14. April 2011 00:46
As soon as we had our third child we realized our family dynamic wasn’t a democracy anymore, we had become outnumbered. Over time the three of them grew wiser, smarter and more clever in out witting us and they are kids 1/3 our size! How could this be? The best thing I can explain is that they learned at a young age they had us at the cry and we would come running. But then one day we woke up and realized the sympathy (or guilt if you call it) of helping our kids turned into allowing them to completely control the house and they weren’t even paying the bills. My husband David and I weren’t raised this way and grew up in the days of “Kids are to be seen and not heard and before kids we were the people that huffed at children that would cut in front of us and under our breath say “What a lack of respect. Those parents should teach them some respect.”
So how did we get here with our own kids! We had decided that it was time to take the house back and to do so we had to strategize together and plan a zone defense. We have been working hard to do this every day and one of the best ways that we keep hold of this is through organization.
For starters we wanted to get the morning going on a good and positive direction - starting the day off right is the best place to start. Now, I have to admit I taught the kids some really bad habits - the “5 more minutes please” technique when daddy tried to wake us all up started the morning in a tizzy. (I have since apologized for this bad habit being passed to our kids and removed this from our morning ritual.) But after the 5 more minutes please we would get arguments over what to wear, what to eat, how to brush your teeth and what lunch to take to school. Before we knew it we were 20 minutes late to school and everyone was exhausted from the frustrations of the morning.
So one way we helped our morning and got the kids to start listening is by adding the Get Ready Morning Clock!
I bought a plastic ($3.99) clock from Target and sectioned off the morning activities into time blocks. I am not a degreed psychologist so I don’t have the luxury of always having perfect solution and tools for every moment, but through trial and error I have learned that children are very visual and love to feel that they are in control of their actions. Giving them two choices for their cereal, two choices for the shirt they wear or two choices for their lunch provides them the ability to feel “control” over the decisions they make (even though the two choices were made by mom or dad and both were complete acceptable.)
Our little clock has saved the mornings – they know if they don’t eat by ¼ past the hour they just simply miss breakfast and they know if they don’t brush their teeth and grab their backpack at 10 minutes till the hour they miss the bus. We blackened out the hour hand, hiding it at the 11 o’clock hour so that our 5 year old who is just now learning to tell time wouldn’t get confused with the two hands moving around the clock.
This little clock has been a lifesaver in the morning. I wouldn’t say the mornings are like sunshine and a perfect Sound of Music moment singing through the blocks on the clock, but they sure do help the kids visualize what needs to be done and what we expect of them, thus showing us respect for what needs to be done in the morning.
We are continuing to work on our Zone Defense and together we are making small steps towards organizing our life to make the day happier and easier on all of us.