of your life

  3. sbsvdl (Edit) Report

    The problem is that I have to do all the pre-morning prep work. And then when the morning rolls around, I’m busting my back to get both myself and my daughter ready, while my husband only tends to himself. And when she starts to dawdle, it only seems to invite her mouthing off — as if I made her stand there and pet the cat for the past 10 minutes. HELP! What to do? I’ve tried preparing a “chore list” which spells out everything she has to do in the morning, but that only worked two or three times. Now what?

  4. Dale Sadler (Edit) Report

    One of my personal pet peeves is rushing to get ready. I purposefully wake up early in the morning so I can enjoy it. I have found that it sets the tone for the rest of my day. From a child’s perspective, rushing isn’t a good way to interact with a parent. My four year old doesn’t understand hurry. He has two speeds, slow and stop. Therefore, I must accommodate him to an extent and give him plenty of time to get ready as my main goal right now is for him to get ready himself. The lessons of being late and impatient come much later . . . hopefully not.



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