Archive for the ‘morning routine’ category

“Pretty smart — for an adult.”

November 11, 2010

I LOVE the feedback the young people deliver to me — through the parents, who are being coached on the Raising Able Family Management System.

Example one: “Freddie” is 14, a freshman in high school, and has ADD. His mother often nags, chastizes, bosses around, reminds, praises, punishes and rewards him for various behaviors. She has trouble keeping track of all of the agreements and punitive measures.

When Mom wanted Freddoe to keep food scraps to a minimum in his bedroom, she got him to comply by taking away his X-box headgear. This is NOT related, respectful and reasonable. We are working on a plan for the two of them to empower him to clean up his area to prevent roaches and mice by using encouragement, expectation and teamwork. 

Freddie likes to stay up late playing video games, and his mother could not figure out how to persuade him to get more sleep. Nagging and threatening did not work.

In desperation, she followed my suggestion, which was this: “Freddie is old enough to start making decisions for himself. Let him experience the natural consequences of staying up late and feeling like mashed mud the next morning.”

“It only took him two months,” said Freddie’s mother. “I told him who suggested it, and he said, ‘She’s pretty smart — for an adult.'”

I think Freddie is “pretty smart” for a teen.

Example two:  The mother of “Emily” came to my six-week class to learn to set limits for her 7-year-old mini-tyrant. Mom started making small changes and implementing plans for chronic situations, like the bedtime routine.

When Emily resists and challenges — as is normal with a new system — her mother says, “I learned about this in my class on the Raising Able Family Management Plan.”

Emily said to her mother, “Tell her ‘That’s enough of that plan.‘”

In the long run, the Emilies and Freddies of the world, and their families, are better off with a consistent plan.

Both of Emily and Freddie are only children — which adds to the challenge. Every time their parents master one stage of development, the child has matured and moved on to something new, and the parents never get to use the knowledge again. The dynamic of two adults to one child is challenging because the child must navigate in an adult world; and three is a crowd. There are many successful “only” children.  It is just a different scenario than having two or more children.

I enjoy the youngsters’ feedback because it means the parents are managing their emotions and expectations, and using encouragement and empowerment to get the children to do what they want — the signature of a good manager.

Set a nag-less routine

August 23, 2010

The secret to smooth morning routines is empowerment. When children and teens are given the opportunity to manage their time and affairs, parents can relax.

When allowed to make decisions and experience the consequences of say, sleeping late, forgetting lunch money, missing the bus, young people will make better decisions. The goal of parenting is to nurture independence so when children become teens they will make good decisions when 60 miles away, going 60 miles an hour.

Start by teaching morning self-management in kindergarten forward. It will eliminate a huge source of family conflict and nagging. The key is to coach them, give them the tools and then treat getting out the door as their problem, not yours.

Download my tip sheet on how to create a nag-free morning experience. Start with a family meeting and providing each child with an alarm clock. Be patient for three weeks and encourage them to meet your new expectations. Either say something encouraging or keep quiet. If necessary, go to another room!

Be willing to let them fail if they don’t plan properly — without breakfast because they didn’t allow enough time or without homework because they couldn’t find it. Parents can offer neutral statements such as, “The bus will be here in five minutes. Do you need help?” Give enough rope to burn but not enough to hang.

Remember — it’s their challenge to learn to manage getting up to an alarm clock and allowing time to get ready for school. Practice the double E — encouragement and expectation. Notice what they have done: “I see you packed your lunch last night. Good idea,” or “You have one shoe, do you know where the other shoe is?”

When parents change their behavior, children will respond. You can do it — have a plan and stick to it. It will transform your morning routines and give your children skills for life.

Teens have to learn the hard way, just like us

May 6, 2010

I surfed into this story about “Allison” who refused to get enough sleep for more than a year, despite pleading and arguing by her mother. It’s a great example of my 60-60 theory.

Teens have to decide how much sleep to get. Teens are charged with  making good decisions. Feeling tired all the time is the natural  consequence of not getting enough sleep. Parents are helpless to  "make" teens go to bed early. Parents have to allow teens to  make their own decisions and feel the love and logc.
Photo illustration by Sean Simmers

“For a year, I led Allison to the water, with few results except comments on how I was ‘ruining her life’ and ‘punishing her.’  Then after a full year of us enforcing a bedtime routine, Allison started to go to bed on time without complaint!

“I was, I am, beside myself with joy. I asked her, ‘What made you start going to bed at 10:00?’ Her reply, ‘Oh, I just got sick of falling asleep in class all the time.'”

This is an excellent example of how teens make their own decisions and live with the natural and logical consequences of them. Nagging and arguing didn’t work for Mom, neither did yelling at her every day and night, according to Mom. Allison had to get sick of falling asleep in class all the time.

Here’s one method to teach good decision making for children in preparation for adolescence: to use the first dozen years to allow children to experience the natural and logical consequences of their decision making. Parents must practice minding our own business when kids don’t do homework, forget lunch money, library books, uniforms, instruments and more. Experience is the best teacher.

By the time they’re teens, hopefully they will have had enough practice choosing well that they can be trusted when they’re going 60 miles an hour, 60 miles away. Their lives will depend on it, and there’s not much parents can do about it at that point.

Why start the day yelling?

April 15, 2010

A common woe from parents in my workshops is “I have to yell at my children every morning to get them out the door.” The child can be from 2 to 22.

Here’s a three-step plan to set a positive morning routine for Dawdling Danny and Still-snoring-Samantha.

1. PLAN. Have a family meeting. Put on the agenda “Morning Routine – Mom.” It’s usually Mom who cares about getting the children out the door in a certain condition. Ask the children for ideas for a smoother morning routine.

Implement their suggestions and add yours, such as create a check list with times: “Meg gets first shower at 6 am;” “Breakfast done by 7:55;” and “Can play or use computer ONLY when you’re ready.” Give every child an alarm clock, teach them how to use it.

They are more likely to comply when they’re involved in the planning and are expected to conform.

2. IMPLEMENT. Commit to following the new routine for three weeks. Work together to empower them to take responsibility for getting ready.  Control your emotions.  Take action:  decide to let go of the problem or leave the area. A mother of a teenager goes for a walk at 6 am for a walk to avoid morning hassles with her daughter.

It is the CHILD’S problem to get out the door dressed, with homework, lunch money/lunch, backpack, instrument, scout uniform, diorama, PE clothes, permission slips. Don’t take it on.

3. DO NOT INTERFERE. This takes restraint. One mom said when she implemented the new regime, “My son didn’t take a shower for a week because he didn’t get up on time. They forgot their lunch money and homework. It only took a week for them to learn.” Her children are 13, 9 and 6 years old.

Remember, as Jedi master Yoda [thanks to my nephew Eric for the correct identification of Yoda] said, “Do or not. There is no try.” Children can see through insincerity. This strategy works. Your family will be happier with a calm start to the day.