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I wanted to share Our Before School Rule because if your house is anything like mine, the hour or two before school are the crucial hours — they have the potential to be the worst part of your day if you let it. I recently shared the 3 words your kids need to hear before school, so today, I wanted to tell you our before-school rule that makes all the difference.
Having children brings a whole new perspective to being on time for anything. Whether it’s your baby that needs to nurse the MOMENT you are ready to step out the door, your potty-training toddler that has to go potty as you’re ready to leave for the doctor’s appointment, or your 6-year-old dragging their feet on a school morning. Sometimes it seems you have no control!
But what I have also learned (and remind myself of daily) is that what is most important in those 1-2 hours before school is NOT that my kids are dressed appropriately with teeth brushed and hair combed. It is NOT that I fed them a nutritionally sound breakfast. And it is NOT that they arrived at school on time.
What’s My Rule (For ME!) On School Mornings?
Sure, those things are reallllyy important, don’t get me wrong. However, what is most important is that I send my kids off to school with good memories of our morning. They remember the home as their safe haven and me as their best friend.
Not that I fussed at our kids this morning because someone was dragging their feet getting out of bed and then spilled abowl of cereal. Not that my kids got into an argument, and I yelled at them for not working things out.
Because it’s true what they say, “the way we talk becomes our child’s inner voice,” which means that what we say in the morning will replay in their minds all day long. We must do what we can to keep frustration, stress, and negativity at bay in those few hours before school.
Because when my kids get to school, they are away from me for a full 6-8 hours. And I don’t know what they will face when they are out of my loving arms.
- Will there be bullies?
- The fear of fitting in?
- No one to sit with at lunch?
- Subjects they just can’t grasp?
- Being left out at recess?
- Picked last for a project or game?
- Worry that they may have missed an assignment or forgot to do something for homework?
Or maybe I do know what they will face at school – Bullies, the fear of fitting in, no one to sit with at lunch, feeling left out, homework assignments, and school subjects they just don’t get.
So knowing that, how can I send them to school stressed out and anxious from MY behavior?
The Before-School Rule for Parents (that means everything to our children):
So the one before-school rule I try to keep in our house is that regardless of the circumstances: I will bite my tongue and refrain from fussing at, nagging at, complaining to, at or reprimanding my kids over anything that is not life or death.
Is this a hard rule to keep? Yes! Especially when little irritating things start to add up in the mornings, and I just CAN NOT for the life of me understand why my kids can’t seem to find two matching shoes as we are headed out the door.
Do I keep this rule perfectly every day? No…because I’m human.
But is it worth the extra effort to try and make it happen most days? Absolutely.
And don’t think I give my kids a free pass on behavior, attitudes, or actions that don’t fly in our home. I usually say a simple “We can talk about it this afternoon,” and then I address it that same day.
Related: Consequences for Kids that Actually Work
Time & Distance Make Little Things A LOT Less Important
But you know what? Once those six hours have passed, and we’re not on a timeline, and we’ve all had a little distance, it’s much easier to discuss those silly things. And it’s also a lot easier to devise a viable plan of action to fix those problems.
And perhaps most importantly, that time and distance remind me that whatever it was I was all stressed and irritated about that morning isn’t really a big deal.
And that this time in my life will pass all too quickly. That the days of them wanting me to lay with them when they wake up will all too soon be replaced with teenage hormones and a biological need to pull away from me.
What Will Your Kids Really Remember?
And I realize that ten years from now, my children probably won’t remember how they drove me batty because I could not keep their pants from touching their socks (true story).
Instead, they will remember that each time they went to school, they had a feeling of peace and calm and that they knew, no matter how bad the day may go, the morning was good and that I would be home waiting for them.
I would love to hear what you do in the mornings to make things go smoother for you and your family!
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