Is it possible? I’ve noticed that the morning “routine” if there is one (!) comes up at virtually every parenting lecture I attend. We could be talking about nutrition, and people are drawn like a parenting magnet to the discussion of how to make mornings less stressful. The deadline of the school bus or carpool brings on additional stress, as parents and kids rush around, half awake, to complete school lunches; assemble backpacks; eat breakfast; and sprint out the door.
I’ve written about the importance of preparation and night prior vs. morning of focus. I saw a great newsletter from a Dad Blogger I love to follow, Kirk Martin of Celebrate Calm that had some fabulous ideas I wanted to share here…
Stress Free Mornings by Kirk Martin, Celebrate Calm (excerpt below)
1) I want my child to own his choices…and corresponding consequences. Do not fight your kids over wearing a jacket to school. Many kids hate that confined feeling and their bodies run warm–they don’t need that jacket. They prefer elastic waistband shorts or sports pants, sandals and a hooded sweatshirt whether it’s 98 degrees or 18!
Resist your OWN preference for a coat. When your child gets cold, he will learn to wear more layers or a jacket. Seriously. Chill!
2) When you wake your kids, slip an envelope under their pillows with praise (“I am proud of you for x choice…”) or a special challenge (“Bet you can’t find the Lego fire engine I hid outside!”) This is just one of several hundred practical strategies we can use to help our kids be successful…and us less stressed…during morning, homework, dinner and bedtime.
3) Perfectionists will cringe at this, but it works! Allow your kids to sleep in the clothes they are wearing to school the following day. It’s magic. They sleep better and wake up, happy to be ready…without the fight. Just spray them down with Febreze or anti-wrinkle spray. And enjoy less stress!
4) Freak your kids out and use the power of praise to turn the power struggle into an opportunity to build confidence. Try this today.
Kirk also recommends we look at our own stress level as a contributor and find ways to decrease our stress as well. That gets to the “show, don’t tell” model that is woven through tons of parenting articles, and is more challenging when tempers are flaring, but undoubtedly, more powerful!
Great ideas, Kirk!
What other ideas do parents have to take the stress out of mornings?