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Many people would be embarrassed to have a hidden camera catch what goes on in their home every morning. Perhaps this sounds familiar: you, the parent, run into your child’s bedroom each morning and beckon him to wake up. After a series of pleas on your part, he finally drags himself out of bed. Meanwhile, your daughter, who wakes up a bit easier, can’t decide what to have for breakfast, and just realized that she still had homework to finish from last night. To top it off, it is raining and you can’t find an umbrella anywhere, and your daughter does not like any of the clean shirts in her closet.

Enough to rip your hair out? A similar scene is replayed in many households every morning. Just a little preplanning, though, will make your mornings run much smoother:

- Insist that your child lay out his clothes before he goes to bed each night. If a shirt or pair of pants needs to be ironed, this also should be done the night before. For younger children, clear the next day’s outfit with them before they go to sleep.

- Take breakfast orders the night before. If your child is planning to have cereal, put out the bowl and spoon, or have your child set the table. This will save at least five valuable morning minutes.

- If your child is not a breakfast eater, have him set out a small snack or breakfast bar to eat in the car or on the bus on the way to school. No child should be completely skipping breakfast on a school day.

- Have your child place his backpack and anything he needs for the next day right by the front door of the house. If he does his homework right before he goes to sleep at night, have him drop everything in the area by the door before he goes to sleep. In this way, he’ll not forget anything in the morning.

- Have your child make his lunch the night before school. His snacks can be put into his lunchbox, which should be left open on the kitchen counter to be filled first thing in the morning with the already-made sandwich and drink from the refrigerator.

It may sound as though nights will be forever-filled with chores for the next day. Following these tips will end up taking an extra twenty minutes in the evening, and you’ll appreciate the smooth mornings and on-time arrivals at school ...with no arguments about what shirt your daughter will be wearing for the day!