anonymous black woman with daughter sitting on bed near retro alarm clock

This small change made school mornings much smoother

If you struggle to get your child to the bus stop on time, or always feel like you are rushing to make school drop-off, I know you have researched multiple tips to ensure a speedier, stress-free way of getting your child to school on time.

My Child Was Easily Distracted In The Morning

I am the parent of a child who dawdles in the morning, and, if left unchecked, would stay in his PJs happily building LEGOS or drawing. Now, before, anyone jumps on this sentence as a means of suggesting he’s not enjoying school, know that, my kid does indeed like going to school. He is not trying to stall in order to miss or be late to school; he just struggles to understand the concept of time and how to manage it accordingly.

I Incorporated Helpful Tips Into The Routine

As a parent, I have taken the guidance of others and incorporated them into the school routine. I require both of my kids to pack their bags the night before, and make sure everything they need for school is ready to go. Though others have their kids choose their outfits the night before, the weather here can change frequently, and we do have to wait until the morning to know what to expect. To expedite that process for my time-struggling youngest, all of his clothes are in accessible, labeled bins.

I also follow the advice to ensure my child has a clear understanding of the morning routine. For a long time this meant using a physical chart on his wall, however, he is now able to guide himself through the process.

Despite Our Best Efforts, Mornings Remained A Struggle

Still, even with taking the recommended steps to improve my child’s efficiency in the morning, I found myself scrambling to get him out the door. I would wake my son up earlier the next day and still end up feeling rushed.

This Realization Changed Everything

Then, I realized what I was doing wrong.

I was giving him TOO much time.

I assumed he needed extra time to accomplish all of his tasks. Yet, what I found was that excess time was creating more opportunities for filling the void with distractions. My son would eat breakfast, and, thinking he had plenty of time to play, would get lost in that activity and forget he still needed to brush his teeth, get dressed, etc. Even, if he accomplished all of his tasks and was “ready” to go, the extra time still ended up causing issues.

I Had To Re-Think Our Routine

Thanks to an adjustment in our bus pickup times for the kids, I had to re-think the morning routine for my youngest. From wake-up to walking out the door, he now has about 40 minutes to get ready. This allows him enough time to eat breakfast, use the bathroom, brush his teeth and hair, get dressed and walk to the bus stop, while still including enough cushion to allow for any morning setbacks.

Understanding How My Child Functions Was Key

For children like my youngest, an abundance of time can be as overwhelming as too many choices in the ice cream shop. Their brains struggle to process the breadth of input, causing them to shut down or otherwise act out in an unproductive manner. Providing a shorter, yet still sufficient amount of time for him to get ready in the morning, has helped keep my child on task and made mornings smoother and less stressful for the whole family.

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