Dealing with sleepy heads, morning rush, trying to figure out which kids is doing what or tired of being your kids’ Palm Pilots? And school just started!!! Here are parenting solutions I shared this morning on Canada AM
Back to school means you’re slowly getting back to your old routine. But it also likely means you’re dealing with kids who are still on a summer schedule. Here are a few tips for frenzied parents who may need a little encouragement to get their kids out of bed, fed and dressed before the school bell rings.
Sleepy Heads: If you recall most of last year screaming “Wake Up!!” it’s time for your kids to take ownership. Buy simple-to-use alarm clocks, and teach kids how to set it so you don’t have to be their “Big Ben.” My favorite alarm for kids who are perpetually late is called Clocky. It gives your kid only one chance to get up, and if you snooze, he literally jumps off the nightstand and wheels around the room. Also start getting your kid back onto the right “time zone” before school starts so he can “ease” into that schedule. If he’s already started – then watch out for those later night weekends which can ruin havoc. And use that oven timer to remind procrastinators that of time constraints. When it dings, you’re in the car – whether the kid is dressed and ready or not.
Breakfast Mania: If breakfast time is frantic and your kids seem to be missing the “most-important meal,” search for quick, healthy alternatives. Instant oatmeal in a cup, bananas, and juice boxes can be ready to grab-and-go. Extra protein bars can be stashed in backpacks for just-in-case hunger cravings. And put out those bowls and cereal the night before. If you’re really frantic stock your car with extra nutritious goodies. But don’t skip that breakfast!
Morning Rush Identify last year’s one reoccurring nightmare that set off that morning panic attack and then institute one simple solution to cut morning frenzy. Put a box by the door to “catch” those library books, screw in big hooks for coats, make an extra set of car keys (for your). The key is to turn the new solution into a routine until everyone (even you) adopts the new sanity saver habit. If lost teacher notes, school notices, or conference schedules was a reoccurring problem, set a new family policy: “Walk in, open your backpack, and put any notes or graded papers in the basket.” Then put a basket near that door, and consistently check it nightly. Tend to those needing your signature, and put them ASAP inside your child’s backpack for next day delivery.
Schedule Overload If your kids relied on you as their personal manager to recap their schedule, then it’s time to help them get organized. Buy a large white board and grease pens. Use a different colored pen per child for each child can mark his own weekly music lesson, soccer practice, field trip, sharing day, and spelling test under the date and time. Then put it in a central spot (such in the kitchen or on the fridge) so everyone instantly knows who goes where. Photographs or drawings of the event and family member help even the youngest family member keep track of who’s doing what and where.
The real secret to success: just choose one “nightmare” and create one simple solution. Then stick to it until it becomes a routine!
All the best for a positive school year!
These ideas are adapted from my new book, The Big Book of Parenting Solutions: 101 Answers to Your Everyday Challenges and Wildest Worries and it’s available now.
For more parenting solutions follow me on twitter @micheleborba or at Michele Borba.