I love the summer holidays, I love the sunshine, the lazy days, the light nights and no school run! If you have children of school age then you doubtless have a Monday to Friday routine that is the same every day - well, at least it's supposed to be! School clothes on, brush hair, clean teeth, grab school bag, coat and shoes on, and off we go... or not.
Anyone who doesn't have children would think it quite simple to keep to a routine that happens five days out of seven. After all, getting a routine going from an early age based around feeding is one of the first things parents learn. Routines for older children help to instil personal responsibility and prepare them for higher education and work. Yet so many parents find that, somehow, each and every morning there is some new drama that seems specifically designed to slow you down and make everyone late. (insert : I haven't finished my breakfast, can't find my shoes, where is the hairbrush, have you brushed your teeth, etc.....)
So, if you're having problems getting the morning routine to run smoothly and without complaints, yelling and screaming on all sides, then you might want to try a simple reward-based system where good behaviour and sticking to the routine earns privileges in the form of time allowed for entertainments in the evening. Perhaps the most obvious one is TV time, but it could be computer game time, tablet time, mobile phone time - and, as all of these are things that you may well want to limit the use of anyway, it's a good way to kill two birds with one stone.
I know that there are some that might consider this blackmail or bribery, but this depends whether or not you consider something like TV time a right that should be allowed no matter how your kids behave. And you could always make the reward things that you approve of and want to encourage - story time, reading together time, games together time, and so on. The time earned by good behaviour could also be saved up for use at the weekend.
The system is very simple. Just make a check list of all those little tasks that have to be done each morning: getting dressed; combing/brushing hair; getting down to breakfast on time; cleaning teeth and washing face; and so on. Each is to be completed without complaint or drama, and the reward for completing each task is a few minutes of whatever leisure activity you decide. You can even add bonus time for completing all tasks without the need for being told, or told more than once.
If time after school is also stressful, with homework not getting done and bags not getting packed for school in the morning, dinner not getting eaten, bedrooms not getting tidied and so on, then you can use the same system.
There may well be resistance at first, with kids bound to see less time for entertainment as something that's being taken away from them. However, if you make it clear that everyone starts with NO time, then not earning any time is not really a punishment.
So, if your school run is hell on earth and you're fed up of barking orders morning and night, then why not try out a reward-based system for those little things that need to get done every day at the right time?
For more help and advice, there are some great resources here : http://www.sunny-d.co.uk/tips/