Look for that Cause!

Rachael & Ella


How can I get my child off to school on time without rushing and feeling stressed?

Regardless of what system you employ or how hard you try, you end up leaving late. All morning chores and rituals never seem to get done, and you’re just not ready.


Possible Solution: Change your wake-up time to one hour earlier and then relax and enjoy your morning.

Use any of your newfound extra time to catch up on anything that still needs to be done and then in a relaxed happy manner, sit with your child one-half hour earlier on your favorite sofa or chair and enjoy, enjoy, enjoy!

A new person?

Absolutely yes. Imagine when this kind of schedule kicks in and you both look forward to having that special time together before you have to go out the door. Just picture not rushing and the sheer joy of a relaxed morning routine. A one-hour ahead wake-up time, and you and your child will be as good as new. Very nice!


Refer to Pillar # 6 – Identify the cause of the problem, the real reason for your child’s mistaken behavior.

In this case, not enough time was allotted to getting things done without rushing or feeling stressed.


What is nice about all the pillars is that they guide you toward simple answers that could otherwise be hard to find.

  1. Set up for success.
  2. Make expectations clear.
  3. Use praise and encouragement appropriately.
  4. Make your child feel needed.
  5. Separate the behavior from the child.
  6. Identify the cause of the mistaken behavior.
  7. Listen and communicate.
  8. Be positive, warm and supportive.
  9. Be a person and not a god.
  10. Change the environment
  11. Use the sandwich method for supervision.
  12. Be a part of the solution.
  13. React with humor when appropriate.
  14. Touch.
  15. Miss a reward.


NOTE: There are 15 Pillars of Parenting. These were well-researched in the 1990’s and were fully explained in two different parenting books: Parent Involvement Begins at Birth and Constructive Parenting, both published by Allyn & Bacon. 


~ Dr. Sally



  1. Dr.Sally, getting a 5 year old out of the house has been a challenge. The concept of time is a new language, and a five-year-old wants to play most of the time and usually chooses to when it is time to get ready. Yes defining the problem is the first step. The problem was time and sequence of the morning. It was decided to prepare his clothes in the night. Once he was finished using the bathroom he would eat his breakfast and then get dressed. He was told that once he was finished with breakfast he would be able to play for 15 minutes. A reminder was given at the 5 minute mark and we began the count down. That has been working, and it has been a few weeks and we have been leaving on time.

    It was a challenge getting to kindergarten late because we needed to go to the office for a late pass. Plus children who are late had to announce it in class. This is a very unhealthy practice allowing the child to feel humiliated. It appears that many schools do not understand that transitioning a young child to a formal school process takes time .

  2. Hi Daseta,
    I am so glad you have improved your situation. It seems that both time and preparation were causes in your case, and luckily you were able to improve upon both. In looking at the “Pillars,” it seems that you used

    * Pillar #6 Identify the cause(s) of the mistaken behavior (time and preparations).

    and then employed

    * Pillar #1 Setup for success (new strategies).

    That is very sad that your little one had to endure ridicule over being late. Little children are not independent and do not carry the responsibility for getting themselves to school on time. Parents are independent and do have that responsibility, but they absolutely do their best.

    Rather than criticism from the school, staff should be there to offer support and guidance to the parents who are having the difficulty. Likely these parents do not have enough time, energy, money or knowledge to do any better, and any advice about those areas would help the situation and not hurt the child.

    We all need the same kind of treatment explained in Pillar #8 – positive, warm and supportive.

  3. Shara

    My kids like to set out their clothing, for school, the night before. My daughter (10) sets out her backpack, clothing, shoes, and snack. She likes to be prepared 🙂 This has helped us in the mornings – to streamline the routine.

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