We have three kids (a 9, 4 and 3 year old) and our middle child is severely disabled. My wife has some commuting challenges in the morning and thus has limited availability at the critical time and there's not much we can do about that. As such, I have a pretty tight timeline on getting everyone ready and out the door in the morning and my attention is quite divided to boot.
The short of it is that I need to find some way to train the 9-year-old to focus on things like eating his breakfast, brushing teeth, etc. on his own. I can remind him every five to ten minutes, but it seems I have to do it every one or two before he absent-mindedly disengages and begins playing with a toy or staring off into space, etc. It's hard for me to sustain this and nearly every morning we find ourselves rushing out the door in a blind panic no matter how prepared I am the night before or how early we start. The time is simply taken up by idle activity.
How does one teach focus to this age group? Are there some fair incentives to keep him on track and what's the appropriate behavior as this keeps reoccurring? I've been getting upset (which of course makes matters worse), but I'm really at a loss here. Would love some suggestions.
EDIT: I failed to mention in the original post that I have a limited window of time myself due to time syncing with our European and Australian offices (I'm in EST). There are excellent suggestions about starting earlier and baking incentives into the morning routine that won't work for my particular situation but may be helpful for others.