Being a parent is no easy task. As your children get older, it becomes even more arduous to keep up with them without losing your composure. Getting your child ready for school in the morning, especially when they are between the ages of 1-6 could be considered a very high-intensity sport. Only the brave get through unscathed.
Mornings are important. They set the tone for how the rest of the day will go. As parents, the importance of making sure your child wakes up on the right side of the bed, has a seamless transition and leaves the house in a positive state, cannot be stressed enough.
Your actions every morning will make or break what will be the rest of their day. It’s a lot of pressure, I know, so here are a few things you should be doing to help your child have the best morning experience:
1. Create a consistent morning routine
Creating a well thought out plan is the first step to achieving a goal. Every night or weekend, sit down with your child and create a weekday morning routine together. It is best to get the child involved while making this routine. Creating this plan allows them to spend more quality time with their parents, and makes them more likely to follow a morning routine they helped create.
Children love order. Knowing what to do, when to do it and how to do it will light a fire in their little hearts. You will find your children skipping to school feeling fulfilled; the incomparable joy of a job well done.
2. Allow your child to help you put together their lunch.
As we know, providing sustenance is primarily the parent’s job. You might be a little hesitant, allowing a child to put his/her lunch together, you can almost tell it’ll contain nothing but junk food. However, involving your child in your daily activities will help build a stronger bond and allow the child to understand that his/her voice and opinions matter.
So rather than just allowing the child to pick whatever they want, give options. Select an array of foods and let them select which would go in their lunchbox. It’s a fun activity for both of you and gets you one step closer to getting out of the house faster. It could be done the night before or that morning, depending on how much time you have.
3. Allow your child to get dressed on their own.
This one might get a little tricky. If your child doesn’t wear a uniform to school, then the chances of him/her coming out in a full-on clown costume are very likely. Mismatched colours, t-shirts worn backwards, shirts buttoned wrongly, the list of things that could go wrong is extensive. No matter what could go wrong, it pales in comparison to all that could go right.
Children enjoy being autonomous, getting things done on their own and pride in their ability to be somewhat independent. It might take a little longer for the child to get dressed, but the confidence boost that child gains, in the long run, is well worth it.
To mitigate some of these concerns, you could leave specific outfits in a lower, easily accessible section of his/her wardrobe. The choice of what to wear is still theirs, make choosing a little easier for them.
4. Speak softly.
Parents tend to result in yelling when things don’t go their way. When you raise your voice, it dampens the atmosphere of the surrounding environment. Slowly, all the positivity leaves the room, the child starts to feel like they did something wrong, he or she becomes slower, trying to figure out what he or she could have done to upset you. That feeling might follow the child to school, stay in their mind all through class activities until you find that your child was unable to participate in class like they usually would.
It’s easy to lose your temper but remember that your actions make or break what would be the rest of your child’s day. Regardless of the situation, do not let your child perceive a negative emotional state through the sound of your voice. Speak in a soft, gently tone and offer advice and respectful correction where need be.
5. Do not rush them.
This might be the most crucial advice I’d give any parent. Do not rush your child. Do not impose your sense of time on the child. Do not introduce unnecessary anxiety into the child’s system.
Children are very perceptive. They will sense your anxiety growing and mirror it. This feeling will make them stumble and make mistakes they could have easily avoided if they weren’t so jittery and anxious.
If you have to wait longer then you expected, I suggest you wait. Wake up a couple of minutes earlier to account for additional time spent, do what is within your power to mitigate this problem without interfering with the seamless flow of your child’s morning activity. Any attempt to rush the child will only be counterproductive. You risk dampening your child’s spirit whilst leaving even later than you would have.
Children are sensitive, put that into consideration when you are getting them ready in the morning. Make sure that those few hours you spend together in the morning are fun and enjoyable. It will help your child leave the house feeling happy and more open to engaging in activities from which they learn and grow.