Mornings had become a bit of a strain in our household. With both my children now in middle school, and no longer what I would call “amenable” as they once were in their younger years, the time to get ready for school was causing a lot of stress. I felt like I was turning into a nagging mom in the morning as I told my kids what had to be done. They in turn, definitely not morning people, would plod along, taking forever to do anything, and would drive me up the wall. Instead of happy mornings that started the day off right, we were all left rushed, haggard, and annoyed with each other.
So after a lot of thinking and researching, I turned to the one thing that my children are always more than happy to listen to… their smart phones. It was the perfect solution. I could remove myself from nagging my kids to get things done, since with a little programming of the phone, the phone would tell them what to do. (In retrospect, I probably should be a little put off that my children listen to an inanimate object more than their own mother, but I was just happy to have my children ready to go to school and me still happy with them…whatever it took to get there!) And because each one of my children is unique, as they keep proving to me, each one needed a slightly different approach to the same problem.
Child #2 … The Playlist
My youngest child takes the longest to get ready in the morning, so factoring that in; he is the first to wake up. He has some special needs, and does need me at least nearby in the morning, but I still wanted him to have some direction to what things he needed to get done that didn’t totally involve me. This is my child that loves music, so we made a playlist for him to listen to as he begins his day. Each song prompts him to do a task. It starts with Wake Up by the Verve Pipe. Then it transitions into the Rubber Ducky Song from Sesame Street (my pick…just couldn’t resist!) to cover the teeth brushing, face washing, etc. part of the day. Next up is a parody of a Miley Cyrus song we found on You Tube called Get Dressed. My son actually loves the challenge of making sure all of his clothes are on before the end of the song. Last we listen to Cereal by the Verve Pipe and School Song from the musical Matilda, as he finishes up his morning tasks and makes his way towards the kitchen for breakfast.
Child #1 … The Alarms
I programmed my oldest child’s phone with 5 different alarms. I do make sure I am there when his first alarm goes off. As mentioned before, he is not a morning person, and often needs some cajoling to get out of bed. Once he is on his feet, and the second alarm has sounded, I go downstairs and make lunches and breakfast while he goes through his morning routine. He shows up in the kitchen about 20 minutes later, ready to go with all tasks complete, and we sit down to a quick breakfast.
This has been such an improvement to our mornings. My children are ready to go to school, and I stopped being a nagging mom (at least in the mornings). It is a win for all of us.