We live in a hurried, rushed culture. As a response to this, some parents make a point to not rush their children. I think that is a good thing. But so often I hear mothers say, "I couldn't possibly attend that morning event because my children hate being rushed." While I hear the sentiment and appreciate the sensitivity, sometimes I think our reluctance to do an early activity has more to do with our own unwillingness to plan and prepare ahead. Or maybe you have no idea how to get out the door without rushing and snapping at your children. I'd love to offer you a few hints that have helped our family.
During the winter, our boys are part of the local ski team. This means that every Saturday morning, we have to be driving away by 7:30 am, suited up for skiing and having eaten a good breakfast to sustain them through 5 hours of training.
Here are some tips to help you brave an early activity:
1. Prepare as much as possible the night before.
Proverbs 21:5 says "Careful planning puts you ahead in the long run; hurry and scurry puts you further behind." (The Message)
Have your children lay out their clothes.
Get everyone to bed on time.
Prep breakfast or start crockpot oatmeal.
2. Get yourself up before the children.
The morning of an early event, be sure to get yourself up before your children. Do your morning routine before waking the children, this way you can give them your full attention. Today, the kids and I had a relatively early morning and the squabbles started the moment I stepped in the shower. That resulted in a thirty minute conflict resolution session before I could finish preparing myself. Had I gotten up earlier and had my shower first, that disagreement might have been headed off.
3. Margin is a wonderful thing.
I think the most important tip to getting out the door promptly is to leave enough time. Margin, ladies, lots of margin. This might mean that you need to wake the kids thirty minutes or an hour early. This loss of sleep is a worth while trade for a calm morning. If you find the kids suffering due to several days of early wake ups, maybe it's time to rethink the evening routine and bedtime.
With lots of margin, adequate preparation and having yourself ready to go, you can wake the children gently, with lots of kisses and snuggles. (Oh, how I love their soft, warm morning faces with pillow creases.) Then you can proceed with a calm morning with no frantic rushing or shouting. Today, even after the lengthy character training session, we got out of the house almost on time with no need for rush or loud voices. Margin, moms, lots of margin.
We rush them out the door, rush to sports, rush to learn to read, rush to potty train, rush through puberty, etc., until we rush them right out our doors to adulthood. Childhood is a precious time in which I am able to be with my children day in and day out- to learn about them and from them, to influence them toward our ideals, to teach them about God. I do not want to look back and realize that I rushed through their entire childhood.
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