I thought it was an ordinary Tuesday. A day full of hope and promise for fun and learning. A normal day—until I looked at the clock.

One minute the clock is kind telling us we have plenty of time to get our people ready and out the door for a new day. Suddenly, it changes, almost screaming at us, “Hurry, hurry, hurry. We’re all going to be late!”

There is a missing shoe and cereal spilled on the floor. A stuck backpack zipper and a forgotten math test. I didn’t even hear myself until I was at least 6 words in to a rant about us always being late and we can’t keep doing this and where in the world was that missing shoe?

We did what we always do. We let the dog clean up the cereal, I insisted (rather forcefully) on my youngest switching to a different pair of shoes, I started spouting out math facts as I worked on the zipper.

We were getting it done. But none of us were happy. And this was not the way I wanted to send everyone off on their day.

Have you had mornings like this?

We’ve all had those days. Starting off the day positively affects your child’s attitude and outlook on learning.

A bad morning does not mean a bad day. Here are 4 ways to turn things around.

#1: Exhale

Seriously. It helps. Let out all that you’re holding on to and breathe. It sounds so simple but research shows that breathing can change your state of mind, and perhaps that’s the best change to turn things around.

#2: Pick One Thing

Many of us wear our multitasking crowns with pride, after all, we are parents and there is so much to get done. Multitasking is often counterintuitive making us less productive because we are unable to organize information well. Plus it increases the stress hormone in the body.

When things are going bad the one thing we don’t need is stress. So, pick one thing you can do. Address the broken zipper. And then move on to the next. Find a shoe solution.

Picking one thing at a time and working through your micro-emergency list in a serial fashion will help you get more done with less stress for everyone involved.

Make the time to listen and talk to your kids.

#3: Verbalize

Being honest goes a long way, especially with kids. They know you’re upset just by a look or the sound of your voice. It is okay to tell them the morning isn’t going well. It’s good for them to see that we can identify things that aren’t ideal.

Saying something like, “Boy this morning is not going the way I hoped it would. Could we turn it around together?” shows your child that you recognize how things are and that you need their help to make it better. Let them be an active participant in turning things around. You’re giving them useful skills for later in life.

And while you are at it, get them in the habit of prioritizing and serializing the task list instead of frantically trying to do 5 things at a time. Think aloud. “Alright, let’s see how we can go about this. First the broken zipper. Then the shoe. And on the way to school we can look at math facts”

#4: Apologize

This one feels hard for a lot of us because it means we are human and we are admitting it to our children. I’ll let you in on a secret: they already know.

Saying you’re sorry for the way you spoke to them or the way you tossed all the shoes out of the shoe bin shows that it’s okay to make mistakes. Plus it will help you let go of any mistakes and move on. Kids are usually a pretty forgiving bunch.

Whatever hard morning you and your kids have, it’s not too late to turn it around!