I saw a Facebook thread recently from a mom who was struggling with her morning routine. As a newcomer to the Charleston area, she was asking if the 7:20 school start time was normal or if that was temporary. She said that the mornings are tough. Getting her kids to school this early was a struggle.
I can relate. Combine the early start time with a little boy who loves to dream and play and we have some stressful mornings.
Of my two school aged kids, I have two very different people. One gets up easily, eats his breakfast, gets dressed, brushes his teeth, gets his socks and shoes on and is standing at the door with his backpack on, waiting on us to walk out the door. The other, not so much. Sometimes he wakes up happy and other times he wakes up grumpy. Happy boy wants to talk and play. He wants to look at books while he “eats” his breakfast. He wants to fly star wars ships over his cereal bowl and pretend to crash land them into the sea of milk. He wants to tease his brother. He talks to himself while he “gets dressed.” I find him in the bathroom making faces in the mirror instead of brushing his teeth. Every morning he complains about his shoes . . . he can’t find them, those aren’t the ones he wants to wear, can he please wear the cowboy boots that give him blisters. AND WATCH OUT if he wakes up grumpy. All of this same energy turns into a BEAR.
Yesterday, my happy/grumpy boy was sick so we let him sleep in. My other son was up, we had a quiet breakfast together where we got to talk. He got ready so quickly that we sat on the couch and read a book before leaving. It was calm and peaceful. This morning, grumpy did not want to go to school. He fussed about his shirt, his underwear, his shoes. By the time he left the house, Mama needed a nap. I had only been awake for 30 minutes.
We’ve tried earlier bedtimes (they already go to bed at 7pm!). We’ve tried earlier wake times to give him more time to get ready. I lay out his clothes every day to prevent arguing about what to wear, plus he wears a uniform. I make sure that at least one pair of normally acceptable shoes are close by. But sometimes, it just doesn’t matter. Some mornings are rough, no matter how well rested and prepared I am.
And the things is that I love the part of him that is always dreaming of flying ships and faraway galaxies. I don’t want to discourage him from dreaming. I want to help him recognize the times that are for play and the times that are for “business.” I think it’s reasonable to expect a certain degree of cooperation and helpfulness. I struggle with what this looks like for him.
I’ve never been much of a chore chart person. I’m considering some type of chore chart where he can earn stickers for completing his morning tasks without complaint or constant reminders. These stickers could culminate in a bigger prize at the end of the day or week. Here are the tasks he needs to complete every morning:
- Put clothes on
- Eat breakfast
- Brush teeth
- Brush hair
- Put on socks and shoes
Does anyone else struggle with this? I would love to hear how you handle it. Tips and advice would be greatly appreciated. If I stumble on something that works for us, I will let you know!
And here’s the reason why I will never stop trying to figure out what’s best for these guys. I mean, look at them? It just doesn’t get any better than that.
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