Do you find that despite best efforts to be organized the night before (clothes picked out, lunches made, etc), you are constantly on your kid(s)’ case to get a move on and end up being late for work?
Very frustrating. But some parents have it all figured out! Here are five strategies that work:
1) Find out how long you actually need!
Seems obvious, but do it, you will see the benefit! Check once how long thing would take if everything ran smoothly, add 10 min for unforeseen delays, then make sure everyone gets up early enough to make it work.
2) Make a list that they can follow
Kids love lists! Make a list with pictures and words for all the steps… You can buy one or simply create a PowerPoint slide with the images for the things that had to be done in the am, then order them, giving them on some things no choice (eg. brushing teeth) and then a line with a limited number of choices for food or clothes.
3) Role play it!
Make it a “play and learn” moment: role play leaving in the morning with you reversing roles. Do one where you exaggerate the worst possible behavior, laugh about it and then role play what is to be expected. Even four year olds get how frustrating it is to have to nag someone to get going and showing them what you would find helpful, allows them to know what is expected as sometimes they simply don’t understand the words used. We also watch episodes of “Convos with a 2yr old” as these short 3 min webisodes are so funny and so true – and help my kids realize how silly are the things they sometimes do.
4) Check – are they actually hearing you?
A busy mom reports successfully using the book “How to Talk So Kids Will Listen & Listen So Kids Will Talk” by Adele Faber, Elaine Mazlish. She gets her child state your request back to you so you know they’ve heard you, then says”Ok, I know you’ve heard me. You are responsible enough to do your task now and I won’t remind you again.” Here is how she summarizes what happened next: “It SHOCKED me to realize how often my daughter wasn’t actually hearing me. Once I get her to repeat the request, she often does it without much resistance!”
5) Why not? Have them sleep in the clothes they will wear!
If their day care / school clothes are comfy, why not wear tomorrow’s clothes to bed? Some kids do that and initially parents are a bit shocked at the idea, but then realized this is BRILLIANT for saving time in the morning. There’s always silliness picking out and putting on clothes, so why not get it out of the way at bedtime instead of when everyone’s rushed in the morning?
In my own family, over the years, being a busy physician and now an entrepreneur, leading myBestHelper, I often get the question of how we cope with life with there kids. We did do all of the strategies above, and made sure nannies followed the same routine. In addition, now all three are in school, we got rid of the morning blahs by allowing electronic games on iPads and iPhones in the morning AFTER they are fully ready (brush teeth, breakfast, lunches in bag, dressed etc). What was great is that there is also no arguing at night when they are getting ready to go to bed! They willingly going to bed early so they can wake up early enough to do it all so they can get 20-30 min of electronics (which are otherwise not allowed on weekdays).
Dr. Alexandra T. Greenhill, physician tech entrepreneur, mom of three and founder CEO of myBestHelper, creating tech to help families thrive