Are we late again? Tips on overcoming family tardiness

If you're one of millions of families that are the last to arrive anywhere, you may want to follow these tips to help create new habits, as well as new, healthier relationships with family and friends.

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  • I don't know about you, but my husband is notorious for being late and it drives me crazy. Many times, we have arrived late to our destination, and walked in with angry faces looking at us, because they were waiting, especially when we were bringing part of the main dish!

  • Alas, there is hope in the guise of valuable tips that can help you overcome family tardiness and create and foster healthier relationships as result. Changing some key things can really make a difference.

  • Fast-forward your clock

  • If you are consistently five or so minutes late, fast-forwarding all of your clocks five minutes ahead will have you arriving on time. If kids have a bad habit of missing the bus because they just missed it by a few minutes, this can really be helpful. Also, five minutes can make the difference of walking out the door, rushed, but then forgetting something and being late. This one tip helped our family immensely. Kids were on time to school and hubby was never late to work.

  • Give yourself extra time

  • Another tip to changing tardiness habits is to give yourself extra time. If the party is at 6 p.m. and it's 20 minutes away, leave at 5:30, giving you an extra 10 minutes. This allows for traffic delays or other unforeseen circumstances you may get tangled up in. You can save yourself a lot of worry and anxiety over being late if you allow for that extra time.

  • Prepare ahead of time

  • There are some places you just can't arrive late. You have to be on time to the airport, or you will miss your flight. Preparing ahead of time ensures you will get there with plenty of time to spare. It may seem silly to leave two hours before your flight, but because of new security procedures, it can take upward of an hour or more before you even get to the terminal. This is especially true when you travel internationally. You never know what processing takes place at other airports around the world, so getting there early is paramount to not being stressed.

  • The day before your flight, check the airlines and make sure your flight is not delayed or cancelled, especially if there's bad weather. Check the traffic that day, and leave extra time in case of special events that could cause traffic congestion. Pack the night before, and leave out your outfit and travel bag. If you have a morning flight, you can leave early, if needed.

  • Change habits

  • If the constant tardiness is due to just one person, and that person is you, think about what it could be doing to your family. If your son or daughter is late to band practice because you were late getting them there, it can cause problems with them, their teacher, and their class. If you're habitually late to work, it could create problems with you and your boss and other co-workers. If it seems to be a lazy issue with the whole family, it's time for a family meeting. Sitting down and brainstorming about ideas on how you all can change the habit is a good start.

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  • You may think it only takes three weeks to change a habit for good, but recent studies have stated that's not the case. Psychologist Ian Newby Clark takes a different approach. He states, "What would be the point of having a habit that didn't free up your mind to crunch on more pressing matters?" Habits are meant to be difficult to change." He suggests finding out why you have the habit and then changing it so it still fills the need, but with a different, healthier habit. This may take a few weeks to a few months or longer. The key is to work together to find the best solution for your family. Once the goal is achieved, reward yourselves.

  • Adopting these tips will hopefully get your family into a better habit of arriving on-time. If you all work together on reminding each other about trying not to be late. Be patient, the habit will change over time and you will be more peaceful in the journey.

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Julia Nielsen is currently parenting three kids with pitfalls and pleasures. She co-authored two published books in "The Crystal Locket" series, and graduated from the Institute of Children's Literature in 2005. Check out her blog: http://jewelswrites.blogspot.com

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