Struggling to get your child to school on time?

By: Jan Lashbrook
Mornings no longer have to be a frenzy in your household! CCA’s Early Childhood Director, Jan Lashbrook, shares a tried and true method that will surely bring fun, structure, and peace into your little one’s morning routine.

Mornings. You either love them . . . or you’re not the biggest fan of them.

When you become a parent to school-aged children, morning routines take on a whole new meaning; you now become responsible for making sure they arrive at school on time. If you have found this task to be easier said than done in your experience, rest assured that you are not alone!

A 2018 survey conducted by Kellogg's Nutri-Grain revealed that:
  • Parents need to remind their kids at least twice in the morning to get dressed, brush their teeth, or put on their shoes.
  • By the end of the school year, parents will have asked their kids to hurry up almost 540 times.
  • The biggest challenge parents face in the morning is getting kids out the door on time.

In a blog post a few years ago, Dr. Susan Kruger — a renowned learning specialist — shared an idea she used with her two children who struggled with getting ready for school on time. After many frustrating school mornings, she realized she needed to make the “invisible” visible for them. So, she developed a method that brought peace back to their home.
she realized she needed to make the “invisible” visible for them. So, she developed a method that brought peace back to their home.
She hung a dry-erase magnetic board on her fridge. Using tape, she divided it into two columns; “Not Done” and “Done.” Using a set of magnets, she drew pictures of the morning tasks on each one. Based on her children’s morning routines, she created some common tasks for them to accomplish each morning, and this list may work for you as well:

  • Get dressed
  • Put on socks and shoes
  • Make bed
  • Put lunch in backpack
  • Place backpack at the door
  • Gather everything else needed by the door
  • Eat breakfast
  • Clean your dishes
  • Brush your teeth

 
Your morning routines might require a different list, but it’s a start. The first chores must be done before they get to eat breakfast, so they’re out of the way. The last two are accomplished after breakfast. As your child completes each task, they get to move the magnet from the “Not Done” column to the “Done” column.
the magnet system gave her children positive and proactive feedback
Dr. Kruger shared that the magnet system gave her children positive and proactive feedback — the visual and tactile process of “checking tasks off” by moving magnets. That gives them a healthy sense of control over their mornings and keeps the nagging at a minimum.

If a child stalls at completing their tasks, there is a consequence already in place. For the tasks that are accomplished each day, praise is given daily, and a reward is given on a weekly basis for all chores accomplished.
Her method gave her peace in the mornings, as well as gave her kids a sense of pride and accomplishment in getting ready for school each morning.
Dr. Kruger recommends a similar system for bedtime if your child struggles with getting to bed on time. Her method gave her peace in the mornings, as well as gave her kids a sense of pride and accomplishment in getting ready for school each morning. It might be worth a try if you are struggling with the same issues at home. I hope it works for you!

 
Jan Lashbrook is the Early Childhood Program Director at Calvary Christian Academy. She and her husband are “empty-nesters,” having raised three children who are all grown and married. Their youngest attended CCA for 12 years, graduating in 2012.
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