Do you feel like you’ve done a day’s work before you’ve even left the house in the morning? Me too!
The hours between 6.30 am and 8.30 am my house are the stuff of nightmares. There’s shouting, screaming, temper tantrums and I am sure if it were socially acceptable there would be wine!
A typical weekday morning in my house goes something like this. I drag myself out of bed around 5.30 am (yep, seriously). I do this to give myself enough time to wake up properly, purely so I’m not a horrible person when the kids get up.
Wake the kids up around 6.45; sorry let me re-phrase that; I START to wake the kids up around 6.45. Waking them up usually takes until 7.15 – 7.30 ish. I’m getting just a little irritated by the time they actually crawl out of bed.
Then it’s repeat yourself for the next hour with “get dressed,” “put your socks on,” “Why are your underpants still on the table”? All while trying to get breakfast made, breaking up fights and checking everybody has everything they need for school. By now I AM a horrible person!
At 8 am I am usually throwing half-dressed kids in the car finding missing shoes and in need of a couple of Migraleve.
That bloody routine thing
Kids love routine; now I’m pretty sure I’m not speaking for myself when I say so do parents. Especially the kind where our kids aren’t being complete ass holes! The monotony of mornings is bad enough let alone when you’re getting wound up by miniature versions of yourself in a strop.
Hands up who fancies something to take the weight off your shoulders. Yes, please.
Recently I’m loving routine cards; whats more so are the kids. I would say I can’t believe it, but truth be told, the key to getting kids to do the things you want them to is consistency. Pretty simple in theory, eh, the problem with kids is they don’t seem to be consistent at all.
These serial offenders need routine. Setting up a system with which they have to comply and making it fun is one of the easiest ways to get them on board.
A routine is a set of step by step instructions or tasks that need to be completed to achieve a specific goal.
How our system works!
Our current system is an interactive visual wall chart. Ice cream to be precise. Each of the kids has a cone and six scoops displaying specific tasks they need to complete to create their whole ice cream.
Each morning the kids’ race around getting things done so they can add the next scoop to the top.
It’s great, I hardly have to get involved at all!
Now with any great routine system to keep it exciting, engaging and likely to continue, you’ll need a great reward system too. This post here explains rewards in more depth.
How to set up yours
Print out these pages here (updated version) The best thing to do is laminate them.
Cut out the shapes and grab some Blue tac and stick it on the back.
Now they’re ready, in the morning the kids can assemble them.
Sit the kids down and explain the cards to them, making it sound like a game. Be sure to let them know there will be rewards for anybody who completes their ice cream every day that week.
Cunning parenting tip: rewards don’t have to cost money it could be something you’ve already planned to do. Just by telling the kids it is happening because they’ve done so well, turns it into a reward. Fancy that!
The serious stuff from the psychologists
Experts say routines play an essential role in a child’s emotional, cognitive and social development. They help children feel secure and comfortable and enable them to understand the expectations of their environment.
Routines can significantly reduce the frequency of behavioural problems.
An important thing to remember is when a routine is followed consistently it helps make life more predictable for children and adults alike.
So with all this in mind and your cards ready to go here’s hoping there will be some calmer mornings on the horizon. Phew!