Debbie’s mornings are all about yelling at her kids (ages 6, 7, and 12).
“Brush your teeth.”
“Comb your hair.”
“Eat your breakfast.”
“Put your homework in your backpack.”
“What’s taking you so long?”
“What’s the matter with you?”
“Hurry up. You’re soooooo slow.”
It pains Debbie to hear those words come out of her mouth.
Debbie needs clear strategies to help her family get out of the door without stress.
Mornings are hectic for many families. Mornings are hectic AND stressful for families with kids who are affected by ADHD and/or anxiety.
Kids dawdle and may be slow to get dressed. Mom and Dad may be getting ready for work.
Setting up routines that help children independently accomplish their morning tasks will limit the chaos, stop the yelling, and bring peace to your home.
We also need to make an effort to communicate face to face with our children in the morning. We cannot parent from the kitchen or from the couch. Take the time to walk up to your children and give them direct instructions up close.
Be personal, loving and clear.
If you’re yelling from another room, “Get dressed!” you’re not setting up the scene for a happy, calm morning.
Our children feel stressed, worried and scared when we’re in the habit of rushing in the morning. This makes everyone defensive, angry or anxious.
What can we do to help our children?
Develop routines. Begin by sitting down with your children and having them write or draw their morning, afternoon and evening routines on a marker board or sheet of card stock to hang on their bedroom door. This provides your children with a visible of their to do list.
C-0-L-L-A-B-0-R-A-T-I-O-N IS KEY! Anxious, angry and intense children often respond well to collaboration.
Collaborating with our children encourages them to buy-in. Take the time to sit with your children and talk about what a successful day looks like.
Help them learn to plan out a day filled with small specific accomplishments. Helping your children think about, discuss and imagine what a successful day looks like helps them to be better at organization, planning and task completion.
Here are 5 Simple Ways to Make Mornings Less Stressful
1. Create a clear-written morning, afternoon and evening routine for each child. Write down their tasks in order, with their help, so your children begin to develop an internal rhythm regarding task completion. It can really help if the task list is a picture schedule. Help your children draw or cut pictures out of magazines to make their own picture schedules.
MY MORNING ROUTINE
Get up and use the bathroom.
Put on my clothes.
Go to the kitchen for my brain food.
Brush my teeth.
Get out the door with a smile.
2. Wake up before your children in order to get dressed yourself. Let face it. The whole shower, do your hair and get dressed process takes time. You need to build this time in before your children are up. Your morning routine is a model for your children’s preparedness.
3. Before your children get up, prepare a healthy breakfast, do a quick clean-up of anything left out from the night before create a welcoming morning environment for your family. Leaving for school or work with a well-organized house will make coming home at the end of the day is a lot brighter.
4. Pack lunches and school snacks the night before. If your children are old enough to pack their own lunches, you can make this part of their evening routines. You might even choose to prepare paper bags or small boxes of nutritious snacks on Sunday evenings, so that your children can grab-n-go with ease.
5. Make a backpack preparation the night before task. Those permission slips, water bottles and homework are best ready-to-go by the back door before breakfast.
Children rely on their parents to get their routines and tasks accomplished. Yet kids can be more masterful and accountable when they know exactly what is expected. Consider the tasks of everyday living that each of your children can accomplish based on their age, skill sets and developmental level.
Helping your children experience morning success by being organized, helping them plan ahead, and creating multi-sensory opportunities for them to monitor and manage their morning activities.
Loretta Holmes, M.A. CMHWC is the owner of Bella Coaching Services. She has 10+ years as a special education teacher, graduate courses in clinical counseling, and is a certified ADHD and Anxiety Coach. Loretta uses her teaching and coaching skills to help families affected my ADHD, anxiety, or anger overcome their fears so that they can live a peaceful, calm life. Got a question? Contact Loretta at firstname.lastname@example.org