Wednesday, November 11, 2015

5 Tips to Be a Better Parent before 8 AM

By D.M.F, 8 years old.

By Anna M.*

The hour that I fear most on week days is 7:45 AM. It's when I have to get my 8 and 10-years-old sons ready to go to school.

But there's more. I figured that my heart pounds faster (for the wrong reasons) all the times I have to make sure that they will get ready to go anywhere on time! From birthday parties to music classes... It's when motherhood kidnaps the best from me and transforms me into a monster mom and even a yelling woman on the verge of a neurotic breakdown. I am sure I am not alone. When I talk to other moms at school they all agree it's a tough time to be a parent.

Well, before I share my latest strategies to avoid the daily drama, I had to outline the reasons for my stress. The main one is the frustration of having to repeat the same thing over and over again. Really? I have to repeat every day that they need to eat breakfast, brush their teeth, etc etc etc. It kills me slowly up to when I totally lose my patience. So that's the first thing I have to solve. The second thing that drives me nuts is basically their easy way of getting distracted, either playing with the cats, talking about some new strategy on Minecraft or even about the weather! And the third is the fact they forget to put their snack into the backpack or something like that.

So, here are a few ideas I am developing to make this moment easier for our family:

Sharing the Reasons _ As I always tell other people, parents and educators can explain the reasons why we are asking the kids to follow instructions, so that each action has a deeper meaning. That said, I sat down with them when we were are tranquil and explained the reasons for each of the things they have to do before leaving home. As basic as why leaving their shoes close to the door will make your life easier, to why we brush our teeth before leaving for school.

To Do Lists _ We wrote down a list of things to do before the morning after. Such as picking the clothes to wear and organizing homework in the backpack. That is helping them to  organize their mind and be aware of smart time management. If I get to solve this and be consistent, maybe I will be able to eliminate one more angle of our morning drama.

Menu Planning _ I found that my boys like predictability. So I am working on a weekly planning for their school lunch, so they know what to expect. Once they prefer to bring lunch from home, as opposed to eat from the cafeteria, they are keen on sharing their opinion and wishes. But they also know that if I am working on that morning it might be difficult to make everything ready, so they might have to cope and eat an "emergency" lunch at the cafeteria.

Empathy _That's probably the hardest one. I remembered when I was a 10 year old trying to figure how to be efficient and catch the bus school on time. I remembered that wearing a uniform helped a lot, so I just had to ask for my mom to have everything ready and clean. But then there were all other things: homework in the bag, etc etc.  The main thing was not to get distracted by something which would make me loose track of time. So I have to remember everyday that children sometimes have other interests and might be easily distracted. Even my boys...

It's all about love _ Kissing them goodbye, hugging them and being warm. That's by far the best part of my morning: They feel appreciated and it gets easy to find that all I do is because I love them and want them to grow up being able to manage their schedule, because that will make their life easy.

* Anna Muggiati is a mom of 2 boys. She's energetic, but not a morning person. She is a journalist, chef and currently POVI's Content Manager. She cares about the environment and loves cooking, and extends her advocacy to EQ. She joined Povi mission to develop better conversation for families for the social good; also help admin the EQ for kids group at Facebook.

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  1. Thank you for this explanation of the morning drama. I have twin almost 4 year olds and I can't believe it is going to get worse, so this prepares me. However, there is one thing I do not understand. Are you a single mom? If yes, then all is clear. If not, where is your partner in all of this? Why is he/she not responsible for all of the organization and getting ready as well?

    1. Hi Dinah! Thanks for your comment. My husband also suffers with the morning drama, but is mostly engaged on international conference calls (therefore he's busy) and getting ready to go to work when all craziness begins. When he volunteers at school, things get a bit easier because they all have to go together. He also shares the same strategies - and stress_ as me, as on Saturday mornings I sleep in while he gets them ready for their music classes. So it's everybody in the same page : ) Good luck with your 4 years old twins : )

  2. I have twin at 6 years old. I have same experience as you in past 2years. Get myself n kids ready before get out to school was so hectic, it can easily take an hour or more before send them to school. I also find my way to solve this out. And now I can cut 50% of the time to get ready myself n kids before get out from my house and send them to school. Because now they do everything by themselves in the morning. Not only in the morning even after school, they also know what they need to do from first thing to last thing before go to bed. Discipline for kid is very important, have to train them from young. And our patient is utmost important, as we have to keep repeating the same thing. But, when the day is come where they can do everything by their own without asking them to do. You will feel satisfy. That's where you see them grow.