Starting the Day on the Right Foot

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I get up at 4:45AM, start the coffee, glance at the days weather report, do the little bit of exercise I have the time for before I have to start waking up the kids.  I have to make breakfast, make lunches for all three of us, I put “Happy Radio” on Pandora and turn on all the lights.  I go to my kid’s room and start dancing like a wild woman, tickling them and lifting the cats up to their beds in an effort to wake them up in a good mood.  All of this, and we’re still late to school way too often.

It’s no easy thing to get your kids to school on time, but it is very important to them, and to the school. Close your eyes and think how you feel when you get a late start on your day.  You never mentally quite catch up.  Each task of the day feels like you’re one step behind.

Imagine how frustrating it is to watch the great new tv series everyone is talking about but having missed the first episode.Do you ever read a book but skip the first chapter or come in in the middle of the best office gossip and not even know who it’s about?

Imagine now being a child feeling the same way.  Whether they’re in preschool, elementary school or high school, they need to feel they are an essential part of the group, that they belong there and they are ahead of the game each day, not always two steps behind.   You want what’s best for your child; you pick the “right” school,  go to bat advocating for whatever they may need and checking all of their developmental milestones.  Getting them to school on time helps them achieve success in school by starting each day with confidence in the knowing that they are part of what’s happening in their world and not just a bystander.

The morning meeting, the advisory period or homeroom is where the “to do” list of the day gets written in school.  The kids who arrived on time have already gotten a chance to say hello to their friends, to have their version of their morning coffee (a run, tumble, gossip or joke).  Then the teachers call the morning meeting and it’s time to get focused, pay attention and raise your hand to participate.   This is the part of the day that sets the tone and makes the schedule for the rest of the day.  When kids walk in late to this part of the day, not only is the late comer a step behind, but all the rest of the kids turn around to see who just walked in the door.  They wait to see where that person is going to sit and wait until the teacher regains their thought.

There are lots of tricks to get your kids, and you, out the door in the morning.  1.  Set your clothes out the night before.  2.  Get backpacks and lunches together the night before.  If you don’t like making the sandwich ahead of time, pack the rest and just leave one thing to do instead of five.  3.  Set your clocks 5 or 10 minutes ahead.  Even if you know they’re wrong, it still gives you that little mental encouragement to be ready.  4.  Set up incentives for the whole family!  Give a quarter to each child that’s ready on time each day for their piggy bank or put a sticker on a chart for each day everyone is ready and reward the whole family at the end of the week with a special night out!

It’s hard to be on time everyday.  In my house, it’s hard to be on time any day!  The best way to teach a child is to show them a good example, if you’re on time, they’re more likely to try to follow your lead.  Be honest with them if this is a hard thing for you.  Tell them how hard it is, but why it’s so important.  Let them help you and in turn , you help them and you become a stronger team that’s on time for school and work.

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