Put your socks on!!
Motivated and enthusiastic children who get themselves ready on time, with no fuss and no backchat.
I stare down at Master Nine. He’s sat on the floor with no pants on, one shirt on, one sock on and his nose in Lord of The Rings. I’ve just asked him for the billionth time to please get dressed, we need to leave the house. We’re going to the movies. He snaps back with a whole lot of attitude, ‘I am!!!!”. Oopsy, I can see a reflection of myself right there - dammit! I literally bang my head on the door. Give. Me. Strength.
Is this scene familiar to anyone out there?
It takes all of me not to have a mummy tantrum right then and then. I could even throw myself down on the ground and kick my legs and arms, Master Four seems to think that is a good negotiating tactic. Ha! But then I remember I’m the adult and the parent. D’Oh!
I remember that this is the second to last week of the school holidays and routines are back-to-front, inside out and topsy turvy. Which brings me on topic;
Implementing change, any type of change, in the family.
“By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail” ~ Benjamin Franklin
I think it is important to prepare for anything great in life. Setting goals, working towards them and achieving them is as satisfying as it is motivating to achieve more.
Right from the get-go it is good to get in the practice of consolidating your own thoughts, letting your partner do the same, deciding on your parenting angle and then rolling the plan out to the children.
This school holidays I dropped the ball. Burnt out from a particularly challenging year, I made the conscious decision to run these school holidays by spontaneity. And I’ve duly noted the pros and cons of doing so. It’s been fantastic to have unorchestrated days and it has taught the kids to handle their boredom. But I have most definitely noticed increased bickering, sense of unrest and demand for my husband’s and my attention. Hmmmmm.
I’ve worked hard to create a habit of routine to the point that it is a subconscious action for me.
Remember when you first learned to drive a manual car; “You want me to to what with my feet at the same time as shift gear?”
But I’m human, I slipped up this holidays, and I wanted to share this with all of you, especially those who shun routine and planning.
Routine creates predictability and helps children feel safe in their immature concept of time. And making a change in their routine or starting to stick to a routine can’t happen only in your head. You need to involve the children on some level.
Give them the respect of sharing your reasons why there is a change and let them know it is coming, so that they can prepare for this in their own way.
Individual goals are important, but so are common goals. Working together as a family to set goals will empower you as parents as well as empowering the children. Involving the children in decisions will make them much more likely to action the steps necessary to achieve the family’s goals as well as their own. They will see the family as one unit and will be less likely fight against a change if they are part of the movement.
Despite my momentary lapse in routine, I am usually on the ball in preparing the children for an outing. And by this I mean preparing them mentally that they will be participants, not spectators, in the organisation and execution of an outing. Sound like a military operation? Well, I guess it can do, but it works for me! I do it it without much thought and generally without too much resistance or rebellion from the children.
We do things like discuss the outing the night before. What time will we need the house? What do we need to take? How long will it take to be there? How long will we be there? What time should we wake up? I’ve found that the more I can share with them, the more cooperative and helpful they are the next day - especially if it is for something they’re looking forward to!
On the actual day I make sure I wake up much earlier than the children. This way I can organise my own thoughts and have some time to myself before waking them (if needed) and guiding them through the morning routine.
I use tactics like a 20 minute incremental countdown (20 mins to go, 15 mins to go and so on and so forth), asking them to pack their own bags and giving them two-step tasks (please go to your room and get your shoes and socks) in the lead up to departure.
It all comes back to preparation.
Of course some of these strategies work well some days and not others and they may not resonate with your method of parenting at all. I’ve long understood that there is no one-size-fits-all parenting method. But, I’ve summarised what’s worked for me in a pdf sent out to my newsletter subscribers.
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What better time to work on morning routines with school going back in one week!
Good luck everyone!
Until the next …
~Just one small change ~