by Beth Arky

During the school year, a cry is heard from parents across the land: Getting kids out the door Monday through Friday is a killer.

What makes school mornings so hard? “They’re kind of like a perfect storm,” says David Anderson, PhD, senior director of the ADHD and Disruptive Behavior Disorders Center at the Child Mind Institute.

“You have a number of things that have to get done,” he explains, “and there’s also a time limit.” Add to this the fact that parents sometimes feel their kids don’t appreciate the ticking clock while they’re trying to get everyone to school and work and you’ve got a pressure cooker that can, at its worst, lead to yelling, tears, and forgotten lunches.

Dr. Anderson says one colleague calls times like school mornings—along with homework, transitioning from dinner and shower time to bedtime, and then actually getting kids to sleep—”frequent flyer situations,” when stress levels regularly reach their peak. He says mornings are “definitely tough for most families we talk to,” whether the child has a psychiatric diagnosis or not.

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