Done with the Morning Madness

Struggle free morningsI often write for parents of very young children because Children’s Choice works primarily with children five and under. However, for all of our parents and followers who have school age children and are experiencing morning power struggles—those days when you wake your children several times and then you have to literally drag them out of bed and struggle to get them out the door—this BLOG IS FOR YOU!

Growing up, I lived one door down from my very best friend. We are still best friends, and we have celebrated many great life events together. However, our parents had very different styles of parenting, and I was always surprised at how tolerant her mom was in the morning. My friend wasn’t too bad about getting up, but her little sister was the worst. My friend’s sweet mom would drag this non-cooperative child out of bed and into the bathroom where the little girl would lock the door, curl up on the bathroom mat, and promptly go back to sleep…almost every day. I spent many nights with them, and it was amusing to watch. One thing I knew for sure as I saw this scene unfold time and again was that my mom wouldn’t play that game. I didn’t even try it.

My mom is programmed in my phone as “The World’s Greatest Mom,” and she was and continues to be an amazing mom/grandmother to her children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren. Here are some things that she taught me combined with what I’ve learned along the way for smooth mornings:

1.  If your children are routinely having a difficult time waking in the morning, they need more rest. My mom’s approach with us was simple, and it wasn’t punitive. For every time she had to call us to get up, our bed time was moved back that night by 15 minutes. She explained that not being able to wake up meant that we needed more rest. No yelling, no fighting—and we were in control of our bedtime. We went to bed at 6:00 a couple of times, even in high school. The key was consistency, and she meant it.

2.  Find everything the night before. Lay it in plain view–papers signed, backpacks ready, etc.

3.  If you have young children, allow them to choose what they will wear, but YOU control the choices. Here are some hints:

  • Spend time coordinating school outfits in their closets with their help so that they can choose from one section of the closet without asking.
  • Hold up two outfits the night before and ask, “Which outfit would you like to wear tomorrow?”
  • Make sure that approval for any new outfit is given the night before—no surprises in the morning that might set off alarms.

4.  Establish routines. Children love predictability, and they feel safer when they know what is going to happen next. Make bedtime routines as consistent as possible. This will truly affect the morning routine.

5.  Children will do whatever you allow them to do. My best friend’s home was loving and fun, and her mom was amazing—but she had given her children the control. She laughed about it then, and the memories probably kept her smiling as she grew older.

Just know that if you want struggle-free mornings, consistency and routine are the keys.

By Donna McClintock, COO Children’s Choice Learning Centers
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