Tips for stress free mornings
- Wake up before the children and get yourself ready
- Have the children lay their clothes out the night before
- Allow ample time for getting ready without rushing. I allow 1.5 hours before ‘leaving the house’ time. 1 hour is doable but 1.5 is better for us (keep in mind that both my girls have special needs and at times it is necessary for me to physically do all the ‘getting ready’ for both children. Such as physically dress them, do their teeth etc depending on how well they are functioning that day even though they are 9 and 4 years old)
- Prepare as much of school lunches and snacks that you can the night before
- Write yourself a to do list to keep yourself on track
- Use visual schedules, checklists and visual timers to help older children manage their own tasks and time effectively. Note, these may make things worse for those children diagnosed with PDA- pathological demand avoidance. It is best to ask them for their opinion on what would help them and trial that; put the ball in their court.
- When the children wake up, remind them of what is happening that day and the expectations consistent with boundaries. For example, what would happen if you didn’t get dressed and ready for work in time? You would either be late (and get in trouble at work) or you’d have to leave the house in your jarmies and no teeth done to get there on time. It’s the same for children. If the children are boundary pushing, restate the boundary, state the consequence and follow through. An example of this is my eldest has pushed the getting ready on time boundaries a couple of times over her 6 years of schooling (I am not talking about ASD meltdowns or sensory issues but legit behavioural boundary pushing). I stated that if she was not ready by 8am (she could tell the time) that we would be leaving regardless and I would bring her things to get ready at school. She laughed and mucked around despite me offering to help her if she needed. At 8am we left. I packed her uniform, toothbrush etc in a bag and took her to school. She had to get ready at school. She has done this 3 times in 6 years (I actually worked at the school at the time so she got dressed in the staff room or my classroom but still, had I not worked there I would have followed through regardless). Always follow through with the consequence you have given, so be careful what consequence you give (eg don’t say no more iPad ever – because will you really do that?!)
- No technology or tv in the mornings
- Teach the children self care skills they need in order to be independent (dressing, brushing teeth, hair, packing their own lunches, and bed making) when you are calm and not pressed for time. These are vital life skills and the earlier you teach these, the earlier they can be independent which means less work for you long term!
- Consider getting a carer or support worker to assist some mornings. There is no shame in needing extra help. This will benefit the entire family. These are usually covered under NDIS funding. If this is not currently part of the plan, speak to your practitioners about this and schedule a review.
Sometimes being late is unavoidable. You couldn’t possibly predict a crash that closes the highway for example but you can plan for and control the things in your power to set yourself up for success. That being said, if the morning is going down like a lead balloon- let it, who cares! I know that’s really difficult and a big mindset shift but honestly, what’s more important, being on time (with you and the kids stressed out to the max and you yelling at them ) or being a bit late but your connection and relationship with the kids is intact? Time passes anyway, you get to choose how it passes – positively or negatively. You set the tone for the household.
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Before you finish up there is some homework for you to do to help solidify what you have learned in this module and improve your daily routine.
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