Getting kids to school on time is very important but is it my fault if they are late?
I am a mother of two kids and they both go to elementary school. I have struggled with getting kids to school on time more times than I would like to admit. Sure, I had my reasons:
"kids had poor night sleep"
"kids had to use the bathroom last minute"
"kids forgot something"
If you notice they all started with “kids” – Was I blaming them for my own lack of better parenting skills. It sure wasn’t the best can of worms to open but I knew that if I didn’t open it, there was no way I was going to clean it.
The Lesson: When my children got to school late, not only did they miss important instructions and time with their friends, they also felt embarrassed and self-conscious. My kids had even started to develop a fear of going to school. They didn’t want to disrupt the class routine and most importantly they didn’t like feeling anxious about what their peers had to say about their lateness. Lateness affected their self-esteem and social development. I wasn't doing this on purpose, but clearly there was a gap that we needed to close.
The Resource: Not to my surprise, one day I got called into the principal's office. I noticed that I felt like I was in trouble, like I would as a kid. I didn't like it so I decided to have a heart to heart with the principal; I didn't repeat my excuses because she knew them already. I also told her that I was not proud of myself for having been called to the principal's office. She laughed. After breaking the ice, I told her that I was putting on my 'student hat'; she was respectful in return but most importantly she provided me with her best advice about getting to school on time:
Get your child to bed at 8:00 PM and set your alarm to get up earlier
Set realistic and consistent schedules and rules at home.
Do whatever is necessary the night before to save time in the morning, such as setting out clothes, packing lunches, and setting backpacks at the door.
Create a set morning routine that your child can easily follow (i.e. washing hands and face, brushing teeth, dressing, making the bed, and eating a healthy breakfast).
Avoid any distractions that can slow your child down, like TV or games.
My Attitude: I can do this! I know all these!!!… I was doing some but not consistently - and that was the gap. I decided that it was time to take control and break free from this self -sabotaging habit.We have started reading together as a family before bed time at 7:30 PM - that helps them get to sleep by 8 PM
We have created a schedule and rules chart and posted it in the kitchen
We get everything ready the night before
We created a picture poster to display our morning routine
We now like to play a rhyming word game or the synonym word game during breakfast.
The Result: It was not easy at first but now I am happy to say that we have only been late once this year. We are happier. Kids are getting better grades and are confident in their ability to accomplish tasks. Now, they even look forward going to school. They believe in themselves again – my daughter said "Mom, we can change our habits!"
For you: If you struggle with getting your kids to school on time as I did, I encourage you to follow all of the 5 tips above for a week, and I guarantee you will not want to go back. Also, please do share your tips on how you get your kids to school on time - we are all a work in progress. Instead of looking to blame someone else or yourself, focus on what could be done to fix the problem. The path will show itself, then you just have to walk it. Wishing you the power to change your children’s life for the better.