4 Tips for Setting Goals with Kids

English: MICANOPY, Fla. (Aug 10, 2010) A Drug ...

English: MICANOPY, Fla. (Aug 10, 2010) A Drug Education for Youth (DEFY) summer camp attendee from Naval Air Station Jacksonville climbs a rock wall during a goal setting exercise at Camp McConnell in Micanopy, Fla. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Charles White/Released) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Good Afternoon,

As we start to focus on the quickly approaching school year, I would like to dive into 4 tips that will keep you and your kids on track.  Setting goals is nothing new, and you may already employ a great strategy to help your kids work towards what they want.  If you have a plan in place, perfect!  Use the comments section below to help others and chime in.  If you don’t have a goal setting plan in place or would like to revamp your current plan, here you go.

1.  Plan It Out

  • What do you need to meet your goal
  • Is there a time line
  • What is the result
  • Can you break it into smaller goals
  • Can you watch your progress

2. Break It Up

  • Short term plans (days or weeks)
  • Middle term plans  (weeks or months)
  • Long term plans (months or years)
Goal Setting

Goal Setting (Photo credit: lululemon athletica)

3.  Communicate

  • Verbally
    Everyone involved has knowledge of the plans and goals
  • Non-verbally
    Lists, charts, pictures, and any other way to keep you focused and on track
  • Seek out helpers and cheerleaders to guide and help you along the way

4.  Set Goals For Anything

  • School
  • Sports
  • Financial
  • Organizational
  • Chores
  • House Projects
  • Daily Routines
  • Behavior

It may take some time and extra effort to sit down and determine a goal and course of action.  Keep at it.  The more practice you and your child have the easier it will be to start down the path of a goal.  Realistic goal setting is a life skill that will benefit your child forever.  It will also get you out of the conversation about gifts, money, new skateboards, etc.  Give your child an opportunity to feel in control about earning rewards as well as feeling a sense of accomplishment.

How does your family set goals?  How do you encourage your child to work towards something?  Leave comments and suggestions below.

Good Luck ,

Katherine

Traveling with Kids

Kid on a leash

Image by cote via Flickr

Note:  This week I will be re-posting two blogs.  I feel that the topics covered will especially help families during the Thanksgiving holiday.  See below for the second post.  I’ll be resuming my posts next week.  Happy Thanksgiving!

Good Morning,

With the holidays approaching, I think now is a good time to start the discussion about traveling with your family.  Many people know that Thanksgiving travel is the busiest of the year, and with the holidays and crazy travel come a mountain of stress.  It is well worth the extra time upfront to gain confidence and control on the back-end.

Plan ahead
The weeks leading up to your travel are the most important planning period.  Getting laundry ready, snacks bought or prepared, deciding on luggage, and setting out all the things you will need are essential for a low-stress, successful trip.  Make lists to help you remember who is taking what and in which suit case.  Write down everything so that nothing is left or overlooked.

Seek advice
Check out this and other blogs and websites for tips and tricks to make your trip go smoothly.  I will be posting links to great sites at the bottom and sprinkling a few in the blog as well.  Ask friends, family, and school staff for help and advice regarding your child.  The DadLabs site has tons of great video blogs about traveling with the kids.

Car travel
If you are headed to the in-laws via car, you will want to consider several things.  Keep plenty of snacks and drinks handy for the kids to have while riding.  Make sure their seats and travel clothes are comfortable and can go the distance needed to get to grandma’s house.  You might want to travel during nap or sleep times like early morning, late evening, or in the afternoon so that the kids are naturally tired and more likely to sleep.  Plan stops along the way for stretching your legs, bathroom breaks, snacking, or running around.  It is very hard for young kids to sit for long periods of time.  Honestly, it is hard for most people.  Incentivize your trip by giving them treats, money, or toys to play with when you reach certain mile markers, towns, or minutes.  Check that all electronics are working properly before you leave home.  Extra batteries, cds, and movies are smart to have on hand.

Plane travel
Traveling via plane to your destination is somewhat of a different story and requires some different planning strategies.  Many experts say to travel early in the day.  Planes are often less crowded and more likely to take off and land on time.  Make sure your child has a good night’s sleep the night before your travel day.  This will ensure your child is well-rested and well-behaved for the flight.  It also allows them (and you) to better handle rough situations and chaos.  Take snacks, toys, blankets, or whatever your child needs to feel safe and comfortable on the flight.  Be reasonable with these items, ultimately you will be the one carrying your child and all the stuff they bring.  If your child gets motion sickness, you should speak with your doctor about some possible remedies.  I do not recommend self-medicating your child without the benefit of your healthcare provider’s wisdom.

Packing
Take the least amount of clothes and extras as possible.  The less you have to carry and keep track of, the better.  Bring a bib or two that covers your child during meals that you can easily wipe down.  Jeans and dark-colored clothes are easily worn for a few days.  Bring two pairs of pajamas in case there is an accident.  One or two pairs of shoes should be sufficient.  Remember that you can always buy things that are disposable, like diapers and wipes.  Ask friends or relatives to borrow large items such as a stroller, crib/playpen, high chair, and car seat.

I encourage you to take some time planning your trip and considering the needs of your family.  They deserve a vacation just as much as you do, so make it easy on yourself and enjoyable for them.  There are lots of great websites out there that talk about traveling with kids and lots of great products that help parents.  If you know a site or product from which others may benefit, please add it in the comments section below.  I wish everyone safe and enjoyable holiday planning and traveling this season!

Sites that you will want to check out:

Up with kids
15 Holiday Travel Don’ts

How to travel like a kid…

If you found these tips helpful subscribe/like/pass along this blog.

Good Luck,

Katherine

Sharing a Bedroom

Good Morning,

I spent time with some friends the other night.  One of them discussed  how she and her husband were in the process of making their son’s room ready to share with the new baby.  How were they going to tell him?  How should they divide the room?  Was it even fair to force their son to share his room?  I would like to answer these questions and give some suggestions if you are in the process of combining rooms or planning on this transition in the future.

  • Communicate with all children involved.  If you are bringing home a new baby, talk to your older child early in the planning process.
  • Make it exciting for them to share their room.  If they are old enough to help, invite them to pick paint colors, decorations, and setup of the room.
  • Make your child feel like a part of this decision.  If they feel like they are a part of the process they will more easily share with their new roommate.  “It will be really exciting for you to show the new baby your room!”
  • For older kids who are sharing a room, have them decide how things should go.  Give them time to talk it out and determine how they want to organize the room, without your involvement.  Things will go much more smoothly if they are in charge of how the space is split up and whether they want two sides of the room or bunk-beds.  If choosing all the details is not realistic, give them choices where possible.
  • Seek help by talking to others who have kids that share a room as well as look online for pictures and do-it-yourself tutorials about how to decorate a shared room.
  • Hold your kids to the plan.  Have written reminders for a while to help them stick to what they agreed upon.  Have consequences for breaking the agreement.  Discuss respecting others’ possessions, space, and preferences before creating a shared room scenario.
  • Be patient with your kids as they work out sharing a space.  It is easy to get frustrated with someone when you share a confined space.  Older kids get tired of sharing a space and their belongings with younger siblings.  Help them by listening to their frustrations and mediating between siblings.  Give them the power  to work out their issues in a responsible and mature way.

I believe that you can solve most issues surrounding sharing a room by planning the presentation of this topic.  Whether it be sharing a room with a new baby or with an older sibling, getting your kids involved in the process from the beginning will help things go smoothly.

Sites to check out:
The Ups and Downs of Siblings Sharing a Room
A Room of One’s Own?
4 Advantages of Making Siblings Share a Room

If you have found this information helpful please subscribe/like/tweet/pass along.

Good Luck,

Katherine

Morning Routine Check-Up

Good Morning,

Katowice - Przedszkole nr.6

Image via Wikipedia

As I mentioned last week, now is a good time to review your routines.  I was talking with some moms last week as they were discussing how their children liked their preschools and their teachers.  One of the moms mentioned that things at school were going great, but it was hard to get her child out the door in the morning.  “He cries and doesn’t want to go, but once he is there he is fine and goes right into playing with the other children.”

For this mom, I had the following advice:

  • If your routine isn’t working, change it.
  • Remind your child of the expectations in the morning.
  • Have things ready the night before (lunch and breakfast, clothes, school bag, sports equipment, etc.) to take the guess-work out of the morning.
  • Only leave enough time to get ready and get out the door.  There is no need to rush, but stay focused.
  • Keep the routine consistent.
  • Realize that it is not that your child does not want to go to school, rather they want  you to give in to them.
  • Keep your discipline consistent and have consequences for not following directions.

If this is an issue that you are also experiencing, I encourage you to employ the ideas above.  Look to see where your child usually breaks down and eliminate that area.  Make the morning fly by so that there isn’t time to think about putting up a fight or crying about going to school.  Your situation may differ from the one presented here so contact me to get personalized strategies for your family.

Sites worth checking out:
Nighttime routine 
 
Manage Morning Mayhem

9 Steps To A Great Morning Routine for Kids

If you found this advice helpful please subscribe/like/tweet/pass on.

Good Luck,

Katherine

Room Organization after the Crib

Mazzali: "Cubes" system / programma ...

Image by MAZZALIARMADI.IT via Flickr

Good Morning,

This week’s unintentional theme seems to be “all things school-aged kids.”  Monday, I talked about taking academic stock mid-semester in order to proceed with a plan for the rest of the school year.  Yesterday, I talked about changing your discipline strategies to match the situations of school-aged kids.  Today, I am looking at room organization and how to best suit a school-aged kid’s needs at home.

One of the biggest transitions in your home is the transformation from baby nursery to child’s room.  This usually means bringing in a bed, a dresser, possibly a desk, and some useful shelving.  I think it is 50/50 between parents who welcome this change in their child’s life and those who find it hard to let go of the baby items.  Either way, I would like to offer suggestions to make this transitional time as easy as possible.

Start the conversation
Talk about this change and have conversations about what it means to have a big kid bed.  Where will you get the new furniture?  Where will the old furniture go?  Are you going cold turkey or moving things out a piece at a time?  Talk about these things with your partner and your child to make sure everyone is on board.

Get them involved
Kids love to decorate!  Take them along to pick out decorations, paint colors, rugs, and any other items with which they can help.  Organize old toys and get rid of broken or unused items.  Decide whether your child’s room is going to double as a play room, a study room, or neither.  If you have an idea in mind for the room before you start, setting up the space is much easier.  Clean out the closet and donate old or gently used clothing.  For most kids, having less stuff is the easiest way to keep their room clean.  Decide how flexible you are willing to be on your child deciding their own bedroom style.  Find ways to compromise on colors and styles.

New furniture
If you are purchasing new furniture, do your research and purchase items that will withstand the test of time (and kids).  The first bed I ever had I used until I went to college and put in my house a few years later.  Bookcases, shelving units with colored bins, and desks are great ways to add decoration and function to kids’ rooms.  These items can often be purchased with a lower price in mind at stores such as Target and IKEA.  You can always find great deals at flea markets or second-hand stores and refinish or paint them yourself.

Sharing a room
If you have more than one child in the same room, you have a few more decisions to make.  Do you want to have the room the same for each kid or can they choose their own style?  Does everyone get their own shelves and desk, or are they sharing?  I strongly advise you to involve your kids if this is the case and they are old enough to have a say.

Ultimately it is important that your child feels that their room is their own.  Having a safe place to go and think, read, study, or talk is very important for kids.  Being able to help with this transition can be fun for them as well as exciting for you.  It is likely that you will be changing this room a few more times before they move out, so make this time special for everyone.

Site to check out:
Martha Stewart Kids’ Rooms

Get Organized: Kids

A Children’s Bedroom Gets Organized

If you found this blog helpful please subscribe/like/tweet/share it!

Good Luck,

Katherine

Taking Stock in the Middle of First Semester

Mathematics homework

Image via Wikipedia

Good Morning,

Here we are at the end of October.  The holidays are just around the corner and we are into the second half of the first semester in traditional-calendar schools.  How would you say your child is doing?

So far you should have been to parent-teacher conferences and established a working relationship with your children’s teachers.  You may have already volunteered at the school or taken part in planning a classroom party.  If you have not done these things, it is not too late.  In the middle of the first semester is an ideal time to take stock and set up a plan for the rest of the school year.  Here are the areas to review and ways to make the most of this school year.

Routines
How are your routines?  Are you getting out of the house on time and with all the things you need?  Are there any areas where you can shave off even a few seconds to make things go more smoothly?  Take a look at this morning routine blog to get some ideas.  How is your nighttime routine?  Are your kids getting to bed on time and getting enough sleep?  Have you established a homework and after-school schedule?  At this point, sports should be scheduled and planned for the rest of the school year.

Academic Status
Many parents sit with their kids and help with homework.  If this is the case, you should know where your child struggles academically.  Many kids say they do not need help and therefore parents do not know the state of their skills.  Sit with your child a few days a week.  Go over their homework with them and answer any questions they might have.  One way to break the ice in this area is to approach them after dinner, while they are doing their homework, with some ice-cream in hand.  Be sure to take some mental notes so you can follow up later.  Doing this over the course of a few days (or weeks) will ensure that you are seeing the correct struggles, and not just one tough assignment.

Communication with Teachers
If you have been to parent-teacher conferences, you have a good idea where your child stands regarding the year’s expectations.  If you have not had the opportunity to organize a one-on-one conversation before now, call and schedule a time for you to meet and talk about your child.  Bring up any concerns you have.  You should see if what you experience at home matches what happens at school.  Ask the teacher for a basic guideline for the rest of the school year so you can prepare mentally to help your child.  If there are areas where your child is struggling, now is the time to ask for help either from the teacher or a private tutor.  Many teachers offer private tutoring after school as a way to make some extra money.  This is an easy way to get some personalized help for your child by the person teaching the materials daily.  If you do not love your child’s teacher, ask around for a reputable tutor.  It is well worth the time and money to ensure your child understands the material presented in school.

Behavior
Every time a friend or acquaintance returns to high school for their reunion, I hear the same story.  People haven’t changed and everyone fell into the same cliques and petty behavior.  It is the same for your child.  They return to the same group of kids every year.  You can expect some of the same unwanted behaviors year after year as well.  If you are one of the hundreds of parents looking at your child’s behavior issues and thinking, “I thought we were over this,”  or “I thought they had outgrown that,” not to worry, there is still time to get that issue resolved.  If your child’s behavior concerns you, talk to their teacher or the school’s psychologist, nurse, or counselor.  If you can admit that you have not been the most consistent with behavior expectations at home, now is the time to get on the ball and take control.  If you need help, contact a Family Behavior Coach, such as myself, in your area.  It is never too late to reach out for some support.

The unfortunate truth is that after Thanksgiving break students and teachers relax academically.  The end is in sight and a long two-week break sounds great.  Be prepared for this letdown.  Rev up your support of your children in order to finish the semester strong.  This will allow all of you to transition to the spring semester with confidence and a plan in mind.

Good Luck,

Katherine

Diaper Bag Organization

Diaper Bag Contents- 46-365 #TeamPhotoBlog

Image by dhgatsby via Flickr

Good Morning,

Many parents feel overwhelmed by the organizational aspect of raising a child when coupled with the need to keep their lives running smoothly.  Keeping everything in its place every day seems like a daunting task, one that takes hours to accomplish.  This is simply not true.

I like to tell my organizationally challenged clients to pick one or two areas where they feel the most disorganized, and we start there.  It should only take a few minutes to keep an area under control.  One easily overlooked area is the diaper bag.  I have heard numerous horror stories: moms and dads running out of diapers or clothes when they are far from home…and now having a huge problem on their hands.

Here are the bare minimums to keep in mind when it comes to diaper bag organization:

Stock Up
Keep the essentials on hand.  I love Amazon.com’s Subscribe and Save feature.  Items come in the mail on a set schedule.  You will never run out of diapers or wipes again!  Keeping your house stocked will ensure that you can keep your diaper bag supplied as well.

Pick a Smart Bag
You will tote a diaper bag from the day your baby is born to the time they start school.  Knowing this, make a smart decision when it comes to choosing your diaper bag.  Ensure the bag has convenient storage and that you are able to carry the bag comfortably.  You may need multiple bags.  It is reasonable for each parent (as well as any caretakers that take your child out) to have their own bag.

Regular Maintenance
Create a habit of cleaning out and restocking the bag after every use.  This minimizes the chance of not having what you need.  Make sure the bag is free of trash and wipe up any spills.  You may not always have time to clean out and re-pack a diaper bag on your way out the door, so make it a point to do maintenance when you get home or at the end of the day.

Organize Inside
I love to use Ziploc baggies inside bigger diaper bags for easy and efficient storage.  Label baggies with what goes inside: diapers, clothes, food, dirty items, toys, etc.  Now you can easily grab what you need immediately.  This method also allows you to quickly inventory items, which plays into keeping your diaper bag well stocked.  Don’t just throw everything inside, organize it to maximize stress-free use.

Use a Luggage Tag
Another strategy I employ with my clients is a luggage tag.  List all items that should go in the bag as well as the quantities of each, and attach the tag to the zipper or outside of the diaper bag.  This trick is useful when there are multiple people using one bag.  Many parents find this helpful because they don’t know or forget what goes in the bag.  You can prepare different tags for different situations: seasonal, night-time, grandma’s house, out-of-town, etc.

Make the most of your diaper bag and take care of it.  It only takes a few minutes to organize and stock items that are necessary for the care of your child.  In the end, your preparation will lead to lower stress and more fun on outings!

Other sites to take a look at:

Consumer Reports diaper bag guide
Great reviews and tips at Diaper Bag Junkie
Great list of what you need at parentsconnect

If you find these tips helpful, please subscribe/like/pass this blog along.  Thanks!

Good Luck,

Katherine

Helping your child dress themselves

Bubble Dress

Image by arlyna via Flickr

Good Morning,

Welcome to Monday.  This week I will be providing quick tips and tricks to help with some of the most frustrating aspects of raising kids.  Today’s blog supplies some simple tricks to help your child get dressed faster and with less fuss.

In 1972 an ingenious children’s clothing line was started and changed the way moms dressed their kids.  Garanimals paired shirts and pants so that kids could easily and quickly pick out an outfit, saving time, money and headache for millions of families across the country.  Here are some easy ideas on how to make your own Garanimals and some other equally helpful tricks.

Organize clothing

  1. Wash all clothing
  2. Put into groups based on clothing type (pants, shirts, sweaters, socks, etc.)
  3. Identify 2 colors that are the base colors for the entire wardrobe (usually black and brown)
  4. Put clothing into groups based on their base color (do they go with black or brown?)
  5. Set aside clothes that can go with either base color

Select a method
Once you have your piles of clothes sorted by base color, it is time to label them for your child to easily put together.  There are a few different ways of doing this.

  • Take a permanent marker and place an identifying mark, like a dot, on the tag or collar of all shirts in a given base color.  Place the same mark on all pants that create an outfit.  I would recommend a black marker and another color that a child can easily differentiate.  You child can look at the dots and quickly pick out clothes that match.
  • I just came across printable iron-on transfer paper.  This stuff is amazing!  I purchased mine at Hobby Lobby, but I am sure you can find it at other craft stores or online.  To use this method, print out a small word or shape and iron it onto the piece of clothing in a hidden location (the inside hem, tag, etc.).  Here, the options are limitless.  Depending on your child’s interests you can use what ever pictures they want.  Pirates and dragons, princesses and fairies, cats and dogs, Dora and Diego, etc.
  • If marking clothes does not work for you, consider labeling the drawers or shelves.  The same ideas apply.  Put all base groups of clothing that belong together in the same drawer or on the same shelf.  You can even add socks and hair accessories.
  • If clothes are hung up in a closet, use different colored hangers to show the matching clothes.
  • For clothes that go with either base color, keep them together and have a shelf or drawer for them as well.  Do not label these.

Tips for Making it Work

  • Have all clothing easily reachable by your child
  • Put clothing away correctly every time
  • Be creative with the labels.  Have your child pick the identifiers that will work for them.
  • Get your child involved.  Have them sort the clothing into groups, pick a label, and a spot to mark.  If you are using the transfer paper, have them cut out the shapes and pair it with the groups of clothes.
  • Only put out clothes that fit, are in good condition, and are seasonally appropriate.  Keep out-of-season clothes in a box or where your child cannot get them confused with the wearable clothes.  Get rid of torn, stained, and too-small clothing right away.
  • Talk to your child about the new system.  Help them, if necessary, by redirecting and encouraging them to use the new system when they are struggling to get dressed.
  • Be patient.  New systems and routines take time to settle in.  Your child may need reminding of what to do or where to look to match clothes.  Reward them when they have the hang of it and are getting dressed in less time and with less struggle.

Any organizing system will take some time and effort upfront.  Make this a fun activity for you and your child to do together on a lazy or cold afternoon.  Re-evaluate and re-mark clothing every season or when your child gets new clothing (holidays, birthdays, etc.).

More great ideas from around the web:

Super bag idea from Beth at Organizing Junkie
Lots of great tips at eHow Family
Easy to follow strategies at How to be a Good parent
Harry at Plastic Storage Bins has some great storage solutions

Good Luck,

Katherine

Streamlining your morning routine

Good Morning,

As I mentioned in a past blog, I will try to offer as many ideas as possible over the next few weeks about going back to school.  I believe that the weeks leading up to school and the first few weeks back in school are the most important for setting the tone for the rest of the year.  Getting on a morning schedule as well as a night schedule, starting a communication pattern, and streamlining routines are keys to a path that puts less stress on the entire family.

I have done some research on making this blog accessible and easy to follow as far as the page layout.  Many sites recommend a list as a way to offer concise suggestions to the readers.  This is great for me because I love lists!  My life and thoughts usually end up in list format anyway.  I have also linked this blog to my Facebook and Twitter accounts.  In the coming weeks please feel free to give feedback related to anything on this blog, the layout, content, social media connections, whatever.  I welcome your comments and hope to make this one of the best blogs out there.  Now, on to the good stuff.

As I mentioned, a morning schedule will dramatically cut down on morning stress.  Obvious indicators your child is less stressed: they fight less with you and their siblings, they are ready on time, and they have what they need for the entire day.  If you already have a morning routine, take another look at it this week and see if some new ideas might make it even better.  A good morning routine sets up the entire day for success.

an animated clock

Image via Wikipedia

Competition
Set a timer and have your kids race to see who can get ready fastest (correctly, of course).  Offer prizes or the front seat of the car as incentives.  Daily or weekly incentives are usually sufficient.  If someone is ready first and there are a few minutes left, have a game box by the back door.  Books, action figures, and trinkets are fast and easy toys to keep in the box.  The kid stays in one place and gets to play with the toy until it is time to leave.  Keep it simple.  I would not recommend electronic games here because they can be difficult to put down.

Warnings
Set a timer that goes off 10, 5, and 2 minutes before you have to be in the car.  This helps younger and older kids know how much time they have left.  If there is an issue you can say, “you have 5 minutes to figure this out.”  or “you might want to make a decision in the next 2 minutes or you will have to go without.”  This helps kids be responsible for their actions and stay on the timeline.

Portable Breakfast
Have a drawer in the fridge and in the pantry where kids can grab their own breakfast.  Bars, fruit, cereal in boxes or pre-made baggies, pre-made breakfast sandwiches, shakes, and instant oatmeal are all fast and easy for them to make themselves.  This takes the guess-work away.  It also allows them to eat in the car and spend more time getting ready or sleeping in.

Get ready the night before
Having as much as possible ready the night before will help to make the morning less hectic and more productive.  Getting school bags including lunches, coats, outdoor gear, sports gear, outfits, homework, and planners ready the night before cuts down on the amount of things that can be forgotten in the morning.

Same routine every day
For most kids, consistency in routine is key to making the routine successful.  Doing things in the same order every morning will help kids know what comes next.  Lists in the bedrooms, bathrooms, by the back door and in the kitchen will remind them of the schedule.  If your child cannot read, picture lists work just as well.  Get your kids involved by having them make the lists themselves or finding pictures they like on the web.  As time goes by the lists will become less needed.  At this point you can act from memory or create new and better lists.  Try moving the lists so that kids don’t just see them as part of the wall and overlook their benefit.  Lists will also help you to encourage your child to refer to the lists and not seek you for every next step.

Look for ways to streamline
Take a week to look at your routine and find places where there are challenges.  If your child always gets caught when tying their shoes or picking out breakfast, look for these areas and change those parts of the morning.  If the routine you have now is frustrating or causing tears and fights, change it fast!  Get the family involved and talk about ways to streamline with some ideas listed here.  If everyone is on the same page and you provide mutual support, things will go more smoothly.

Tough Love
I believe that tough love is one of the best tactics a parent can use.  In this situation, use tough love to make a child more responsible for themselves and their things.  Going without lunch, a coat, or their homework one day is not going to kill your child.  However, it will help them to remember the particular item the next day and many days after that.  If you are a parent who feels like a broken record when it comes to asking your child to do something, this technique can work wonders.  Tough love is an extremely effective way to teach your child the reality of consequences, although it takes practice and commitment from the parents.

Finding a routine takes time and patience.  It changes with your family’s needs but is very helpful when taken seriously by everyone.  Following the routine should be important.  Have consequences for not carrying through with it.  Get your family involved with finding a routine that works for everyone and keep the conversation productive.  Bad mornings will happen but a good morning is just one day away!

More articles related to this topic:
Getting Back on Track
Back to school Prep with Simplified Bee
Streamlining!
Back to School Time Savers
It’s Just Routine

Good Luck,

Katherine

Getting Back on Track

A mechanical kitchen timer

Image via Wikipedia

Good Morning,

The first few days back to school are the most difficult for everyone.  Even if you have everything in place, there is still some disconnect between good intentions and reality. Here are two ideas to help you get into school mode as painlessly as possible.

Morning routine
A solid morning routine is the best way to get on track fast.  Wake up at the same time and follow the same plan every day.  A consistent agenda every morning, until the family is out the door, cuts down on guess-work.  If the same things happen in a pattern every morning, there is little room to forget items or for fooling around.  Make lists and post them where you can refer to them as needed.  The lists help to remind you of the routine.  If your child is old enough to have their own list, encourage them to plan their morning.  If your child is not able to read, a list made of pictures will help them stay on track.  You can keep reminders in the bedrooms, bathrooms, kitchen, by the back door, and in the car.  A routine allows your child to practice independence and show responsibility for themselves and their school things.

Night routine
Going through the same motions night after night also helps your family get on track and easily transition into a school rhythm.  While this may take a few weeks, patience is the key to making any routine stick.  A night routine also allows you to plan some one-on-one time with your child and catch up on the day.  Ultimately, the time at which your child goes to bed is the most important part of this routine.  Strictly enforcing a bed time sets the stage for success the following day, while keeping your frustration to a minimum.  Pick out books ahead of time and utilize a timer during evening baths.  This keeps you focused on bed time.  Eliminating the guess-work for your child is the easiest way to cut down on tantrums and fights.

Having an air-tight routine does not eliminate difficult nights.  I like to think of a routine as a living being.  It changes and grows with your needs.  Time and consistency aid in getting the family comfortable with any new routine.  Get older kids involved by asking them for their input in making and keeping a schedule.

There are many ways to keep a family schedule.  Family-specific suggestions may help deal with particular issues.  I would love to provide more specific tips for your family!

More articles related to this topic:

6 Ways to Speed Up Morning Routines
Kids Morning Routine Flashcards

Keeping Kids Organized

Morning Routines for Elementary School Children

Beat the Morning Rush

Kids Back to School Morning Routine

Evening Routine

Morning Routines for Preschoolers

Good Luck,

Katherine