Site Update and New Additions!

Hello,

Lately, I have been busy adding lots of great content to this site.  In the next few days and weeks I will be expanding this site in hopes of turning it into my official website!  I have BIG news about my near future as well as what that means for my Family Coaching business.  Stay tuned to see what all the commotion is about and if you like what you see or have a suggestion, I want to hear about it.

In addition to the revamps here, I have also started making a mark in the social media world, which was completely daunting to me until last week.  Now that I have finally reached a sense of understanding, look for daily posts on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.  If we haven’t connected on those sites, I would love to!

If after reading the blog posts and connecting with me on other sites, you’re still not finding the information you are looking for, please reach out!  My intent is to make this site as user-friendly and content rich as possible.

Thank you to all my friends, family, and followers.  A new chapter is about to begin and I’m comforted by your support and love.  I’m thankful that we are on this wild ride together.

Talk to you soon,

Katherine

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7 Tips to Successfully Introduce the New Puppy to Your Young Children

Came across this gem today as I was posting articles to Pinterest. As a dog owner and advocate of the family pet, I really liked how the author talked about meeting the dog’s needs as well as the kids’ benefit to helping with the new pet, like reading books, keeping the area free of debris, taking turns, assigning chores, etc. I read lots of good articles about this topic but this one jumped out at me as one that really thoughtfully summed up the steps to take and the reality of having puppies and kids.

Enjoy,

Katherine

 

8 Tips for Step Parents

Good Afternoon,

I believe I have the two BEST step-parents in the entire world.  It absolutely goes without question that I am their child and they love me as if I were their own.  It has not been easy or fun at times, but the hard work and commitment to our family and to each other has been 100% worth it.

Let me make clear the statement, “not easy or fun”.  I was not easy or fun.  The truth is that I was rotten.  I pulled out all the stops when it came to bad behavior.  My parents both remarried the same year and in a matter of months I went from being the oldest child to the third at my mom’s house and the oldest at my dad’s house, with a step-mom who had no kids and had never been married.  It was a little rough.

Let’s fast forward a few years and get to the part where we are a happy family.  Most importantly, I’d like to explain how we got here.  As I mentioned, it wasn’t easy and it took several years, almost 10, to patch up the old hurtful feelings and move on.

The list I have compiled contains the most important aspects of bringing a family with step-parents together.  Read it, digest it, and use the strategies offered.

1.  Time.  It is unrealistic to build a solid relationship or to patch up the past quickly.

2.  Communication.  I believe communication is the key to successful relationships in families and otherwise.  Talk it out, share your feelings, listen to others, and match your body language to your words.  Be explicit and clear with your words and motions.

3.  Plan.  Whether it’s moving in, talking to the kids about marriage, changing the rules, or anything else, thinking ahead and making a plan of action will relieve lots of stress in the moment.  Family meetings are a great way to get everyone on board and committed to the plan going forward.

4.  Be Flexible.  Taking things one step at a time will help to reduce hurt feelings and push-back regarding a new plan.  If things don’t go well the first time, re-evaluate and try again.  Assess the situation from your families’ perspectives and needs and go from there.

5.  The Other Parent.  Be respectful of your child’s other parent.  Talk about them in a neutral or positive light in the presence of your child.  Do not argue, bicker, or bring up old baggage out of respect for your child and the relationship they have with that parent.

6.  Collaborate.  The most important member of your team is your child.  The other members of that team need to collaborate in order for your child to succeed.  Make that happen.  Extend an olive branch to grandparents, teachers, coaches, friends, neighbors, ex-spouses, etc.  Put your pride aside and do what’s right for your child.

7.  Commit.  It takes a huge commitment of time, effort, and heart to make it work.  Juggling all the components listed above while living it day-to-day is difficult.  Commit to your kid, commit to yourself, commit to your partner, and focus on the future of your new family.

8.  Goals.  Set some guidelines and goals to help you along the way.  Make a plan of action and go for it.  Start small and take baby steps in the beginning.  Personal, couple, and family goals are all good components that help keep the ball rolling in the right direction.

Looking back on the first few years as a new family and knowing where we are now, I never thought it possible.  I look back on the time spent trudging through the mud together and think of how awful it felt in the moment.  How angry I was, the horrible things I said and did, and the silent treatments I thought would really work.  Thankfully they didn’t work.  We were in it together and we stayed in it together.

Image  My step dad and dad walking me down the aisle.

Good Luck,

Katherine

Ways to Foster Honesty through Conversation

Listen to your kids

Listen to your kids (Photo credit: Bindaas Madhavi)

Good Afternoon and Happy Halloween,

So many newsworthy events have been happening lately.  The East Coast weather is on everyone’s mind, the elections are in their final days, and the holidays are just around the corner.  These three things don’t usually have much in common, but as I started thinking about this week’s post all three came to mind for the same reason: talking to your kids honestly.  There are numerous situations where you just wish your kids would stop asking questions, or you hope that they don’t notice something, or you thought they had forgotten about a certain topic.  Unfortunately, this is not usually the case.  Today I would like to offer strategies that help you talk to your kids in a comfortable way when you are in an uncomfortable situation.

Communication During a Crisis

The goal of communication during a crisis situation is get the most information out with the least amount of effort.  There are dozens of different types of crisis situations.  You may have time to prepare and plan, or you may have to act at a moment’s notice.  Being mentally prepared can help in all crisis situations.

  • Talk in an assertive but non-threatening way using the simplest words possible.
  • Keep your voice at the lowest volume possible when giving directions.
  • Give directions in short clips instead of a long train.
  • Give information about the situation that is honest and to the point.
  • Allow your kids to tell you their feelings and ask questions, if there is time.
  • Identify with their emotions in yourself, “I am also feeling scared.”
  • Give them honest reassurance.
  • Model behavior that shows leadership and logic

Communication about Adult Matters

Kids are smart and curious.  They want to know about the goings-on in their parents lives.  Over the past several months there has been lots of conversations about the elections, the economy, women’s rights, finances, health care, etc.  Kids are barraged with ads on TV, mail at the house, conversations they overhear, and billboards all over town.  It is not surprising to me that they are interested and curious to know more about these topics.

  • Decide what information is appropriate for your child to know.
  • Allow them to ask questions in an environment that is non-judgmental and honest.
  • Allow them to have opinions that differ from yours.
  • Ask them follow up questions to further the conversation.
  • Talk about adult topics in simple ways.
  • Relate information back to their personal experiences like earning an allowance, being sick and seeking medical care, incentives that are important to them, etc.
  • Talk to them about what it means to be president and how our country is different from other countries in this way.
  • Encourage conversations about character and what it means to be a leader.
  • Practice the, “no thanks,” conversation to have with phone and door-to-door solicitors.

Communication around the Holidays

Holiday time is usually very stressful.  Tension and anxiety are high, positive communication breaks down and behavior tends to follow.  Lots of families have had a tough year financially.  Hosting guests for the holidays and the spirit of giving can add to the feeling of being overwhelmed.  Having a plan in place to talk to your kids about these things now can save you time and frustration later.

  • Talk to them about budgets and money.
  • Reinforce behavior with conversations and reminders of expectations.
  • Practice conversation starters to use with guests as well as follow-up questions.
  • Practice honest ways to show appreciation towards others, especially in uncomfortable situations.
  • If you give to charities, talk to your kids about why you choose that charity and why it is important to give to others.
  • Start conversations about family traditions, what they mean, and how they got started.

Building a relationship with your kids that is both open and honest is a huge job.  What it boils down to is showing what honesty looks like through your actions towards them and others.  Kids are going to ask lots of questions either way, having those questions directed towards you is the goal.

I would love to hear from you! 

  1. How do you teach your kids about honesty?
  2. What are some situations where you felt you did or did not handle the conversation correctly?
  3. How do you mentally prepare for uncomfortable conversations?

Also, I have started an account on Pinterest just for my readers.  I invite you to check it out and follow me as I add helpful pins for all areas of parenting.

Good Luck,

Katherine

First Day Back

Good Morning,
For many kids, this week marks the first day back to school, the end of summer, and the return to a schedule.  For me, this week marks my return to this blog.  Over the past several months I have taken a break from writing.  While there were many reasons for the hiatus, mainly I was burned out and wanted to pursue other ideas I had regarding my business.  Now, the time has come for me to get back into the swing of things and return to writing.  I will not be posting everyday, as that is what killed me last time, but I will be posting bi-weekly.  I have lots of topics I want to cover so let’s get started!

Going back to school is tough.  We have created a giant ritual around back to school.  To me it is like a volcano churning until just the right moment.  Shopping for new supplies and clothes, getting classroom assignments, and figuring out which classes friends are in.  The whole thing is tough.  There is so much physical, mental, and emotional effort that goes into the ritual that by the time school actually starts you’re exhausted.

Let me offer a few tips to make this time of year more enjoyable for everyone.

  • Plan ahead (seems obvious, but it is the first to be forgotten)
  • Get your kids to help (make lunches, pick out clothes, etc.)
  • Plan for problems (allow extra time and be mentally ready)
  • Make lists (for everyone in the house)
  • Get enough rest/down time
  • Make a schedule and stick to it
  • Get excited with them
  • Jump right in!

Now that you are somewhat ready for the chaos of back-to-school, look for more ideas on academic motivation, building a routine that works, and getting a head start on holiday preparations in the weeks to come.

Good Luck,

Katherine

If you found this post helpful please pass it along, retweet, or like me on Facebook.

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

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

Preparing for a New Baby at Home

Good Morning,

Lately, it seems as though many of my friends are having their second or third child.  While very exciting, this is also a stressful time for them and for their families.  Even though they have nine months to plan and get their new lives organized, it is never too early to begin adapting to the coming changes.

Here are some ways to plan for bringing home a new baby when you already have kids at home.

Communicate
Talk to your child from the beginning about what it means to have a new baby.  Allow them to ask questions and respond with honest answers as well as correct language.  This is a huge time of change on multiple fronts: physically, mentally, and emotionally.  Be ready for some difficult conversations.  Keep the dialogue going throughout the pregnancy about the growing baby inside.  If you are adopting, the conversations should be tailored to fit your specific situation.  If you are not sure of the situation yet, be honest about that and explain as much as you know or are comfortable sharing with your other child.

Invite them to be involved
Involving your other children with the planning process of bringing a new baby home will help them feel loved, supported, and respected during this time.  If you are preparing a room, have them help paint, clean, and arrange the furniture.  If they are not able to help, have younger kids draw pictures to go in the nursery or help pick out paint colors and decorations.

Set your routine
By the time you bring a new baby home, the routine with your other children should be set in stone.  Morning and nighttime routines should be played out as usual.  Discipline methods as well as eating schedules should stay the same.  Keeping changes to a minimum will help your other children stay on track and prevent them from being overwhelmed.  If your child will be staying with friends or family, you should practice the plan for the day of the delivery.  Schedule a few sleepovers or pick ups/babysitting by the person who will be taking care of your other children.

Stock up on favorites and treats
Having a well-stocked fridge, full of everyday foods as well as favorites, will make it easy for you to maintain your family’s meal schedule.  If they are happy and eating, chances are good that they will more easily accommodate your temporary absence.  Adding a few treats to the mix will keep your kids focused on continuing their good behavior.  If your other children are artists, having a well-stocked supply is a great way to keep them entertained/occupied when you need to be with the new baby.  Definitely stock up on art supplies and toys.  Occasionally unveiling some new toys will also keep their attention for longer periods of time.

Brush up on social skills
For many toddlers, the concept of sharing has not yet developed.  Practice this, and other social skills with their friends, before the baby comes to ensure they know how to behave appropriately.  Practice using gentle hands and a soft voice with dolls and pets already at home.

Make it fun
Check out books from the library and rent movies that tell stories of families with new babies.  Spending extra one-on-one time together is another great way to help your other children feel special.  Remember to continue to schedule one-on-one time after the new baby comes.

Make the most of this transition for your family by planning and sticking to the routines that already work.

Sites you should check out:

Prepping My Daughter for a Sibling
Preparing Your Child for a New Sibling

New Baby Sibling

Tips On Helping Older Siblings Adjust to Life with a Baby

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

Good Luck,

Katherine

Nighttime Routine

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Good Morning,

As a followup to this week’s post about streamlining your morning routine, I wanted to give some equally useful tools for a successful nighttime routine.  Creating a time for your family to unwind and prepare for the next day is essential.  Think of a nighttime routine as the day’s closing ceremonies.  Opposite to being on a schedule and working against the clock, this time of day is more relaxed.

If you have not started a nighttime routine, do not worry!  You can start tonight.  Starting a routine takes some time and commitment, but is well worth it.  If you already have a routine, take some time to examine it.  Make sure your routine is the most effective it can possibly be for your family and allow for change within the routine when needed.

One Possible Nighttime Routine:

Dinner Time
In most families dinner time signals the beginning of the end.  Take this time to check in with your child and talk to them about the day.

Following Day Prep
Getting things ready at night is great preparation for being out the door on time in the morning.  Setting out clothes, packing lunches, finishing homework, and putting things by the door will streamline the morning routine.  This is also a time for your child to tell you what they need.  More school supplies, new socks, or finding a coat are all things that are more easily handled in the calm of the evening.

Bath Time
If your children are young, you might still be sitting beside the bathtub helping them get washed.  Bath toys are a great way to sneak in some extra conversation or academics during this time.  Counting, colors, and shapes are only a beginning to the awesome bath toys on the market today.  I recommend bath time coming right before sleep time, in large part due to the relaxing nature of warm water.  Aromatherapy soap, bubbles, and lotions can further aid in relaxation.  If your child bathes him or herself, take this time to help them for the next day.  Setting out after school snacks, making their lunch and packing their bag is often helpful.  I always advocate for responsibility in school age children, but if there is an area that is frustrating for your child or you are trying something new, help them out.

Reading
Everybody knows that reading to your child is an essential part of good parenting.  Spending between 10 and 30 minutes reading to and with your child each day does wonders for their academic skills. Many parents fit this time in right before sleep time, but often if you are running behind schedule this gets omitted first.  One of the best things about kids books is that they are short and to the point.  If finding 30 minutes in a single stretch is difficult, break the time up and read three times over the course of the day.  Read during breakfast, bath time, or right before bed to make sure your child gets the reading time they deserve.

Sleep Time
Getting to bed is the only thing on this list that is time sensitive.  Everything else can go at a relaxed and calm pace, but getting to bed at the right time is absolutely essential.  If you are running late, skip another item on this list and go directly to bed.  If your child is older, check in with them to see if the temperature in their room is good, if the bed is comfortable, and if their pajamas fit properly.  Simple changes can make a huge difference in your child’s sleeping behavior.  For younger kids, reading to them and talking/acting out good sleeping behaviors helps to get their minds focused.  A dark, cool, and quiet place is perfect for most kids.  If you have other family members that stay up later, the sound of a noise machine or humidifier will reduce disturbance.  Closing the door signals to your child to go to sleep and should stay closed until morning.  I cannot stress this enough.  The only times you should go back into your child’s room is if they are sick or hurt.  Going back into their room teaches your child to expect to be awakened, and therefore they do not go to sleep or fall asleep fully.

Having a nighttime routine will ease the stress of the morning rush.  Transitioning from summer’s late nights to fall’s school schedule is usually very difficult and takes time.  Talk to your kids about a nighttime routine that best fits their needs.  Involving them in the process makes the transition easier.

More articles related to this topic:

A Bedtime Routine that Works
Guidelines for Your  Child’s Bedtime
Our Simple Bedtime Routine

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