These no-nonsense pointers will help you remove a large portion of the last-minute stress that comes with every weekday morning.
9 Ways to Boost Your Child's Attitude Before the Bus Arrives
by Jackie D. Igafo-Te'o, Bridges4Kids
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What can you do before your children walk out the door to help them feel they can conquer anything?
Feed their mind, body and soul each and every morning. By making a few simple changes before the bus arrives, you can have a big impact on how your children handle events at school.
1. Plan Ahead
Do your children lag behind in the morning because they can't find matching
socks or their homework?
Start preparing the night before. Lay out clothing (including socks and shoes), sign all papers, pack lunches, and put everything by the door. This may sound simple but it really does cut down on morning stress and anxiety.
If your child takes medication, use a pill organizer so you know if the child has already taken the morning meds. A hectic morning could result in double-dosing. Avoid this at all costs.
2. Get a Good Night's Sleep
A good night's sleep can never be underestimated. Parents, this goes for
you too. Lack of sleep causes health problems, job performance problems
and stress at home.
Be firm. Set a reasonable bedtime and then let your children EARN a later bedtime based on their daily performance. For example, base bedtime could be 9:00 p.m. If the child does well that day at school and at home (no bad reports, no time outs) then they can extend to 9:30 as a reward. They may go from complaining about 9:00 p.m. to actually APPRECIATING 9:30 as an alternative.
3. Rise and Shine: Parents
Learn to embrace the morning. Wake up 15 minutes early and make yourself some coffee or tea. Sit on the porch in the morning air and breathe in the fresh air. A slow start will give you more patience to deal with unexpected events that come your way.
4. Rise and Shine: Kids
If your kids are still young (like mine) you can use a a little more creativity.
There was a time when getting my kids up was like awakening a couple of
beasts in a cave. They'd whine "No, I'm tired" or "I just
went to sleep" or "I hate morning!" -- and the list goes
One day, I thought I'd add a little spice to morning. I was going to let
them control the process.
My children LOVE music so I cranked up the stereo. Within five minutes they were all up and singing along. This was a miracle! Now, we do the same ritual every morning. Loud music CAN be good for the soul.
When my kids were younger, I sang to them until they woke up. "Rise
and shine lazy, sleepy head. Get your lazy bones out of the bed!"
I picked a goofy song from my own childhood (Patch the Pirate) that they
would surely smile about.
5. Time to Get a Grip
Even kids need time to adjust to a new day. Don't wake them up
with only 15 minutes to spare! This is a recipe for disaster. As parent,
we usually make some time for ourselves - even during our drive to work.
Remember: Kids need time to prepare for the day, too.
6. Talk to Them
Use the extra time you saved by preparing ahead to talk to your children before they leave for school.
Ask what they will be doing at school that day, or if any tests are coming up. Get to know their schedule and their morning rituals. This will help to keep the channels of communication open between you.
7. Laugh with Them
Laughter is something we all can indulge in -- and it doesn't cost
us a thing.
Tell your children something funny before they leave for school. Even
if it is something silly like reading the comics on the cereal box,
in the paper, or telling them something that happened to you on the
previous day - - let them know that you can laugh.
8. Feed Them
Remember: garbage in = garbage out. Breakfast is the most important
meal of your day. Don't skimp or skip. Your child needs nutrients
in order to learn.
Make a hot breakfast. Read the ingredients on cereal boxes and make
healthy choices. Make sure that something of value to your child's
health is contained in your breakfast choices.
9. Hug Them
As your children get older, they may be less affectionate and “touchy-feely.” Don't let that stop you! Never let your child leave your home without some type of physical interaction with you.
Hug your child for a few seconds longer each morning. Tell your child
that you love them. A hand on the shoulder, a high-five, a kiss and
smile - - use whatever works for you and your child. Make that important
You never know what the school day will bring.
Jackie also maintains web sites for other organizations including Early Childhood Michigan, Detroit Parent Network, and the Wrightslaw Yellow Pages for Kids with Disabilities.
Jackie lives in Michigan with her husband (a soldier in the Michigan Army National Guard) and their three children. Their oldest child is a star math pupil who happens to have ADHD. He wrote a book about his life and how he deals with ADHD.
Their second child is an artist. He was diagnosed with Autism at the age of 3, Impulse Control Disorder at age 9, and bipolar disorder at age 11.
Their youngest child is doing well in school. Being the sibling of
two children with disabilities is difficult and rewarding. She
wrote a book, My Brother
Has Autism (with some help from her mom), to express her feelings
about being a sibling. Her book was illustrated by her brother who
Bridges4Kids provides parents, educators, and others the information they need to help children who might be at-risk or have special needs.
3520 Okemos Road. Ste. 6 -150
Okemos, Michigan 48864
Web: www.bridges4kids.org or www.earlychildhoodmichigan.org