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Getting through the before-school battle

Last Updated Sep 10, 2018 at 6:15 am PDT

(iStock Photo)

Sleepy kids, homework not done, syrup on the cat -- try to remember the big picture on those hectic mornings

Try turning on music to change the mood or take a timeout for yourself

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – Parents, how are you dealing with the mornings since school came back in session? If they usually end with a yelling match before sending the kids out the door, you’re not alone.

“School mornings can be really stressful. There’s often not a lot of time, there’s a lot of things to get done and, before you know it, everyone is yelling at each other, grouchy, fighting and sometimes it happens before you know it,” says Kim Shiffman, editor in chief at Today’s Parent.

“But the good news is, you can turn that around,” she tells NEWS 1130.

There are the usual tips, like a good night’s sleep and a healthy breakfast. But in real life — where your kids are sleepy and slow, the homework isn’t done, there’s syrup on the cat, and you’re about to lose it — Shiffman says you have to have a bunch of weapons in your arsenal.

“Some of them are very silly and fun and others are a little more serious.”

Try turning on some music to change the mood.

“That could be something slow and relaxing. It could be an upbeat pop song that everyone loves,” she says. “An impromptu lipsync or dance party — that will get people smiling. You will have to set a time limit because you still have to get out the door on schedule, but that can help.”

WATCH: Back to school distractions


You can also try a do-over.

“When things are going wrong, let’s just rewind time. Let’s just go back to the beginning of the morning and start all over. That gives you a chance to make different decisions and it is also just kind of cute and funny. You can’t use it every day but the kids will roll with it because they are so creative and imaginative naturally.”

Shiffman also suggests noticing and mentioning good behaviour. “Say ‘Thanks so much for turning off the iPad when I asked you to’… Let your kids know you love them and they are valued. It sounds a little cheesy but to kids it can really counteract any of the shouting that happened that morning.”

And if you are freaking out and find yourself at the end of your rope, you can take a timeout for yourself.

“Just let your kids know you need a second. Excuse yourself and go into the washroom or your bedroom. Whether it’s a few sips of water or five minutes of lying on your bed doing some deep breathing, just find a way to regain control. Your kids will forgive you and you can sort of reset the morning.”

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Or look at the big picture: When you’re caught up in a frustrating moment, stop and ask yourself if you’ll remember this in five years.

“Will it matter to me? Is this a really truly big deal? If the answer is no, try to just accept that, yes, you might be late… and your son has not finished his homework. Just let that go and say that it is not going to matter in the big picture.”

Shiffman says taking the pressure off can deflate a high-pressure situation.