My husband and I went out to dinner with some friends recently and, as most parents do, we got talking about the children, all of whom are primary school age. My friend turned to me and said “what I’d give to get to 9 o’clock with no stress, tension or shouting”. To which my husband retorted “set your alarm for 9.01am and lock the bedroom door”! Mmmm, I’m glad he’s not a coach!
Many of you parents out there will have experienced, no doubt, that really frustrating 10 minutes, just before you have to leave the house, when everything goes pear shaped…….EVERY MORNING!!
Any of the following sound familiar?
- “I thought I asked you to get dressed?”
- “Your socks are where they always are, in your draw!”
- “Does dancing in your pants, mean the same thing to you as brushing your teeth?”
- “Have you packed your bag? What do you mean you can’t?”
- “Put your shoes on. Put your shoes on. PUT YOUR SHOES ON!”
- “I asked you to put your coat on, not to do model poses in the mirror!”
I’m sure you can add a few more! But what I adore about my kids and why I love them so much is their ability to enjoy every single moment. They live completely in the present, they don’t worry about what might happen in the future, and don’t give a second thought to what’s been before! They love the fun, excitement, adventure of every moment, they love to daydream and use their imagination, and are able to smile and laugh at anything. My daughter pirouettes to school some mornings! I never remember doing that?! But maybe I did and I just can’t imagine feeling that free anymore. I’m just envious I guess that I am no longer carefree, free of responsibility, free of social expectation, free of the burden that being a grown-up brings! That’s not to say being a grown-up is all doom and gloom, in fact there’s lots I love about being an adult, but it’s definitely far from the carefree life of a small child that I sometimes hanker after.
What would be possible if we felt more ‘carefree’? What if we could let go of a few of the rods we’ve made for our own backs? What if we changed a few things around and made that early morning time with our children a fun and happy one, rather than a stressed and shouty one? Would we all start the day feeling happier.
If you’re wondering how, here are a few suggestions:
- Sleep – At least 7hrs. You can’t blame the children if you’re a little worse for wear or didn’t go to bed early enough.
- Focus on you – I know some children rise early (mine included) but try to give yourself enough time to shower and get dressed before the kids appear.
- Exercise – If you have the chance to exercise before the children appear, great! Alternatively, you could all stretch together.
- Prepare – Do as much of the prep for the school run the night before.
- Sing – Play your favourite tunes whilst getting the breakfast, sing out loud and move to the beat. Your children will love it!
- Eat – Make sure you eat the most important meal of the day, breakfast. Sit down with the kids and make it a family time. Talk to them about the day to come and what they’re most excited about. Plus, take this opportunity to remind them of what they need to do before leaving the house!
- Team effort – Make all the chores a team effort and reward for good behavior. My children get pocket money for helping to empty the dishwasher for instance. Establish some small simple routines that give them a little bit of independence.
- Manage your reactions – Only you are responsible for your reactions! If you can feel the pressure building, do a pirouette, take a big breath & count to 10.
- Set realistic expectations – Don’t expect to get half your to-do list done before the kids have gone to school. You’ll feel like you’re always failing if you do!
- Smile – even if you don’t feel like it, force yourself to smile, you’ll instantly feel more relaxed!