Mother yellingIf your children get themselves ready for school effortlessly, there is no reason to change what you and they are doing now.  However, if you find your-self nagging, scolding, and feeling exasperated every morning, it’s time for a change, and you’ll find this routine effective and a great relief for the family.


Step 1:    Announce to your children one at a time the guidelines for the new beginning. From this day forth they will be responsible for getting themselves ready for school. Your job will be to await them at the breakfast table for a pleasant morning chat.

Anit-nag MorningStep 2:    Night‑before preparations will include the laying out of their clothes and getting their book bags ready. An evening checklist will permit their preparation without your help. They should set the alarm early enough to allow plenty of morning time. They will feel just as tired at 7 a.m. as they will at 6:30, but the earlier start will prevent their rush.

Step 3:    Children should wake themselves up, wash, dress, and pick up their room. A morning checklist can help them to remember each task. Breakfast comes only when they are ready for school. Absolutely no nagging!

Step 4:    You can wait at the breakfast table. Be nowhere around them prior to your meal together. Then, enjoy a pleasant family breakfast and conversation about the day ahead!

Step 5: (Optional) If the children are ready early and enjoy TV, they can watch until it's time to  leave. 


Question:   What happens if they don't dress in time for breakfast?

Answer:    No breakfast. (That will only happen two or three times for children who like to eat.)

Question:  What happens if my children don't like to eat breakfast?

Answer:    Fifteen minutes of TV after breakfast, when they're ready for school, will probably be effective.

Question:  What happens if they don't get up?

Answer:    They miss school and stay in their room all day (that will happen no more than once), or you drive them to school and they pay you taxi fare out of their allowance, or they ride their bikes or walk. They deal with the school consequence of being late. Don't write them notes to excuse them.

Question:  What happens if they don't have enough time in the morning?

Answer:  They go to bed 30 minutes earlier and set the alarm 30 minutes earlier until they find the right amount of time necessary for independent mornings.

Question: Does the routine work?

Answer:  Absolutely with elementary-age and middle school children.  They hate to miss school.  Sometimes with high school students.

 *Adapted from Parent Pointers, Learning Leads Q-Cards by Sylvia Rimm (1990, Apple Publishing Co.  Available at 800-795-7466.) Click here to order cards

©2010 by Sylvia B. Rimm. All rights reserved. This publication, or parts thereof, may not be reproduced in any form without written permission of the author.