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How To Get Your Kids To School Without Yelling. Yes, It’s Possible.

By Kelcey Kintner

getting ready for school without yelling

This is how I imagine myself on school day mornings…

I shepherd all my children into the car. They are dressed. Teeth and hair are brushed. They have eaten something nutritious that may even include “whole grains.” Backpacks are brimming with completed homework. We are so ahead of schedule, that I can drive at a leisurely pace as we all sing along happily to One Direction.

But unfortunately this is more the reality…

“GET IN THE CAR. RIGHT NOW. DID YOU BRUSH YOUR TEETH? I ONLY ASKED YOU 14 TIMES. COME ON. WHERE ARE YOUR BACKPACKS? WHY ARE YOU CRYING? THERE IS NO CRYING WHEN WE ARE TRYING TO GET TO SCHOOL. WE ARE SO LATE. SITTING ON THE HOOD IS NOT THE SAME AS BEING IN THE CAR. WHY IS NO ONE LISTENING TO ME?!! LET’S GO!!!”

I was yelling way too much.  So I asked some moms (okay, begged) for their best tips on getting their kids out the door to school, without losing it. And you’ll be happy to know that they all admitted to losing it sometimes but they had fabulous ideas on making morning go more smoothly.

Prepare as much as possible the night before.
I recently noticed something. When my husband is out of town, things go much more smoothly in the morning. Why? Because I prepare. The night before, I make the lunches, put out coats and shoes, line up backpacks by the door and it all makes for a much less stressful morning.

Shower before your kids get up.
That means waking up before they do which can be painful if you decided to watch The Jimmy Kimmel show before you turned off the light but it’s worth it to propel yourself out of bed before the chaos and jump in the shower. Plus, I look so much cuter when I have time to put on a little eye concealer and lip gloss.

Stay off your smart phone.
Yes, I know you thought of a really funny tweet in the shower but once you start tweeting, emailing and texting that hilarious video of your husband snoring, you are losing valuable morning minutes.  There’s a reason they call social media a time suck.

Kids must get dressed before going downstairs for breakfast. 
Any kid who does not come down properly dressed will be sent right back upstairs.  (Note: a t-shirt, tights and bare feet is not an acceptable outfit.) It can also help if your children pick out their clothes the night before to avoid a chorus of, “I have nothing to wear!!”

Make a chart for the kids to check off as they complete their morning routines.
For example, get dressed, put clothes in the hamper, brush teeth, put on socks and shoes, tell your mother how awesome she is, stuff like that.

Remember that you aren’t running a diner.
Try to streamline breakfast a bit. Today is cereal. Tomorrow is pancakes. It takes way too much time to make individual meals. My point is – if your kid wants an egg white omelet with extra cheese, tomatoes and mushrooms, she is going to have to wait until the weekend.

Load up the car 10 minutes before you really need to leave
This allows time for the… I forgot my backpack. I forgot my favorite key chain, that absolutely must come to school. I have to go the bathroom (although that’s mostly me).

Rewards
If your child is ready by a certain time, he or she gets a reward. This could be 10 minutes to work on an art project, play with his/her iPod or read a book. Whatever will motivate them.

So, doesn’t that all sound easy? But I promise you– even trying one or a few of these tips, can make for a more relaxed morning which your whole family deserves. And yes, you will still occasionally yell. But forgive yourself and try again.

Now, we want to hear from you. What works for your family in the mornings? Spill it. Also, would love for you to experiment with one or some of these suggestions and report back to us.

Kelcey Kintner
About the Author

Kelcey Kintner

Kelcey Kintner, an award winning journalist and freelance writer, is a fashion critic for US Weekly, created the humor blog 

Kelcey Kintner, an award winning journalist and freelance writer, is a fashion critic for US Weekly, created the humor blog The Mama Bird Diaries and writes for the Huffington Post. You can follow her @mamabirddiaries or on Facebook. She’s still trying to fit 5 kids on a Vespa. 

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autumn
Guest
autumn

When I was 8, I wanted my ears pierced in the WORST way and I was horrible about getting to breakfast on time.  So my parents struck a deal with me, I had to be ready and sitting in my chair before the 7 AM news started on the radio for a whole month.  Miss one day and the month started over.  Took me 3 months, but I did it.  And my mom was tough, nose blowing when I had a cold wasn’t an excuse (at day 27!) and I had to start over.  

Chris
Guest
Chris

I used to do a lot of yelling and telling my daughter to hurry up, brush your teeth, brush your hair, get dressed, etc but what I found was that it just frustrated her and made her slow down to snail speed in an act of defiance. So now I sit back and let her do it on her own. She knows what time we have to leave. Funny how she manages to get ready in time without me yelling, we have yet to be late for school. Oh, and my boys, who are older, do it all on their… Read more »

Jen @ And Two More Makes FIVE
Guest

My stepdaughter is 12. Going on 15. She is always late, which makes me late to work. One morning after calling for her 20 million times, I just got into my car and left. My husband is a stay-at-home dad…he took her to school…but, surprisingly, she FLEW into the car the next morning. On time.

Kristin
Guest
Kristin

I have resorted to bribery.  If my daughter is dressed, having gone to the bathroom and her bed is made by 7:30 – she gets a quarter.  (This works best if we pick out clothes the night before). And I set my alarm on my phone to go off 4 minutes before we have to leave – a signal that shoes and coats should be put on NOW (works for me also).

Aisling
Guest
Aisling

I think a good habit to get into as well is not to do everything for them. My step-brother is 17 and he is always, ALWAYS late. Like he’ll decide to get out of bed 5 mins before my dad has to leave and then start looking for his ipod and shoes etc. My dad goes out in the car and sits with it running while he gets ready. If he’s late for school and gets detention my dad lets him be late. He went away to college this year and since my step-mom is always doing things for him… Read more »

Jenelle Little
Guest

My four-year-old daughter is the SLOWEST child on earth. Mornings were miserable until we started doing a couple of things: 1) Mondays and Wednesdays are pants/shorts (which she hates), the other days are dresses/skirts. No exceptions. 2) She wears her clothes to bed the night before, except for shoes and jacket. 3) We take breakfast with us and she eats it at school. Her teachers are very understanding – they know how slow she eats. She’s the last one done at lunch every day.
She’s still not speedy in the mornings, but it makes me lose my mind a little less.

Betsy
Guest

I am a mother of a 7 year old, and 4 year old. Mornings can change from time to time. Some are slightly peaceful, and some are well, down right boxing matches to get them ready. (well, maybe not literally boxing). My oldest is the worst because he does not enjoy being woken up, at all! He is so grumpy, and then becomes lazy and doesnt want to do anything. He never repeatedly puts things where they belong so they are ready and he knows where it is…which leads to him stomping around angry becasue he cant find his shoes,… Read more »

Isabel Kallman
Admin

Hi Betsy, the reward doesn’t have to be money or a gift. It can be a privilege. Like 5 or 10 extra minutes of game or tv before bed. Every kid has a different privilege that matters to him/her. I’m sure you know what that is.

Good luck!

Betsy
Guest

Thanks Isabel!

Denisse
Guest
Denisse

Well firstable you wouldn’t feel as rushed..and telling the kids they are late..if you actually wake up early. If you know
they would take that long..and there are lots if things to do before leaving..then u need to wake up even earlier.

Denisse
Guest
Denisse

It is actually very simple. I have 2 kids 5 and 3 and i never rush at all in the mornings..i even take a shower and have my coffee.