Happier Mornings

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The holiday season is slowly approaching, but until then it’s the crazy and most busiest season for most families. Before the boys wake up for school, I stand in my kitchen analyzing our family white board. Schedules are so crazy right now, especially with birthdays every weekend, appointment visits, and early dismissals, it’s hard to keep track of all of it. Every morning feels like a Monday morning. Getting the kids ready for school until I drop them off is a precious time for me schedule and get organize. It’s a time for me to process our day/week/month and so forth.

Too boot out the crazy season, crazy mornings are evidently to happen. Rushing my children to get, change, eat breakfast, up brush their teeth, pack homework its an insane tornado every morning. Develop new behaviors and practices for yourself. Here are a few secrets to happier mornings:

 

Challenge Them

Instead of rushing them, challenge them. As your child is slowly packing their backpack, tell your kids that you doubt they can do it. Naturally we as parents feel we have to explain every single thing to our children. But actually, of you say, ‘I bet you can’t get dressed all by yourself,’ your child will most likely respond, ‘Oh yes I can! Watch!’ Once your child completes the task, praise him!! This will encourage an encore performance.

Practice

Self-sufficiency requires some repetition. The good news: About two weeks of dedication is all parents need to get kids with the program. During that time, help your child get through each task until he can do it entirely without you. Then fade out those prompts and you’re done.

Do Some Prep

A bit of advance legwork, like laying out the next day’s outfit or putting out the cereal the night before, can save a lot of hand-holding during the a.m rush. Growing up (in a Filipino household) I’ve witnessed my mom cook dinner in the wee hours of the night. She would be cooking loads of food for the week to feed our family. My mom would also prep my dad’s lunch the same night. It was what we say ‘baon’ (pronounced “bah-own”) in Tagalog.  She’d pack two tupperware for him, one filled with rice, the other with the specialty dish, usually a soup meat based dish with boil veggies. I saw my mom do this ever since I was a little girl, until the day I moved out later in my early twenties.

Now, as a mother, I need the efficiency in her methods. My dad still this day grabs his lunch every morning, as I do the same for my young boys with their breakfast and school lunches.

Set A Fast Pace

One morning I left the kids for a moment as they were eating their breakfast, to do the rest of my make-up (yes, if I have a few minutes to spare I apply some make-up as a refresher) When the kids linger, just this week I caught the boys playing checkers as they were waiting. Try to beat the clock!! Pick a series of related tasks (think: brushing teeth, putting on socks and shoes), set a timer for a few minutes, and ask your kid if he can do them before the buzzer sounds. Every time he wins, he gets a point to be used for a treat.

Raising boys: They love games. Create a game for anything. That brings us back to challenging them.

Calm Yourself

The more stressed you get, the less likely kids will do what you ask. To decompress, walk to the end of the house and back. Remember you can always try again tomorrow. Something I’ve been practicing is openly apologizing for rushed and late days when things were clearly at my fault. In the car as I drop my son off school a few minutes late “I’m sorry we were late today. Tomorrow we will wake up earlier, and get it right tomorrow.”

You can’t go wrong with apologies, and being accountable when you are at fault. We learn from our mistakes, and make better choices next time and get better the following day. Admitting to minor faults, and practicing them to your children will teach them honesty, and liable to their own actions.

Follow the above steps to create happier mornings in your household and I promise you, just developing new behaviors will produce not just happier morning within a home, but happier family.

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Alternately Edited by Jennifer O’Neil Scholastic.com/ParentAndChild
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