In many households, the morning routine and school rush are characterised by chaos and frustration…
Some parents have children that display enthusiasm in the morning, so waking up and getting ready needs minimal power struggles. Some homes have the opposite! Kids have to be begged to open their eyes, let alone get dressed or ready for school.
When you start the day in frustration, it can easily run away with you and become chaotic.
Certified Hand in Hand Parenting Instructor Kelly van Rooyen is a lucky mom. Her two children do not struggle to kick off their blankets in the morning. She is, however, aware of children that are not excited about the idea of getting out of bed on time.
Kelly has a few suggestions for these families.
Check if your child is sleeping well
Even as an adult, optimal sleep is recommended to feel rejuvenated and tackle the tasks of the day. For a little developing brain, sleep is key.
Kelly asks “are the kids going to bed early enough? Is the room dark or warm enough?”
These are some of the contributing factors to your child’s sleep quality and will determine whether or not they are physically and mentally up for taking up the day.
What time should my children be sleeping?
The National Sleep Foundation (NSF) has compiled a recommendation for parents that can guide them on how much sleep children need.
- 0-3 months old: 14-17 hours
- 4-11 months old: 12-15 hours
- 1-2 years old: 11-14 hours
- 3-5 years old: 10-13 hours
- 6-13 years old: 9-11 hours
Understand the nature of your child better
How many adults do you know that are not ‘morning people’? Plenty. The same rule applies to kids. They know very well that they have to get out of bed and ready for school, but fighting their nature is a challenge for them.
“We have to look at our children’s temperament,” Kelly says.
“Your kids might just take longer to wake up than you do,” so it is important to acknowledge that and find ways to navigate it. You could wake your children up a few minutes earlier than usual to make waking up a lot better.
Kelly’s children require cuddles with mom before they start their day. Maybe your child needs some connection before they can start, or just need five minutes of quiet before they jump of be. Plus, cuddles solve any problem.
Involve them in the routine
The lack of autonomy for children can suck the fun out of anything. As they grow up, children want to assert their independence. You can tap into this yearning for power by giving them some choice.
- What would you like to wear and eat tomorrow before school?
- What do you wanna do first when you wake up?
- Do you wanna brush your teeth before or after the bath?
Making them feel like they are part of the morning routine makes the morning less parent-directed. Kids learn to make choices, and subsequently, learn to be accountable for them. These lessons could equally be relevant to other parts of their lives as they grow up.
This is a difficult one to ask from parents who grew in the “my way or the highway” household. Modern parents are required to learn the children in foreign ways to how they were raised. Kelly calls it a new “language” of parenting. Learning it takes us time, but creates some results.
Don’t reciprocate bad energy
Lastly, grumpy kids should never be grumpy parents. This not only teaches your children that their moods have a power of you, but it could equally ruin everyone’s day. Remember, a happy mom is a happy home!
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