Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Minimizing Morning Meltdowns [PART 2 of 2]

Continuing from this week's earlier post, mornings can be an extremely stressful time for everyone involved. Getting yourself out of bed, dressed, and ready to go and then doing the same for the kids, all while being on time and remembering everything, is a seemingly impossible task. All of this chaos can make the chances of a meltdown much more likely, especially due to the early morning hours. Luckily, there are some strategies to minimize the likelihood of those morning meltdowns- whether they are from you or the kids! 

1.  Just relax. When you have kids and a busy schedule, not everything is always going to go according to plan, but that's okay. When you feel yourself getting wound up or frustrated over something, just step back for a minute and take a deep breath. Getting angry and upset over situations aren't going to make them get accomplished any faster or go any more smoothly.

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2. Give up some of the decision making. This is especially true for kids with a tendency to rebel against your decisions. Giving kids options and making them feel like they have some input is a great way to minimize the meltdowns. Let the older kids choose their own clothes for school, as long as they are laid out the night before. Give the younger kids a few options of what outfit they'd like to wear. Even if the outfit wouldn't be your first choice, let some of that freedom go and it will feel like a huge weight off your shoulders. This freedom of choice extends beyond just clothes, like what they would like for breakfast. Do they want apple juice or orange juice? A bagel or cereal? When kids feel like they have some control they are much less likely to complain. However, it is important to make it clear that there are certain things that are just not up for discussion- like if they can skip breakfast or pack whatever they want for lunch. If they know ahead of time that these things are nonnegotiable, they are less likely to argue about it.

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3. Prioritize! Having priorities that are clear and fair will help to de-stress your mornings on those days where things don't go according to plan or you're running late. Brushing teeth and getting dressed must come before watching t.v. or going on the computer. Even having priorities for yourself if important, like making sure everyone is up and ready before checking Facebook or your phone. Kids tend to follow by example, so if you are still in your pajamas and texting on your cell phone, they are going to complain about having to get dressed and ready. 

4. Make mornings fun! Just because it is the morning and people are trying to get out the door, doesn't mean it has to be stressful. Keep the mornings light-hearted and fun -- maybe even make getting ready into a game. Have a contest to see who can be ready the fastest. Offering rewards or praise for good behavior can also go a long way to keeping kids happy and well-behaved during those busy mornings. 

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