Family Breakfast

Few things can derail a day more quickly than a stressful morning. It can be hard to recover one's good spirits when the first part of the day is a frenzied rush mired in chaos.

Julie Morgenstern, an organizing and productivity consultant and New York Times best-selling author, coaches families on how to better manage their morning routines. Too often parents rush out the door only to wonder if backpacks are filled, shoes are matching or the day's schedule is known by all.

A hurried morning atmosphere can become routine if time isn't taken to quell the chaos. These tips can make mornings less hectic for all involved.

· Establish a place for everything. Know where belongings are at all times. That means established spaces for frequently used items (backpacks, shoes, briefcases, etc.) and consistency in regard to returning those items to their respective places each day. Then it's just a matter of grab-and-go in the mornings.

· Do more the evening before. If your's is a family that strives on eking out as much beauty rest as possible and doesn't want to set the alarm an hour or so early, then you must be diligent at night. Make and pack lunches, set aside paperwork for the office, lay out clothing, pack sports equipment bags, and do anything else to make mornings less hectic.

· Eliminate distractions. Certain things can lead to distractions, which can make it hard to get things done in the morning. Establish rules that there will be no electronic devices, such as televisions or tablets, used in the morning.

· Assign jobs. Dole out morning tasks depending on ability and age. Someone may be in charge of popping waffles in the toaster oven, while another may be responsible for letting the dog out in the yard. Delegating can spread out the work so one person is not overwhelmed.

· Set a bathroom schedule. Mornings can be challenging when multiple people are competing for bathroom space, especially when everyone needs to be out the door at the same time. Create a chart with assigned times and set a strict time limit. Parents can shower in the evening to save more time.

With this advice in hand, many families can enjoy more relaxing mornings.