PUBLISHED: 1:59 PM on Wednesday, March 29, 2006
Five ways to manage morning madness
As families across America gear up to spring forward, most people are full of excitement as they transition into the new season. However, many busy moms experience a lack of energy once the clocks spring forward an hour.

A recent national survey found that more than one-third of women experience a "fall back" in energy levels during Daylight Saving Time, which can impact families during the morning rush.

It is possible to "reclaim" your mornings, according to Andrea Pennington, M.D., author of The Pennington Plan, physician, motivational counselor and founder of The Pennington Institute for Health and Wellness. Pennington's simple solutions will help women boost their energy levels and jump-start their family's day.

1. Make planning a family affair. Ensure a smooth start to a well-planned day by preparing for the morning the night before. Monitor the weather report with your children to decide on the next day's wardrobe, prepare nonperishable lunch items together and pre-pack the next day's essentials such as ballet shoes, soccer gear and snacks for the car.

2. Focus on success. A morning "command center" helps organize contact information, dates of important events and individual schedules in a single location that can be accessed by the entire family. Post a master calendar that includes activities for each family member, chores and individual to-do lists.

3. Eat breakfast. Eating a nutritious breakfast helps "break the fast" our bodies undergo during sleep.

One energizing option is a smoothie drink. This convenient morning meal provides important vitamins and minerals combined with the protein you and your family need to start the day off right.

4. Promote family face time. Spend just a few moments in the evening reviewing your child's upcoming agenda. Use this time to review study questions for the next major exam or discuss the game plan for an extracurricular activity. A few extra moments together ensures that a busy schedule never interferes with your desire to keep family first.

5. Maintain a routine. Consistency is key. Establish a pattern that will guide you and your children through each individual's necessary tasks. This will combat serious threats that unexpected disruptions can cause.