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The “Operation Success” Family Meeting

Last week, I introduced five different kinds of procrastinators. Once you’ve found your own style, a second big step toward sane household schedules is sitting down as a family to talk about what might work. While the examples will deal with mornings, the basic ideas apply to bedtimes, leaving for evening events, etc.

Note: if you aren’t used to family meetings, remember a) keep it short b) solicit suggestions from your children because they’re often tougher on themselves than you would be! c) serve everyone’s favorite dessert (or plop in the movie you’ve all been waiting to see) right after you finish a calm, solution-oriented chat.

Here’s what to do:

Choose a style. Let your kids know what kind of procrastinator you are—and even let them chime in with a respectful example of when they saw you act that way. Then, prepare cards describing the following styles and have them choose which fits them best:

  • Pulled By The Moment: I get distracted by a book, a show, or a toy I want to play with.
  • Perfectionist: If one thing gets me off track, I feel like the morning is ruined and I give up.
  • Adrenalin Rush: Rushing around in the morning is exciting, like being in a race.
  • Daydreamer. I get thinking about other things when I’m brushing teeth or eating and time just flies by.

Set a goal. Point out that mornings where everyone is crabby and tired and angry just aren’t a great way to start anyone’s day. The family’s goal is to figure out how everyone might begin the day in a happy way.

Brainstorm. Provide one concrete step you will be taking so that your morning routine is less rushed. Ask each person to think about what step they might take. Can the “Rusher” set a goal of getting to the kitchen table 5 minutes earlier to have time to read the comics? Might the “Moment” child put the book and toy out of reach each night? Who might lay out clothes before bedtime?

Avoid Blame. If one child complains, “But it’s my brother’s fault—he hogs the bathroom,” reiterate that everyone has their own traps and we can only change ourselves. Everyone is going to be trying new things, but you’re only in charge of yourself.

Identify a Celebration. Agree on ways to celebrate your first happy day and first happy week. Think small and fun, rather than big and expensive. Our kids loved make-your-own-pizza nights, so agreeing to delay these until we met a goal was workable. Renting a new-release movie or baking a new cookie recipe together are other possibilities.

Keep it fun, keep it short, and discover how your family might work together creatively to solve your procrastination problems!

Jane is an educational consultant, specializing in teambuilding, coaching, and school staff development. She is also the coauthor of more than 20 books. Jane’s website  is