The New Year is Here…Back to School, Work, and Our Daily Routines…
Well, it’s 2018 already and before we know it Valentine’s day is here… Then Easter…the whole cycle just continues and that’s life!
What new year resolutions have you made? One of the mums in the PTA ( Parent Teacher Associations) group said that at the beginning of the school year she had resolved that the kids would get to school on time, make sure they eat breakfast, with most of the school uniform on, with at least some of the kit they needed, without her yelling at the kids…
Does that resonate with any other mums?
There are so many things that have to be accomplished, with very definite time pressures, which make mornings for mums a real flashpoint and it’s definitely worse if mornings are not your best time. I can do anything late at night …but not early in the morning!
Whether the journey is made on foot, bike, scooter, car or public transport, one step wrong now can put the whole day out for everyone….. managing to do lists appointments the lot is a full-time job every day for mums with kids…
Here are some tips to help…
- Learn to Become a time Realist and Manage your Time Properly
Rather than a time optimist! Take some time, by yourself, to work out how long it really takes to prepare bowls of cereal, butter slices of toast, pour milk or juices and make a strong cup of tea or coffee….
And mop up a couple of spills, feed the cat, prepare the lunch boxes, pack the reading folder, sign the form trip slip, as well as have a shower, get yourself and them dressed, find your hairbrush, toothbrush, any other brush, and your keys….
It can be quite illuminating – my guess of 60 minutes was more than 50% wrong. No wonder I wasn’t making it out in time and felt like a failure every morning. I was trying to achieve the impossible because I hadn’t allowed the right amount of time!
If you have a child under two, three, four, ten, factor in some contingency time for poo-ey nappies or meltdowns just at the point of departure. If you’re early you can always take your time counting the cracks in the pavement or practising tables!
- Prepare, Prepare, Prepare which smooths the Processes…
There is one great thing about the journey to nursery or school – it happens at the same time, in the same way every day for several weeks! When we continue to do the same thing over and over again desperately hoping for a different outcome, it has been called insanity. So if getting ready each morning isn’t working for you, don’t get ready in the morning. Get ready the night before.
With the help of your children, pack school bags, lay out uniform or clothes, empty the dishwasher and lay the breakfast table.
You can make it fun – time yourselves, do it to music, treat yourselves afterwards. Get practical – what do you all need in order to do this job well? More shirts? A place to keep shoes? A set of toothbrushes or hairbrushes downstairs? An emergency something somewhere?
The best advice I ever took and the least popular advice I give is to get up 15-30 minutes earlier than your children so that you can get yourself ready before you need to focus on them. Because you do need to focus on them, but in a positive way, not nagging them. More on that below.
- Know Who, What, When and Where
Do you spend time most mornings ‘discussing’ who sits where in the car, who goes out of the front door first, who carries which bag, who holds whose hands? Ever been forced to run after a child who has simply run or scooted ahead, while leaving another behind? Before it happens again, sit down and start a positive discussion with the children about what needs to happen, and ask them how it could work.
Even young children come up with surprisingly useful, relevant and fun ideas. And they love being asked – it makes them feel more in charge of their own life. And then let them take responsibility for recording the details by writing down/ illustrating the plan – it doesn’t matter what it looks like.
It matters that they buy into it.
- Always Focus on the Positives
It’s so easy to notice what’s going wrong in the course of the morning preparations. How could you fail to see that your kids are still in their pyjamas let alone beds un-made and teeth un-brushed with 15 minutes to go!
Don’t beat yourself up if you’ve been pointing out all these deficits to your children. In other words, criticising.
Human beings have evolved to notice the negatives –it’s what kept us safe when we needed to pay attention to predators. But now it’s not very useful when we’re trying to motivate our young to get a move on.
What is much more motivating is to notice what they are doing right. Well, what are they doing right I hear you ask?
Well, you might have to look for quite small things, to begin with but when you focus on something you get more of it so pointing out small examples of good behaviour leads to bigger examples. .”
Some families will use a pasta jar to visually record these small acts of good behaviour. One pasta piece (or other tokens) goes in the jar for every good behaviour (and none come out). We recommend a team jar for all the children to encourage collaboration.
If they help each other get ready they can earn extra pasta. Make sure the jar fills up quickly and when it is full do a fun activity together.
- Understand your child
You will be so much more effective if your preparations take into account your child’s temperament. If you have a child who doesn’t transition well from one person, place or activity to another then he will need more time, more preparation and more encouragement than a more flexible child.
Wishing he were different won’t make your mornings any easier and will make him feel like a bad person, or at least a difficult one. Your child isn’t a problem, although he may be having a problem. You can help with that.
It will ease your frustrations so much if you realise that your child’s agenda is just as important to him as yours is to you. We can help our children move away from what they want to do and take on our agenda but it will need lots of descriptive praise and some empathy.
- Empathise and be Patient
Acknowledge how it is for your child if he’s not a morning person/would rather be reading/playing with Lego/staying in bed. Or if he isn’t really into school right now. Just letting your child know that you understand how she feels is often enough for her to let go her resistance.
We’re sure these 6 tips will help your preparations go more smoothly. Enjoy your mornings.
Source: Parent Practice ( Revised)