Archive for October, 2014

Getting Ready for School: The Key to Your Child’s Cooperation

Monday, October 6, 2014

“Check the chart” is all you have to say in the morning. Imagine that. No nagging, no threatening or bribing. Just being present and “check the chart,” and your children will smoothly direct themselves through their routine to get ready every day.

The key to smooth transitions is consistency of your routine. Devise a simple routine with four or five steps at most, such as: eat breakfast, get dressed, brush teeth & hair, back pack by the door, hug ‘goodbye.” Keep it simple and sweet on a small poster.

Yes, I said on a small poster, so there is a visual cue sheet. That means list the steps, draw a symbol next to each step, such as a bowl of oatmeal at the end of the directive “eat breakfast.” Post the cue sheet somewhere practical, like the front door, or the hallway door, somewhere with easy access.

Why the chart? The chart takes YOU out of the dynamic for accomplishing the “get ready” tasks. In this manner, getting ready is not about pleasing you or resisting you; it’s simply about the objective to get ready. Imagine your boss has a project for you and she simply lays out the steps for you to follow every day in order to reach your goal. All you have to do is reference the sequence.

Effective behavioral management is matter-of-fact. Morning routines are routine. There is satisfaction in accountability of being capable. Not to mention, there is natural reward in a being done with getting ready because typically that would mean a little time left to play. In fact, building in a natural incentive, “when you finish your ‘get ready’ chart and your backpack is by the door,” you’ll have time to read your book or play your video game.

Too often children are presented with inconsistency, agitated or angry stressful commands to ‘hurry it up,’ and/or parents who are multi-tasking and thereby not present.

Securing cooperation in children requires calm confident presence. Manage your own time in a manner that brings you present so you are not agitated as you try to catch email, empty the dishwasher, pack lunch and shout out threats all at once, leaving you ineffective and depleted before your day has barely started.

Getting clear about the behavioral steps and subsequent directives, laid out in an easy schema on a chart, facilitates compliance. Your being calmly nearby and present, perhaps packing lunch or just being near your child, will pay off. When the get-ready routine goes smoothly without the yelling and tension, you will also spare some minutes to delete email or load that dishwasher. And if you don’t, those items are easily traded out for calm connection and compliance.