“Back to School” Morning Gospel…continued

Now, on the morning routine, which I think we will all agree is the worst thing since XBox live…

A follow-up from yesterday’s post, we now go through steps 3-6 of the morning routine I have found very helpful:

3. SETTING THE ALARM CLOCK:

I figure the average kid will take at least 30 minutes from the time the alarm goes off to the time they actually get their feet firmly planted on the floor. I also figure it take the average kid about an hour to get ready. This is a surprisingly conservative time estimate given they only have to get dressed, eat breakfast, brush hair & teeth, get their backpacks, and walk out the door.

My kids have to be out the door by 8am (school starts @ 8:30am), so I set their alarm for 6:30am (no snooze). I go in into their bedrooms around 6:45am, and they are still snoring even with music blaring in the background. I shake them a bit and tell them (nicely) that it’s time to get up. About 15 minutes later (7am), I go back into their rooms and more forcefully tell them they have to get up…NOW.

This is a two-step process for me to avoid the inevitable whining, complaining, and confrontation that accompanies a forceful wake-up call the first time. I find they feel a bit guilty and have a greater sense of urgency when I come back a second time.

4. DO NOT ALLOW YOUR KIDS TO EAT BREAKFAST BEFORE THEY ARE DRESSED:

This is asking for trouble, in my opinion. They are going to be slow, cranky, and unfocused in the morning. Why prolong the pain by letting them eat first? I’ve noticed it takes them significantly longer to get ready doing it this way.

5. DO NOT HAVE THE TV ON OR LET THEM TURN IT ON UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES:

Your morning routine might involve watching CNN, The Today Show, etc. while making your kids lunch in the morning. Even if you are watching something that should have no interest for them (like Bloomberg TV), they will still turn into ‘TV zombies.” My kids can’t function with the TV on. It could be a commercial for life insurance and they will watch it in the same zombie-like trance as if it was an episode of Sponge Bob Square Pants…

If putting on Nickelodeon in the morning was part of your morning routine to keep your kids out of your hair, it’s time to break the habit. It will be painful on all of you at first, but you should ultimately experience less stress in the morning. Ironically, a fair amount of friends/parents I know have more trouble letting go of TV in the morning than their kids.

6. THE REWARD INCENTIVE

Because I’ve found that following these steps has actually resulted in my kids being ready early (I’m not making this up), I tell them they can do whatever they want as long as they are out the door by 8am. My daughter loves the Disney Channel, and my son lives to spend every extra waking moment playing computer games (Minecraft in particular). This added incentive has positively reinforced the ‘time efficiency’ in the always-crazy morning routine.

Try it, and let me know. If you are already doing some of this stuff, let me know. If you strongly disagree, let me know.

And, good luck…

 

 

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