the morning rush

imagesA lot of what we’re about here at ideas for thoughtful parents is sharing subtle frame shifts in perspective and behavior that lead to more desirable results, whether in a child’s response or in a parent’s mood. Last week’s post was about stating requests in a positive light. This week I’m sharing a counter-intuitive tweak in our morning routine, because HOLY MOLY, we are dragging in the morning!  OK, I get it – it’s cold and dark, and the warm bed in January as the house is just starting to heat up is pretty hard to leave. So what to do when my son has 15 minutes to get out the door and he’s still horizontal?

Instead of going with the “hurry up!” option when the panicked, wild-haired, flush-cheeked child realizes the time, I go for the “no worries, we’ve got plenty of time.” Rather than “we’re going to be late!”, I opt for the casual and measured “Take your time. I’ll put your lunch in your backpack.” If you go this route, the way in which you say it really matters – draw it out, put the calm in your voice. It’s contagious.

And while “hurry up!” leaves everyone feeling bad, “we’ve got time” gets you is a less stressed kid (one better able to focus on actually getting ready), a nicer start to the day for you, and the chance to be helpful, supportive, and connected in the moment you launch your child into his or her day.

Full disclosure: this approach does require a certain desire on a child’s part to actually be at school on time, as well as a child capable of completing necessary tasks in the time available. So whether it’s 15 minutes or 30, as long as you’ve got someone invested in a timely arrival, this can be just the thing to smooth the morning rush. -t

2 Responses to the morning rush

  1. I can attest that this works! A Waldorf school teacher once said to our class, “It will take 10 minutes to get out the door,whether you spend your time saying ‘hurry up!’ or whether you take a moment to connect with your child where they are and pleasantly move in the direction of the door.” And, when I tested it, she was right.

    Our mornings have become so much more pleasant once I calmed myself down and assumed that we had enough time. Because, we did always get out the door. It was just how we were getting out the door, and once I realized that I was driving the frenzy,or at least had a role in it, the whole morning changed for all of us.

    I do also make sure that everything is in the direction of exit. For example, we don’t go back upstairs to brush teeth after breakfast – that would be backwards movement. I put toothbrushes and toothpaste for them in a bathroom that is on their way to the door.

    One note: While this might not work for everyone, it actually can work for a child who isn’t invested in being at school on time, so there is always hope!

    Thanks for sharing this – so fun, and a much better way for everyone to start the day.

  2. I thought this was a fantastic post. For me to remain more calm with my son in the morning, I needed to wake up at least 30 minutes earlier (my blog last week http://www.pixiesdidit.com/sharks-in-pools/2013/1/31/kellys-morning-routine.html?lastPage=true&postSubmitted=true). Waking up earlier is tough for all types, but more easily achievable for Classics (SJ), Organic Structures (NFJ) and Smart Structures (NTJ). Your idea works for anyone really and that’s what makes it brilliant.

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