How to Be on Time in the Morning, Part 3
Okay, ladies. Here we are. #3 in the series on being on time. What seemingly impossible task can I tell you to do today? (Has anyone else noticed I have a thing for bossing you all around, or am I successfully keeping it a secret? Lol.)
Yesterday, I talked about how it’s their job to go to school. Yes, you are the mom. Or dad, I’m cool with that. You are the parent and you have a legal obligation to make sure your children are in school. BUT. What does your school handbook say about how they go to school? (I’m not talking transporation, here.) Stick with me, okay?
Ideally, we send our children out the door (or out of the car, or onto the bus), looking perfect. Their socks match, their outfits well coordinated (oh, I envy you uniform schools!), their hair is perfectly in place, their tummies full of nutritious breakfast, and their backpacks zipped, containing every piece of homework, form, and book needed to return to school. This is real life though, and real life isn’t quite so perfect.
My next tip for being on time is
3. Give your child the chance to learn natural consequences.
What you need to do is let go of any perfection that is slowing down you getting out the door. As parents, it is our job to teach our children responsibility, as well as natural consequences when we fail our responsbilities. If we rescue them over and over by bringing them homework, driving them to school because they slept in and didn’t have time for breakfast, or were just moving to darn slow to eat breakfast, we will raise children who depend on us to save them and are unprepared for the “unfairness” of life.
Guess what? If you don’t have time to get dressed, the natural consequence is that you go to school in pajamas.
- If you don’t have time to get your hair styled, the natural consequence is going to school with messy hair.
- If you don’t put away your homework and can’t find it in the morning, the natural consequence is not getting credit for the work you’ve done.
- If you are moving too slow to eat breakfast, or you sleep in past breakfast, the natural consequence is going hungry, or going with only a piece of fruit as you head out the door.
- If you are late to school, the natural consequences are explaining to your peers why you are late, as well as missing important information at the beginning of the day.
Is this mean? Perhaps, but school is about learning, and getting ready for school has just as many opportunities for learning as school itself. Being on time is a skill, one with which you yourself may struggle. Giving your child the chance to learn this from a young age isn’t cruel, it’s providing them ample opportunity to learn this skill.
To what age is this applicable?
Well, on the one hand, I wouldn’t put your kindergartner in charge of getting to places on time. Chances are your kindergartner has no real concept of time; which is why using this chart is a handy tool. But I have dragged my preschooler out of the house crying because she wasn’t wearing pants. As I buckled her into the car I explained that she told me “no” several times when I asked her to put pants on. When we arrived at our location, she quickly and eagerly put her pants on, and the next time we left the house, she complied with no defiance.
So while this suggestion is mainly for older children who are able to get themselves ready for school with not much help from you beyond nagging, it can be helpful for younger children as well. We have a new rule in my house: I don’t nag (I use a timer or offer friendly time reminders), but you leave the house with whatever you are wearing when it’s time to go.
There are so many more ideas and posts I could give you on this subject; because it’s something I struggle with (and learn from!) on a daily basis.
A few tidbits:
-arrange a carpool or a walkpool (if you walk to school) with their friends. Kids are very motivated by not keeping their peers waiting!
-give yourself 5 extra minutes if you are consistently 5 minutes to school. Even if it means waking up 5 minutes earlier.
-use rewards. Use a sticker chart, and every day they are on time for school they get a sticker. ‘X’ many stickers equals a prize (we often work towards Doughnut Days before school!)
-a small “ride to school” treat goes a long way. A sucker, a Tootsie Roll, or some non-food related prize can be an easy bribe on days that you need to move quickly
-children who are ready before it’s time to go can be given a few minutes of snuggle time, TV time, or reading time
Speaking of a sticker chart, I made one for you! I’m all nice like that. :) Print it off and reward your child when it’s all full of stickers.
Okay, now it’s your turn. What are your ideas for how to be on time in the morning? Post them below to make this a great resource with all of your ideas!