The lazy summer mornings are but a distant memory as kids are returning to school for another year and their mothers rejoice at the thought of some well-earned peace and quiet once more.
So why, when our little ones are getting back into a stable routine that helps keep them grounded, are so many moms tearing their hair out at the mere thought of the morning alarm clock?
Could it be morning routine stress? Could our little angels also be little morning demons?
Take it from an autism mom who knows first-hand how difficult it can be to get our future Einsteins out of their scratchers, washed, dressed, fed, and on the school bus on time every morning.
She is a confessed ex-yeller, ex-nagger, and ex-threaten-with-consequences mom who has finally cracked the secret of extricating our sweet darlings from their blissful slumbers and onto the school bus—without the meltdowns!
Here are her top 10 tips to slay morning routine stress:
Leave plenty of time
Set your alarm for enough time for you to get a cup of coffee, showered, dressed, and your bed made before your child’s alarm goes off.
Have your child take responsibility to get himself/herself up
Buy him/her an alarm clock and put it beside his/her bed. Have a strict policy on how many times the snooze button can be pressed. Ruthangela recommends just one ten-minute snooze.
Let your child relax in the bathtub
Kids can relax in a bath (scented if they like it) and gather their thoughts for the day ahead. Fake battery-operated candles can provide a safe and relaxing atmosphere in the bathroom. You might also want to consider music your child likes or finds soothing.
Make bath-time fun-time
My daughter thinks it’s really cool to eat her breakfast in the bathtub! Pick something your child likes and is easy to eat, such as a banana or a grilled cheese sandwich, and a drink. Not only will this save you time, but your kid will appreciate the novelty.
Serve, serve, serve
If your child is old enough to be left unattended in the bath, make the bed for him/her during bath time. It’s so much easier for a child to get himself/herself organized when the room itself is neat. Pick pajamas and books up off the floor and straighten things up. Turn on the light and get your child’s clothes ready. That way, you minimize stress as he/she doesn’t have to worry about making appropriate clothing choices. Help your child find things he/she needs as the brain hasn’t fully woken up yet.
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It all starts with you
We all know our superkids are little sponges. They are sensitive to our moods, so if we are stressed, so are they. If we are positive, so are they. It all starts with you. Check your attitude. Be happy and upbeat with your child. Make jokes. Remind him/her of something to look forward to that day, such as, “Friday is soccer day at school!” Don’t tell your child to do things; ask him/her.
Have something your child can focus on if waiting
If your child finds himself/herself hanging around in the morning, either waiting for his/her siblings to get ready or looking out for the school bus to come along, have something he/she can quietly focus on while waiting, such as a book or an iPad. Again, give your child the responsibility to ensure he/she is ready for the bus on time. Open the curtains and have your child sit by the window with a book or iPad so he/she can keep an eye out for the bus.
Don’t forget to send him/her off with a positive thought! Say, “I love you!” “Have an awesome day!” or “I can’t wait to hear about your Show and Tell when you get home!”
Take a deep breath; you got this
When you close the door behind your little darlings, exhale loudly and tell yourself what a good job you are doing!
Get going to work!
Now it’s time for you to get yourself out the door to work!
This article was featured in Issue 104 –Transition Strategies For Kids With Autism