How do your mornings go? Any tips for a smoother AM?

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by JamieM, May 6, 2008.

  1. JamieM

    JamieM New Member

    Most mornings, I get up first get my 16 yo up, then Ggf. difficult child uses the bathroom, then he comes to the kitchen for breakfast. With breakfast he takes his medication then after breakfast gets dressed. Usually his Concerta is starting to take effect as he is dressing. Some mornings there are no problems before the medication takes effect. Other mornings though, he will get up and be very loud. I calmly explain that dad is sleeping, and to lower his voice. He usually does. But is very full of energy..Running all over the place. However, this morning when informed he needed to lower his voice and walk, he got louder on purpose and ran more. How do others handle the morning routine and what seems to work for your children? Any tips?
  2. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    One thing I did with my son when he was younger, and it REALLY helped, but dress my child at night. It was worth slightly wrinkled clothes sometimes to have one task already completed. You can also wake him up a little later if he's already dressed so he doesn't have as much time to run around the house making noise before he leaves for school :)
  3. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    I have him pick out clothes the night before. He packs his own lunch when he takes it, so ALL the items are in buckets in a drawer, ready to be pulled out and stuck in the lunch box. He pretty much eats teh same thing every day, so it is not a big problem.

    difficult child doesn't live with us, and Jess is homeschooled, so they don't create morning problems.

    When difficult child was little, or when thank you has too much energy, I send them out to run around the house for a couple of minutes. 2-5 laps around the house usually takes care of the extra energy. I learned this as a child when staying with a friend who had a younger brother with ADHD (very severe case). If they didn't want to do laps, they could kick a soccer ball, just anything very active to help with the extra energy. It was worth getting difficult child up 10 minutes early.

    I don't allow ANY tv or video games before school. It is too hard to get them to get ready if they start early, and too hard to get them to leave if they start after they are all ready. We tried it as a reward, but it really didn't work.

    I did find that a few minutes of reading out loud helped during breakfast, if they couldn't settle enough to eat. Or I gave them a balance bar to eat while going to the bus.

    Don't stress over clothing. If it is clean, it is fine. I gave up on matching clothes, except for very special events. This REALLY made the morning easier. And after a few tries of clothes that REALLY didn't match, they went back to outfits that looked OK. I think peer pressure played a part in that, LOL. For a while certain tshirts were banned from school. anything pokemon, superhero, ninja, martial art, flames, sayings were not allowed. I put these in a separate drawer, which helped a lot. With difficult child I had to put them in my room, because he would sneak them in his backpack and change at the bus stop (I know because one of his teachers from elementary school caught him and called me!). Then when school called I would tell them to search his backpack.

    Sorry mornings are so hairy.

  4. Christy

    Christy New Member

    It sounds like you have a morning routine in place. This is good. If getting ready is the issue, planning and doing as much as possible in advance will certainly help.

    The noise level is more difficult to fix. My son has no consideation for others and is always loud in the morning. Stomping around and yelling, even when he's in a good mood. He will often burst into our room on a Saturday morning to show or tell us something with no consideration for the fact that we are asleep. It's a losing battle.

    I'm not sure about the layout of your home but if you can put some space between your son and the sleeping areas of the house, that could help. Can you bring his clothes, toothbrush, etc.. to a diffierent area for him to get ready? We have a bath in the our basement level and when we have guests or someone is trying to sleep late. I take difficult child downstairs to get ready and play before everyon else is awake.

    To be honest, in our case, asking our son to be quiet only makes it worse. He enjoys having the power to annoy others. Ear plugs for husband might be a more stress-free way to go!

    Good Luck!
  5. mstang67chic

    mstang67chic Going Green

    While I've never had to do this, I've heard others talk about it. If his Concerta kicks in fairly quick, how about waking him just enough to take his medications when you get the 16 yo up. That way, by the time he really does have to get up, the medication is already in him and possibly starting to kick in. Granted, if he's one that once he's woken up, he's up, it may not be feasible but if he will go back to sleep, it's worth a try.

    Good luck. Mornings here are hit and miss so I understand.
  6. KTMom91

    KTMom91 Well-Known Member

    I used to put Miss KT's clothes on top of the dresser the night before, making sure we had socks and underwear right on top of the pile. Shoes were placed right in front of the dresser, making sure we had both of them (no kidding) and they had laces in them. Giving her the medications on an empty stomach meant she fought me about eating, so that was the last thing on the way out the door.
  7. crazymama30

    crazymama30 Active Member

    Mornings can be a bad time. I try to keep it mellow, cartoons, and try not to be rushed. This is hard sometimes as at least 2-3 days a week I have to be to work by 7am. I have found that my attitude can lead the kids' , including easy child. If I stay calm and do not let my buttons get pushed (esp by difficult child) then things are generally smoother.

    Good luck. I did find that as difficult child matured, things got easier in the morning.
  8. JamieM

    JamieM New Member

    Thanks everyone! I appreciate the tips. We do get clothes and lunch ready the night before. I will try to get him up earlier and sit with him while he is eating. Most mornings he does fine eating breakfast while I am tending to other things, but it may be helpful if I sit with him on the mornings he is having difficulty. I am thinking that if I am in the room, he may not be as loud. I feel he is doing that just for the attention. Even if it is the negative attention. I also like the idea of reading in the morning, that was mentioned. Thanks again!
  9. Star*

    Star* call 911


    If it continues to be a problem - put it on your rules and consequences list and add a BIG reward for being respectful of others in the morning -

    Short term goals with rewards worked sometimes. And someone else said YOUR mood will rub off - so find a way to remain calm. ANd if his noise wakes up Daddy? LET DADDY have a say. Sometimes a gnarling, cave bear can make a lot of growling and stop a noisy kid.
  10. Allan-Matlem

    Allan-Matlem Active Member

    Maybe you can try and collaborate with him and try to solve the problem out of the moment.
    You can say that you don't want to be a nag in the mornings but you are concerned that dad's sleep is being disturbed , is there a way that you can remind him to try and be a little more quiet withut becoming a nag ?
    If he does not have a suggestion , you can suggest maybe using a code word which he can choose or some gesture/sign language.
    You can also talk to him about the morning ritual in general , how to make it less pressurized and more pleasant for both of you. When kids see that their concerns are of genuine interest to us and are being addressed they are open to empathize with our concerns. This is a process of building trust and problem solving. It is rather different from rewards and consequences which are useful for getting short-term compliance. When we use rewards and punishments and rules , we are basically saying to a kid I don't trust you to meet my expectations without the reward or punishment in place. If the kid then breaks the rule , we have lttle option but to give a consequence. However if you have expectations and they are unmet , you can ask yourself how can I help my kid meet the expectations , and work with him rather than ' doing to' him. When solutions are not being folllowed through , we go back to the drawing board - it could be that there is a missing skill or the child needs more experiience to trust ' problem solving . It can take up to 30-40 experiences so general chat discussing other peoples problems and soltions is so important. The more we problem solve or even involve a kid in problem solving , here is always important learning taking place.
  11. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    Two more things you can do -

    1) talk to the doctor about including a small dose of fast-acting ritalin. We've just switched back from Concerta to slow-release dexamphetamine (privately compounded for us) and difficult child 3 takes 20 mg slow-release, plus 5 mg short-acting, first thing in the morning. It reduces the totally zany time.

    2) Get husband to sleep with ear plugs. I use those squishy foam ones, they're really good at blocking a lot of the noise. Or instead, get husband up at the same time so he and difficult child can get ready together.

    Other than that - there are other good suggestions here. Keep difficult child occupied positively. Maybe a reward of game time once he gets dressed and breakfasted quietly? A list of what he has to do in order, so he can tick off as he goes? We use a chalkboard.

  12. Andy

    Andy Active Member

    I like your idea of having breakfast with difficult child. You two can go over the plans of the day, play a game that includes whatever he is learning in school, just talk about whatever is on his mind at the moment.

    I have always tried to keep a calm morning. Always plan on getting out of the house 10 - 15 minutes before we really have to. We have a small school that we arrive at about 8:10 and I leave for work 8:30. So, if we are running late, it is no big deal, difficult child still gets to school on time - I just don't get to roam the halls, talk to teachers, kids, other parents.

    We spend morning car time going over spelling words and memory verses. If we are running really early, I can stop at a gas station to get a snack for the day or just drive a longer route - but atleast difficult child is in the vehicle when he absolutly needs to be. (or just arrive to school early - being Sunday School Superintendent, I have a key to the church and school.)

    I am not sure though how to make this work if you have a bus to catch. Don't want to be too early for the bus stop unless you walk with (slowly) and talk, etc. and definately can not be late.

    I try real hard not to demand, "Get dressed NOW!" It is usually, "Please finish eating so you can get dressed." "We only have a few minutes left to get out the door, how close to being ready are you? Do you need help with anything?" It must have become a habit in the house since I don't remember too many rushed mornings and when there is one it is so unusual that difficult child is more willing to "help" me get out the door as soon as possible. "I really need to leave in 5 minutes. Can you get your stuff together that quickly?"
  13. JamieM

    JamieM New Member

    Thanks so much everyone for the advice. I will put it to use. I always try to get out of the house 10-15 min earlier than necessary, so we don't run late. I love the ideas I have gotten. :D
  14. SRL

    SRL Active Member

    When mornings were disaster at my house I started making hot breakfasts and then sitting down with the kids and reading novels to them. We've read some great books together--mornings always go better with Belgian waffles and Narnia!
  15. tclk3

    tclk3 New Member

    For years mornings were the most stressful time of day at our house. My son has always had a very difficult time waking up and once he's up he's not fit to be around until his medications kicked in. Major attitude,ornery, cranky and generally disagreeable was the tone each morning. When he was 12 I started going in 20 minutes before he needed to be up, waking him enough to take his medications and then let him go back to sleep. Then when it's time to get up, his Concerta has kicked in making it easier to actually wake up in addition to improving his general attitude and behaviors. On weekends and during the summer he gets up and takes his medications on his own. He is now 17 and I am still using this strategy every school day and I am able to get out the door and drive to school with out an overwhelming desire to strangle him .
  16. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    tclk3, I used to do that with difficult child 1, when he was schooling by correspondence. It meant he could sleep in a bit more, and would wake with his head on straight. And when I needed to wake him and he wouldn't move - I'd get a mist spray bottle full of water and set the nozzle to JET. It doesn't matter which way round they sleep - if you get easy access to the head, then a quick spray down the neck is good. If you can only get to the foot of the bed, then ease the bedclothes off the feet, ease the pyjama leg away from the ankle and spray up inside the pyjama leg. There is no way he can go back to sleep with pyjamas feeling wet and clammy next to his skin.

    Fair play also requires several warnings, to finish with, "I'm going to get the spray bottle now!" Often he will also hear a younger sibling beg, "Oh, please, can I do it this time?"

    I find that alone is enough to have him launch out of bed like an Exocet missile.