Imagine you are excited about attending an event. Many of your good friends will be there and you are anticipating a fantastic time. As you begin to get ready, the person who is taking you begins to rush you into getting ready. She tells you things such as “hurry up or you will be late.” “we have GOT to go now.” “If we are late, THEY won’t let you in right away.” You may begin to feel a bit stressed and maybe even resent having to go to the event that you previously were looking forward to. Your ride then forcefully lets you know “you HAVE to go to this, we don’t have a choice.” You arrive at the event but are in bit of a funk to begin with because of the stress of getting there, maybe even harboring negative feelings to the host that may not have let you in. As your time goes on, you settle in with your friends and begin to enjoy yourself, slowly beginning to unwind.
Now, imagine your mornings with your child/children getting out the door for school. Are you setting a scene similar to above of rushing, threats and ultimatums about arriving on time or even having to go to school? Believe me, having 3 children of my own and both my husband and I beginning work at 7:00 and 7:30, I know first-hand morning can be a very busy and stress-filled time. Below are a few suggestions of making your mornings go a bit smoother:
- Do prep work the night before. This could include making the lunches, setting out breakfast, picking out clothes.
- Go over the expectations and routines for your morning ahead of time…beginning at dinner the night before. If your child is a visual type, you could even make a list with pictures of what needs to be done.
- Keep the routine consistent every day and stream lined. If your child’s bedroom is upstairs, have her do everything upstairs first before coming down for breakfast. If your child is slow moving (what child isn’t early in the morning), set up the acts that require the least amount of umph to do first.
- Help when necessary. There were many times that my children were just too tired in the mornings and I helped them along with getting dressed…that is okay as long as you are giving them the opportunity to be independent in other parts of the day.
- Allow yourself more time to get through everything that needs to be done. If that requires waking your child up earlier to have a few extras minutes of doing nothing, then set your alarm for earlier. Same goes for yourself, if you need some e:quiet time in the morning to not feel rushed, set your alarm earlier.
- If you find that you are always rushed in the morning, allow more time for getting ready and set your alarm for earlier.
While you are going through these routines, try to refrain from rushing your child “because we have to get to school.” They will feel that resentment towards school and not have positive feelings towards going to school. At some point, you may need to encourage your child to move faster or get her things done in a timely manner, but remain positive and encouraging about school.
So you’ve successfully made it to the car and on your way to school. Here are a few keys to having a positive and stress-free drop off at the door:
- Keep the dialogue about school positive. Talk about what work your child may choose to start his day, what he thinks the snack or lunch may be, who he will play with outside, what may happen in circle for the day. Use the weekly class email from your child’s teacher to talk about things that you know are happening in the class.
- When getting out of the car, hand your child his belongings. He should carry in his lunch box and bag from the car into the school.
- At the door to the classroom, get on your child’s level, give him a hug and a kiss, then follow his lead to ring the bell. If he is hesitant, give him a moment to be ready. If he is still hesitant, let him know that you may have to ring the bell, as it is time to go into the classroom. If he still doesn’t, then you can ring the bell and prepare to leave.
- Keep it short and simple at the door, tell your child you love him, when you will see him at pick up and to have a great day.
- Do not linger at the door to talk with the teacher, especially if your child is hesitant. Feel free to slip a note under the door or in the teachers mailbox if there is an urgent message to pass along.
- Please keep your child from hiding from the teacher, or running down the hallway. If necessary, show your child where to stand or even position your body so that he cannot move down the hallway.