There's only one word to describe the scene in our house on the mornings we send our 3-year-old to preschool — chaotic.

If you're like us, no matter what time you get up, how much you prepare the night before, and how much you explain to your children the need to move more quickly in the mornings, nothing seems to work.

Here are a few tips to possibly improve the situation:

1. Make a list of things to get done ahead of time.

If you are truly having trouble getting out of the house, take a step back and look at your morning schedule. What time are you getting up? What are you making your kids for breakfast? Are papers, lunches, and clothes ready the night before? Answer those questions and see if there is room to improve your schedule. Even shaving 5-10 minutes off your morning routine can make a big difference.

2. Make the deadline time to leave even earlier.

If you usually try to leave the house by 8:20, reset the schedule to leave by 8:10 or even 8:05. That way, if you're not out of the house at that time, you'll still be a little bit ahead of the game.

3. Check your commute.

Is there a better route that you could take to get your child to school in the morning? Maybe find a route with fewer lights or less construction. Again, this might only save you a few minutes, but those minutes can be crucial.

4. Play time or TV time?

Does your child demand playtime or screen time before leaving the house? Does this delay your departure? Explain to them that if they can get all their stuff done — eating breakfast, brushing their teeth, getting dressed — then they can have a few minutes to play or watch a quick show. This reframes the situation by enabling them to see that if they can get ready more quickly, they'll have more time to do something they enjoy.

5. Reward good behavior.

This might be a time for an old-fashioned reward chart. If your child is diligent and truly works toward getting out of the house on time in the mornings, reward her with a small gift or family outing. This will only encourage her to keep up the good work.

6. Stay positive.

When chaos reigns, many of us lose our cool. That will only serve to delay us more. Even though your child has not responded to your 12 requests to put on his shoes and socks, try your best to keep it together. The last thing that you want is a tantrum that slows down the departure process even more.

7. Punish.

If your daughter simply cannot get her act together in the mornings, make sure she knows that she will lose a privilege. Does she want to play at her best friend's house? Does she want to enroll in dance lessons? Maybe she needs to prove that she can tackle the morning routine with more dedication first.

8. Expect the unexpected.

There is always a last-minute crisis — an emergency bathroom visit, a cherished item of clothing that vanishes or a homework assignment that gets misplaced. Stay as organized as possible by getting ready the night before and try to build a little time into your schedule in case the unexpected arises.