I can pretty much guarantee you that all my recent mornings have been supremely pleasant. My husband, John, and I have had on our bucket list a trip through the Panama Canal. And today, through the miracle of technology and planning ahead this e-zine is coming to you as usual but I am on a ship cruising toward to Canal.
So, I thought I’d talk to you about mornings.
School-Day Mornings Can Be Pleasant
Mom gets up in the morning and has a relaxing shower. Dad heads to the kitchen where he puts on the coffee and sets the table for breakfast. He is then ready for his shower. Once Mom’s dressed the children, Jay 8 and Madison 10 jump out of bed ready for the day. They dress in the clothing that they carefully laid out the night before and come the kitchen for breakfast. Breakfast is a happy meal with laughing and talking. Then the kids grab their backpacks and head out the door in plenty of time. They walk to school together ready for yet another day of studies.
Well, that may happen somewhere but for most of us it’s a dream. But dreams can also be goals. And a new school year is a time to set new standards. How can we organize ourselves so that at least most school mornings will run smoothly?
Decide today that this is a goal and involve the family in making it happen. It starts with day one. So plan now. I’m going to let you in on a little secret. Your children don’t like the chaos and confusion in the morning any more than you do. They would like to arrive at school calm and ready to settle down to work. So work with all your family members to see what works best for you.
What to wear? Organize the closet so the school clothes are all together. If your child is a slow starter in the morning, have her choose her clothes the night before, but is she’s a morning person let her wait until she’s out of bed.
Plan breakfast and lunches ahead of time. How you do this is up to you. Some families set the breakfast table the night before so they’re ready to go. Some make lunches at night, others in the morning. But involve the kids. They will eat the lunches they prepare. Of course you need to set some guidelines about what goes in the lunch bag.
Now here’s the big question. How much time do you really need? I bet it’s a bit more than you give yourself. Yes, get up a bit earlier and it will be worth it. Being organized can make your mornings better, but bottom-line if you haven’t allowed enough time for everyone to use the bathroom, have breakfast and get their stuff together all the organization in the world is for naught. In many families as little as fifteen minutes can make all the difference.
Other things you can do to improve the morning is to give each child her own alarm clock and teach her how to use it. Stagger wake-up time to avoid bathroom congestion. Keep soap, toothpaste, combs and the like in a convenient place which is low enough for younger kids to help themselves. Simplify your kids clothing, the easier it is to put on the faster they get dressed.
Finally, keep the television turned off. It’s distracting and engaging and the kids just aren’t going to keep moving along if it’s on. Breakfast can be a family time. Take a few minutes to chat, to connect and get ready for the day. It will be worth it.
I have always known that each child is a unique individual. I looked at my two who are as different as night and day. Then I consider my siblings and we are a texbook example of different.
But, now I have three grandchildren, all the same age and the differences from their births has been striking. Just before they were born I was thinking about the two movies about Snow White and the Seven Dwarves and this also caused me to think about the differences of people who live together.
The result is the e-parenting mini guide, Vive la Différence: Raising Children with Different Temperaments
Parenting Today is keen to speak as part of your professional development event, parenting workshop or workplace wellness support program. I offer keynotes and workshops, have written books and have ongoing newspaper columns, books, blogs and newsletters.
And, no matter what the actual topic, they all share a basic value that I call:
P — is a parenting plan
U — is unconditional love
R — is respect for your child as he is right now
E — is encouragement
These make up the framework of any resources that will come from Parenting Today. These four pillars are the essential ingredients for raising healthy children who will develop into capable young men and women.