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Get Out the Door Without A Meltdown

How to stop morning stress

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We’ve all been there: One of those miserable mornings when a.m. routines fall apart—you’re running late, your child won’t brush his teeth, or dawdles getting dressed. Check out these tips to ID the trouble spot and get your family back on track.
Get Out the Door Without A Meltdown

Battleground: His wardrobe

Battle Cry: I don’t want to wear that!

Win/Win Solution: End the standoff. It’s okay if your child prefers a different pair of pants, socks, shoes, or even if he wants to wear a superhero outfit. The struggle is just not worth it. Allow him to choose what he wants to wear. Even better, encourage him to select combos the night before so the decision is made ahead of time. Offer up two outfits and let him choose between the two. This gives kids an appropriate measure of control and boosts their decision-making powers.


Battleground: Breakfast table

Battle Cry:  Ew, not that again!

Win/Win Solution: Create an easy, tasty breakfast bar. Instead of serving up hot meals such as eggs, French toast, or even oatmeal, set out basket of nutritious grab-and-go grub to fuel little tummies. Add colorful fruit, yogurt, dry cereal, PB&J sandwiches, or string cheese and crackers.


Battleground: Anywhere—he’s dawdling

Battle Cry: I’m coming!

Win/Win Solution: Rethink your timing. While your first impulse is to counter his assertion with “Keep moving,” realize your child may have no sense of how fast one, five, or ten minutes passes. A bell or buzzer helps, but if you really want to know what’s slowing him down, observe him. He may not be ready to separate from you or a favorite possession. Also, pare down the morning routine—it could be overwhelming him. A slower pace may be just what’s needed to keep him moving along.


Battleground: Wherever there’s a television, tablet, phone, or computer—she’s distracted

Battle Cry: I’m busy!

Win/Win Solution: Unplug anything that gives your child access to games, tunes, or videos. Then serve breakfast, comb hair, and brush teeth as usual. If your child finishes up early, reward her: Let her spend a few minutes engaged in a favorite activity while you get yourself ready.

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