Getting Out the Door on Time
It’s the morning rush hour – not the one on the roads, but the one in the house! Everyone is rushing around trying to get ready, the clock is ticking, and it can feel as though your children are doing everything they can to make you late.
For many families, mornings can be the most stressful part of the day. So, we asked one of the world’s best-known parenting experts, Professor Matt Sanders of the Triple-P Positive Parenting Program, about how to make mornings less stressful – and more likely to get out the door on time.
He suggests making sure you set the timer for a reasonable amount of time and avoid giving repeated instructions or nagging your child to hurry up – once they have been instructed and the alarm clock is on, let them take responsibility. The good news is that it will often only take about two weeks of beating the clock before the rewards and the clock are phased out.
Also, Professor Sanders says it’s very important to remember to praise your child’s progress and achievements in learning to be better organised in the mornings. Ideally make your praise specific, discerning and genuine, concentrate on efforts rather than results, and be a good role model yourself. And give yourself a pat on the back too!
Here are Raring2go!’s Top 5 Tips for a stress-free morning:
- Start by getting yourself ready first, before your child. It’s helpful to prepare some things the night before and go to bed at a reasonable hour so you’ll wake early enough. Late nights are a sure-fire way to make the mornings more stressful.
- Don’t turn on the television before breakfast. It’s far better to make sure the children are dressed before they eat their breakfast, and then perhaps, when they are fully ready you can turn the television on.
- Let your child know ahead of time what time you’ll all be heading out. Explain exactly what the day’s activities will be and tell them clearly what their time requirements are.
- Help younger children learn the importance of being organised. Encourage them to do things for themselves. For example, teaching children to get dressed by themselves is a chance to practice independent skills - and it will save you time!
- Turn getting ready into a game. For example, you could try the “beat the clock” game. The idea is that your child’s goal is to be ready before the alarm clock buzzes. If your child wins, s/he earns a small treat or reward, such as a favourite snack in their lunch box. It’s important to tell your child exactly what tasks s/he must do to be ready to leave and thus win the reward.
Professor Matt Sanders is the founder of the Triple P -Positive Parenting Program®, based on over 30 years of ongoing research and used around the world. One of the goals of the Triple P - Positive Parenting Program® is to empower parents by providing them with evidence-based knowledge, skills and strategies to handle various parenting challenges.
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