Morning Routine

What’s it like in your house in the morning? If someone was observing from outside your window, ask what would they see? Laughter and warmth? Irritation and impatience? Conflict, site screaming, viagra 60mg arguing? Or a mixture of everything?

What would you want them to see? Or, more to the point, what do you want your kids to see? Your morning routine sends your kids out the door and into the world, carrying with them the experiences, messages and emotions of the 7a.m. rush. This period, for school age kids, is one of the two main “quality time” parenting periods of their school years – the other being the “after school crunch.”

Teaching Life Lessons
From the time kids wake up till the time they walk out the door, parents are teaching valuable life lessons. Parents are teaching kids how to manage time. Do you get out of bed early enough to get it all done in the morning? Do you teach your kids how to do the same? Parents are demonstrating how to handle pressure – the deadline of the morning rush. Do you dissolve under pressure, becoming nasty, irritable, panicked or otherwise unpleasant? Or do you model self-control and restraint when your blood is boiling and the clock is ticking? Parents teach kids how to convey love – from the first gentle wake-up tickle of the toes to the tender kiss good-bye. Compliments and jokes and other forms of friendly banter show the kids that they are loved. Do you have the patience and good humor it takes to be loving at 7:30 in the morning? Or is it all about “hurry up, hurry up, carpool is coming!”

Morning Challenges
Children can be morning-challenged in a variety of ways. Let’s look at some typical challenges of the kindergarten to sixth grade set.

  • Dawdlers: This group of slow pokes can really unravel a rushing Mom. It’s important to avoid labeling them as “dawdlers” since you don’t want to reinforce this self-concept. It’s also important to avoid nagging them – that is, employing repetitive requests that will ultimately lead to parental anger. Instead, reinforce quicker behavior by using the CLeaR Method (comment on appropriate speed, label it as “quick moving”, reward it with a kiss or a treat). Also, use the 2X-Rule for limits. For instance, you can say “If you haven’t finished brushing your hair by 7:40, I’ll have to finish brushing it for you.” “If you haven’t finished eating by 8:05, I’ll have to remove your plate.” (You can find more information on the CLeaR Method and the 2X-Rule in Raise Your Kids without Raising Your Voice by Sarah Chana Radcliffe.)
  • Distracted Kids: these kids have trouble staying on task at home or at school. Supplementing their diet with Essential Fatty Acids can sometimes help improve their concentration. In addition, use the CLeaR Method to give positive attention whenever on-task behavior is occurring and use the 2X-Rule to set consequences for failing to have certain tasks performed by certain deadlines.
  • Sensory Issue Kids: These kids struggle with the way things feel to them. Clothes that you pick out may not feel “right” causing a delay around getting dressed. Try picking out the clothes the night before, with the child’s involvement. If the child wants to wear the same thing over and over, let her – it’s not dangerous and not worth fighting about every day. Try washing the clothes after she takes them off at night. When it’s impossible to get her the clothes she wants, use Emotional Coaching – naming and accepting her feelings sympathetically. Lectures and criticism are unhelpful and destructive so don’t go there!
  • Non-Compliant Kids: These kids simply don’t listen. They may be strong-willed or just plain uncooperative. They complain about their clothes, the weather, the breakfast and the lunch snacks. They are irritable and demanding. They may benefit from Essential Fatty Acids, Bach Flower Therapy or other alternative interventions as well as Emotional Coaching. Try offering this kind of child choices about clothing and food, preferably the night before. The challenge is not to get “hooked” – these kids are not happy campers. They don’t need your anger to top it all off.
  • Others: Some kids are disorganized and need lots of extra help and structure from the parent. This is a brain challenge – not “bad” behavior. Therefore, patience and assistance are in order. Some kids can’t wake up easily and require modification of their bedtime and help with their wake-up routine. And some MOMS are disorganized and have trouble getting it altogether. However, sitting down and thinking about each child’s morning style, your own style and some small interventions may be all that is necessary to ensure that you have consistently good mornings in your household!