Wednesday, August 31, 2011

How To Get Kids Out The Door On Time

School is back in session. The excitement of the first few weeks is over and now you are falling back into old habits of previous years. It seems like there is always something that stops the getting-to-school-on-time momentum cold. It could be you hit the snooze button one too many times and now you are running late. Maybe your son cannot find his backpack or your daughter has changed her outfit ten times. You know all calm has left the house when you’re screeching and threatening “If you’re not out the door in five minutes, no Xbox tonight!”

It is time for a back-to-school morning intervention. Before I mention practical tactics to make your mornings positive, lets understand why it is not a good thing to start every day totally stressed. Studies have found that children who are often tardy have lower GPAs, lower standardized test scores and lower graduation rates. What studies cannot show is the damage that is done to a child’s self esteem when mom is yelling as they leave the house. I guarantee your child will not be performing at his best if your home is a battleground in the mornings.

So lets de-stress your mornings. When your children hear “Hurry up!”, “We’re late!”, “Let’s go!”, they dig their heels in and slow down. It is a natural reaction. Your goal is to be positive and not freak out in the mornings. Preparation begins the night before. Try to get clothes laid out. Plan lunch. Fill backpacks and set them by the door.

If your child has a difficult time waking up in the mornings, instead of walking into their room and barking “get up”, try something different. For younger children, get up 5 minutes earlier and go cuddle with them in bed. It is a delightful and peaceful way to start the morning. When it comes to older children, let your child be self reliant. Most kids will be thrilled to let mom and dad off the nagging track of school on-timeness. Take them to the store and let them pick an alarm that lets them wake up to music. Prepare yourself that there will be late days filled with anxiety. Be there to help, but let them experience it. Eventually, they will figure it out.

Throughout this process, give them positive feed back. Tell them how good they are at getting up on time, or how proud you are of them for preparing their backpack the night before. They will not be perfect everyday, but your goal is to find one thing they are doing right. You no longer need to be the drill sergeant. When you see your child walk out the door with a smile on their face in the mornings, your day will be complete!

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