A carefully planned routine can be a lifesaver against kids who tend to dawdle in the morning. By assigning morning duties to each member of the family, you can eliminate any confusion as to what needs to be done before everyone leaves the house.
Some assigned chores could include feeding the dog, laying out the breakfast bowls, and taking lunch packs out the fridge. Most individuals work better when they know what is expected of them and the guesswork is eliminated; this also applies to children. However, ensure that the chores list is not too long which can result in the opposite effect.
The best approach to defusing morning mayhem is to get organized the night before. The less your children have to contend with in the morning, the smoother the transition will be. Some 'night before' chores include putting out clothes for the next day, dealing with school correspondence and filling backpacks.
The dreaded alarm clock
Even young children should get used to the practice of waking up to an alarm clock. Purchase a kid-friendly alarm clock to introduce it into their environment. Set your child's alarm clock a few minutes before yours so they will have the opportunity to hear it go off and respond and also have some extra time to laze in bed or read a book. Once your alarm has gone off, your child will have had those few extra minutes before the real pressure begins.
For very heavy sleepers, like teenagers, place an alarm clock outside their bedroom door so the intended party will actually have to get out of bed to turn it off.
Some children aren't big breakfast eaters and any ongoing argument regarding the breakfast factor can actually be detrimental to the entire mood of the morning routine. If your child balks at the standard breakfast offerings, keep trying different foods until you hit upon something quick and easy that they will eat. All parties involved will benefit by resolving this argument once and for.
Some simple but nutritious breakfast foods include apple sauce, berries, grilled cheese, instant breakfast powder mixes, cheese and crackers, or fruit salad.
Nothing can turn a sunny morning into a nightmare quicker than the clothes dilemma. Young children and girls in particular can find it extremely difficult to decide what to wear. To avoid this situation, have your child pick out their clothes the night before including undergarments, and socks. To take it one step further by having your child chose an alternative outfit just in case they change their mind about the original pickings. Be sure to make it clear, the choices only include the two preselected outfits for that day - no substitutes!
Ban the TV and computer
Any form of electronic entertainment including the TV, video games or computer should be off limits during the morning rush. Refrain from letting your kids turn on the TV or computer even if they have finished getting ready and have a few minutes to spare. Unfortunately once they get involved – it may difficult to get them to shut down when asked. Stand firm on this one and defuse any arguments that may arise from this scenario.
Nothing can spur a child’s behavior like a well thought out rewards system. If your morning routine has reached a point that you dread mornings, then a rewards system may get you on track.
Firstly, determine what are biggest negative contributing factors to your morning are. If your child's time management capabilities are an issue, determine how long it should take your child to get dressed, washed and eat breakfast. Use this figure as your baseline to initiate your child's 'personal best' on a weekly basis. Create a small chart to track your child's personal best 'times' each morning. If the child has reached the goal more than once by the end of the week, a small reward is encouraged such as a trip out for ice cream, a book or a treat.
With a little advance planning and resourcefulness, you can jumpstart your child to co-operate and conquer the morning mayhem in your household.
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