Make a chart Help you and your children to remember what they need to do each morning by making a chart showing each day. List everything from getting dressed and teeth-brushing to the things they need for school. For younger children, you could draw pictures. Get your children used to checking what they need for the following day the night before.
Reward them You can use your chart as a star chart and reward stars for each task they complete; or for just getting to school on time. A whole week of stars could mean a special treat at the weekend.
Be prepared The less you have to do in the morning, the better. So lay out clothes, put bags and things needed for school near the door, prepare pack lunches (keep in the fridge) and fill out any forms the night before.
Remember differences Some children take longer to eat breakfast or get dressed. Factor this into your morning plan by getting some children up earlier than others – having fewer children about can also lessen the general feeling of chaos.
Stick to the same routine each day Do everything at the same time and in the same order every day. Then everybody knows what should be happening when, and you won’t have to be constantly shouting out orders.
Ban television and computers Controversial this may sound, but it can be frustrating to hand over some clothes and watch your child put one leg into his trousers before finding minutes later that he is still sitting with trousers half-on, all other attempts at dressing forgotten as he gawps at the screen. At the very least, don’t allow any gawping at screens until clothes are on, breakfast is eaten and teeth and hair are brushed.
Only do what’s really important The morning is not a good time to suddenly start on an unnecessary chore. You’re struggling to cope with what you do normally, why make things harder?
Make time for yourself If your children need to be up at 8am, wake up at 7.30, so you can get your act together first. Wash, dress, eat, enjoy a nice cup of coffee. The less stressed you are, the calmer the morning will be.