9 Ways to Boost
Your Child's Positive Attitude Before the Bus Comes
These no-nonsense pointers will
help you remove a large portion of last-minute stress that comes
along with every weekday morning.
by Jackie D. Igafo-Te'o,
Bridges4Kids, June 2003; Revised May 27, 2005
For more articles like this
Ahead – Does your
child always lag behind in the morning because they can’t find
matching socks or their homework? Start preparing for morning
the night before. Lay out clothing (down to socks and shoes),
sign all papers, pack lunch and put it all by the door. This may
sound simple but it really does cut down on morning anxiety. If
your child is on medication, use a pill organizer so that you can tell if they have already taken their morning
meds. A hectic morning could result in double-dosing. Avoid this
at all costs.
a Good Night’s Sleep
– A good night’s sleep can never be underestimated. Parents,
this goes for you too. Lack of sleep can cause problems related
to health, performance on the job AND stress at home. Be firm.
Set a reasonable bedtime and then let them EARN a later bedtime
based on their daily performance. For example, base bedtime
could be 9:00 p.m. If the child does well that day at school and
at home (no bad reports, no time outs) then they can extend to
9:30 as a reward. They may go from complaining about 9:00 p.m.
to actually APPRECIATING 9:30 as an alternative.
and Shine: Parents
– Learn to embrace the morning. Wake up an extra 15 minutes
early and make yourself some coffee. Go sit on the porch in the
morning air and breathe in the fresh air. A slow start may give
you more patience and tolerance to deal with whatever comes your
and Shine: Kids – If your kids are still young (like mine) you can get away with a
little more creativity. There was a time when getting my kids up
was like awaking a couple of beasts in a cave. They’d whine “No,
I’m tired” or “I just went to sleep…” or “I hate morning!” and
the list goes on. One day I thought I’d add a little spice to
morning. I was going to let them control the process. My
children all LOVE music so I cranked up the stereo and within 5
minutes they were all up and singing along. It was like a
miracle! Now every morning we do the same ritual. Loud music CAN
be good for the soul. When my kids were younger I would sing to
them until they woke up. “Rise and shine lazy, sleepy head. Get
your lazy bones out of the bed!” I picked a goofy song from my
own childhood (Patch the Pirate) that they would surely find
reason to smile about.
to Get a Grip – Even kids need time to adjust to
a new day. Don’t wake them
up with only 15 minutes to spare! This is a recipe for disaster.
We usually make some time for ourselves as parents - even if it
is while we drive to work. Remember that kids need time to
prepare for the day, too.
to Them – Use the extra time that you save from
preparing ahead of time to talk to your children. Ask them what
they are doing at school that day or if there are any tests
coming up. Get to know their schedule and their morning rituals.
If your child is nonverbal, speak to them as if they're going to
speak back. This will help to open the channels of communication
between you and will model good communication skills for your
with Them – Tell them something funny. Even if
it is something silly like reading the comics on the cereal box,
in the paper, or telling them something that happened to you the
day before – let them know that you still can laugh. We love it
when our 10-year-old son, Michael, laughs. Michael has Autism
and loves tickle fights. His sister says that "he laughs so hard
his eyes disappear!" Laughter is something that we can indulge
in and doesn’t cost us a thing.
Them – Remember:
garbage in = garbage out. Breakfast is the most important meal
of your day. Don’t skimp or skip. Your child needs nutrients in
order to learn. Read the boxes or make a hot breakfast. Make
sure that there is something of value to your child’s health
contained in your breakfast choices.
Them – Your
children are getting older and are maybe a little less
“touchy-feely” but don’t let that stop you. Never let your child
leave your home without some type of physical interaction. Hold
on for a few seconds longer each morning. Tell your child that
you love them. A hand on the shoulder, a high-five, a kiss and
smile – whatever works for you and your child. Make that
important contact. You never know what a day will bring.
Send them out that front door
feeling like they can conquer anything. Feed their mind, body
and soul each and every morning. Only time will tell just how
big of an impact that you can truly make just by making a few
small changes before the bus comes.