I have been there – chaos surrounding me, my kids not ready when the carpool arrives. I have been there – running around like a crazy woman, throwing stuff into backpacks, looking for lost shoes, gathering homework, and saying things like, “WHY DOES THIS HAPPEN EVERY SINGLE MORNING? IS IT SO HARD TO PUT ON YOUR CLOTHES AND BE READY ON TIME?!?”
Oh, I have been there, crazy train and all.
But here’s the thing: it does not have to be that way! Mornings can be calm and stress-free. And here’s the best part: the kids can learn to do ALL the things involved in getting out the door on time BY THEMSELVES.
Yep. You read that correctly. Mom and Dad will be able to do whatever they want in the mornings and the kids will be ready to go when it is time. Doesn’t that sound like magic?
I know what you are thinking: “You don’t know my kids, Lynnette! There is no way this will work.”
I am sticking to my guns, though. Magical mornings can become a daily occurrence in your house, and I’m going to teach you how in this informative episode.
You can listen in for all the details, but here is the basic blueprint:
- In order for kids to own then the process of getting themselves ready and out the door on time, parents need to step back and let them do so.
- Transfer ownership of the problem to the kids. First, get them an alarm clock and teach them how to use it. This will put them in charge of their own schedule from the very first seconds of the day. (Which is vital if you want them to own the process and the problem it has become.)
- Make a checklist of things that the child needs to do before leaving in the morning. Be specific. If the child cannot read, use pictures.
- Communicate your expectations clearly. Let your kids know that they will now be the boss of their time in the morning, which is a big and important job. Express your confidence in them, but let them know that you will have to get involved if they don’t hold up their end of the bargain. (And everybody will be happier if you don’t have to get involved.)
- Sit back, relax, and watch the magic happen!
- If magic doesn’t happen right away, don’t be surprised. Let natural consequences lead first.
- If natural consequences are not motivating enough, up the ante and assign memorable consequences that will decrease the likelihood of repeat offenses. (We discuss memorable consequences in depth in episode 5.)
Above all, remember that THIS IS NOT YOUR PROBLEM!! It is your child’s problem. If you make it your problem (by hovering, following them around, making sure they get everything done or doing things for them), they may never own it or feel inclined to fix it. And, in that case, you will continue to feel frustrated and stressed, and they will not learn the necessary life skills to get to school (or work…or anything) on time.
Play the long game, friends. It may be more difficult on the front end, but it will pay off in a HUGE way in the end. Trust me. 😉
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