School mornings—so much to get done, with so little time; here’s how to curb the conflict and get your kids out the door:
Keep your cool
Getting distracted kids ready for school early in the morning can be at the top of many parents’ frustration scale. If tempers start to flare, try and de-escalate things by speaking in a calm tone; focus and praise your child for the positive efforts being made, rather than what’s not getting done; keep everything in perspective i.e. it’s not the end of the world, and your child is likely doing her best.
The key to many things in life is the plan ahead. Do whatever you can the night before when there isn’t the stress of getting to school and work on time in the morning. Include your child in such preparations i.e. have her help with laying out clothes, making her lunch, organizing her backpack and taking a shower. If the child is too young to help with such tasks, have a positive conversation about the expectations for the following morning and break these activities into small steps and then praise her for following through.
It’s OK to provide incentives—we all sometimes need this in life. These can be immediate or enjoyed later. For example, to make mornings more enjoyable, you can consider something like stopping for a breakfast treat provided everyone is ready on time, without much nudging. For younger kids, offering privileges, such as extra play time in the evening may do the trick to do simple tasks on their own, like getting dressed, eating breakfast and brushing teeth without debate.
It’s advisable for parents to temper expectations and prioritize the necessary tasks versus the nonessential chores. It will help alleviate the disappointment if your child does the crucial steps of getting ready for school and all the rest, like making his bed, for example, is “icing on the cake.” Work with your child at making those essential tasks a habit and remember to praise all of it to encourage positivity in the mornings.
Tanya Hvilivitzky has spent almost 30 years in the communications field—a career that has included stints as an investigative journalist, magazine managing editor, corporate communications director, and researcher/writer. She has been with bp Magazine and esperanza Magazine since 2016, serving in roles such as interim editor and, currently, the features editor. She also writes for the bpBUZZ section of bphope.com, where she synthesizes complex information into a format that both inspires and informs.
As an award-winning writer/editor, she received the Beyond Borders Media Award for her 2012 investigative exposé about human trafficking. Her work on this important topic also earned the Media Freedom Award “Honouring Canada’s Heroes” from the Joy Smith Foundation to Stop Human Trafficking.
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