Written by Doctor G

Expect to Actually Enjoy Mornings with Kids

Dr. G, with the back to school season in full swing, Rice Krispies wants to know your suggestions for making mornings simple and stress free for the entire family?

Kellogg’s Rice Krispies (state not provided)

Well, RK, thanks for asking! I’ve written and created video about things we can do the night before to make mornings go better, and last spring a mom wanted to know how to help her ADHD tween get up and out with huge battles. So now let’s talk about the morning itself, and how to make it enjoyable!

Some of you (like Snap™, Crackle™ and Pop™!) are probably morning people. That is really nice for you! For the rest of us normal humans, mornings can be a struggle even before adding kids into the mix.  Here are several different ways to actually leave the house with everyone on their way and a smile on your face.

  1. Morning Savings Time. Set the clocks in your bedrooms a few minutes ahead. Not a specific, easily subtracted time (like 10 minutes) but a few, random number of minutes, ahead to give everyone a tiny bit of leeway in the morning for that lost shoe or one more hug.
  2. Plan some you time. Take some amount of time in the morning for your own agenda before your kids’ wake-up time. Once they get up, my kids assume that we are all focused on the same thing – their needs! Taking a little time for yourself will give you a slightly more peaceful outlook.
  3. Use the power of music. Most people are affected by music. What we hear changes can cause “happy” chemicals to rise in the brain, raise the heart rate a little, and even put a smile on our faces! Find tunes your kids enjoy and play them – from a radio alarm clock, in the kitchen, wherever you want an upbeat mood.
  4. Put a whiteboard in your kitchen. The biggest cause of stress at my breakfast table is the overflow of information at the wrong time! This seems to be when my kids remember projects, assignments, field trip forms, the extra thing coach said to bring to practice, all kinds of things are knocked loose in their heads during this 12 minutes of quality time. So put up a white board, and every time one of your kids (or you) remembers something urgent – write it down on a list entitled “Things to do tonight”. This reminds your kids that very few things will be “fixed” in the morning, so they need to keep working on planning ahead!
  5. End on an up note. Whatever the morning has brought you, say something completely positive as you say goodbye to your kids. Avoid the “but” statements – “I love you but you really have to…” or advice “remember to think during your test!” and pay attention to your tone of voice. Be sincere, make eye contact, keep it short. For those kids who are too… whatever… for sappy words, try “I like you!” or even “Go Steelers!” Or whatever sports team your kiddo loves.

We cannot control what our kids do or say or feel in the mornings. All we can do is control what we say and do as parents and learn to enjoy mornings ourselves!


One more note (also known as a disclaimer): When parents and educators write in with questions, I give suggestions and we talk and there is no money that changes hands (though a tasteful diamond necklace would absolutely be appreciated   😉    ). It turns out that, when a corporation sends in a question, they also send a check! So thanks to the folks at Kellogg’s for this question, and a little capital to keep the lights on here at AskDoctorG.com.  And as a bonus, I want to let you know that, if you are raising a Rice Krispies lover, they are showing lots of love for pictures on their Facebook page!


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