FLYing into a New School Year
This time of year everyone is writing articles on how to get the children ready to go back to school. I know this is an important topic for you but we have left out the main person that has to get the children ready for the first day of school; YOU!
You are the one who has to get up and get the family moving each morning. It is your responsibility to make sure they go to bed and get the rest they need to have a productive day. Your summer has been filled with a “happy-go-lucky” spirit. No one really had a bed time or their alarm set for morning.
Then when it came to mealtime; everyone just ate whatever they could find when they got hungry. What happened to the structure in our day? What happened to our routines? If we are going to expect our children to jump on the routine bandwagon then we better be there leading the way; not just barking the orders.
We teach best by our example. Not just a simple do as I do, but an example that is set in love and from the heart. If you are not taking care of yourself; you are not going to be able to take care of your family and show them the value of routines.
Most of our lives we have run around putting out fires just to stay on top of housework, bills, jobs and the responsibilities of parenting. If you are a born organized person these things do not take a toll on you, but if you tend to get sidetracked then you know about putting out fires. A born organized person just gets things done and the people around them do not even know that it has been done. If you were raised by a born organized person you have experienced this for yourself when you got your own place. Wasn’t it a shock when the toilet started to grow things? Who knew that it was cleaned on a regular basis?
If you are this born organized person I am not putting you down. All I am saying is your children don’t know that this is what is happening. So when you tell them to go clean the bathroom or their bedroom they have no clue. Mainly because it was just easier for you to do it yourself than to show them that there actually is a routine to housecleaning and most things in life. For the other 80% of us that are not born organized there is hope! We can learn to be organized. Imagine that! Taking the methods that a born organized person does naturally and using them to help us gain control over our homes and lives and in the end give our children the tools to go out into the world on their own. Born organized people can’t even teach us sidetracked people what they do, because they have never had to figure it out; they just do it.
I have watched the people in my life that are born organized and what I have noticed is they tend to do the same thing in the same order every single morning. At first I thought that must be so boring and then I realized that it was brilliant. The brilliance comes from having the mundane things in life taken care of so you can have fun. Isn’t that what all of us really want; to have little fun. We love fun and most of the time we are having fun; except when we are beating ourselves up because the kids are late to school again because you over-slept.
It is time for us to go to school and learn something that will help us enjoy life without the guilt we place on ourselves. I am going to call it FLYing School. We will start our first lesson with our before bed routine.
Without a before bed routine; you are running around the house in the morning in a panic. This is when we forget things. Your before bed routine helps you to start your morning on a calm step.
1. Lay out your clothes for tomorrow. Even if you have to do a load of laundry to accomplish this at first; it is better than having to deal with it in the morning when everyone is rushing around. When you lay out your clothes, your children are going to see you doing it. Now here is the fun part and we love to make things fun. Set your timer and make a game out of it.
2. Think about what you have to have when you walk out the door in the morning. Establish a launch pad by your front door. This can be as simple as a coat hook or table. If you have several children; one lady put an old dresser base in their entrance and each child had a drawer to put their items for the next day. Use this space to put back-packs, brief cases or what ever you may need so you don’t have to run home in a panic to retrieve the forgotten musical instrument. If you set this example your children are going to use it too; with a little suggestion from you.
3. Go to bed at a decent hour. This is the most important part of a before bed routine; start thinking about it long before your actual bedtime. Mine starts right after dinner with a bath. Now don’t tell me you have to help the children with homework because I am going to give you some tips for homework in another routine. Establish a bedtime for everyone in the house and this includes you. You may not need as much sleep as your babies but my guess is you are getting enough as it as. We tend to want to play till the wee hours of the morning and then try to drag ourselves out of bed with only a few short hours of sleep. This has got to stop. You are like a little baby that has gotten his days and nights mixed up and you are trying to function on no sleep. This ineffective habit is killing you and telling your children that it is fine to not take care of yourself. You have to go to bed to set the example for your children. When you start getting the sleep you deserve you will find it easier to get up in the morning. Here is the reward to you and your babies; a parent that is not grouchy in the morning. It will happen if you will quit making excuses for staying up late. This is not the only time you can be alone.
This is a simple three step routine that will make your morning run in a smooth fashion. You are going to love the peace that this brings to your morning. As these things become a habit; you can add a new habit but do not pile on too many at one time. Take babysteps.
Next let’s think about your morning. Let’s not think about how it used to be; let use a simple morning routine to get you out the door and in the car without the bad mood.
1. Your first step in the morning is to get up 15 minutes before the rest of the family. You are the director for this routine. You have to be dressed to shoes before the family gets up. I know this sounds difficult because you need coffee to get going and your morning show but stay with me here. It is important that you are fully ready so that when plan B happens you are not standing there in your jammies while everyone is getting in the car. Get dressed and get that out of the way first. This is so empowering to your day. Your clothes are already laid out. Hop in the shower, fix your hair, put on your make up and put on your clothes. You are going to love feeling this good. That extra sleep is going to help. I promise.
2. When it is time for your children to get up then have them get dressed first too. The longer they stay in their pajamas the hard it is to pry them out of them. One parent had a rule; You could not eat breakfast till you were dressed to shoes. Don’t worry about them getting breakfast on their school clothes; that is what napkins are for. No whining allowed.
3. Tell the whole family what time they are expected to be in the car. Always factor in a grace period for flat tires or traffic problems. Leave the house 15 minutes before you normally would. Getting to school early is not a bad thing. It start your child’s day on a calm not panicked note. It also keeps you from rushing and most accidents happen when you are rushed.
Now for the routine is that is going to help you have more time for yourself. It is your after school routine. The children are not going to like this, but you are the director here and this is an important lesson for everyone.
1. As soon as you all walk in the door. It is time to start homework. Now don’t shake your heads no! Hear me out. If you put it off till later; later becomes the evening and then everyone gets stressed out. Now is the time to take care of homework and get it out of the way so your evenings can be spent doing family stuff not stressing out over homework. I realize that the children have been in school all day but use the fact that they are in this routine to their advantage. Now I know that all work and no play makes Jack and Jill unhappy campers. You are going to have to reschedule your shopping runs till after the homework is done. Do not get sidetracked taking care of the things in the afternoon and put your children behind the eight ball when it comes to their homework.
We can make this fun. Use your timer. Set it for 15 minutes and tell them that if they will work steadily; not speedily or half done that after the timer goes off that you will let them play for 15 minutes. You have to be firm. Do 15 minutes of homework and 15 minutes of play; keep repeating it till all the homework is done. You will be so surprised at how fast they will get their homework done. Now here is another good thing about using the timer. You can get dinner started during the 15 minute session and play when they play. Do you see the example you are setting for them.
A timer is a valuable tool for keeping us focused. We have never been lazy. We just want to have fun. Using a timer allows us to focus on what we have to do and celebrate when it goes off with a little enjoyment; the best of both worlds.
Routines are not the straight jackets we have always thought that they were. They free us up to have fun and keep chaos from hurting us and our children. Use them and you will learn how to be organized. Take babysteps in establishing your routines and let your timer help to keep you and your babies focused on the fun things in life.
Are you ready to help your children FLY through a new school year?
Perfectionism is Shelved in 2012!
This weekend I wrote something special for the Kids in your home. It is a Student Control Journal. I wrote it from a stand point of keeping their parents off their back. There is a warning on the front of it! I hope this will connect with the kids.
Student Control Journal
Parents Keep Away
There is a link in the back to school section on our homepage too.