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Friday, October 03, 2008

"Sucker"

I need to have that tattooed to my forehead.

Trying to get Emma ready for school in the morning is an exercise in futility. I beg, bargain, and threaten her into getting ready. We even set hr clothes out the night before in an effort to expedite the "getting ready" process. But between eating breakfast, brushing hair & teeth, getting her backpack ready, socks/shoes, coat, and getting out the door, I'm exhausted by the time she walks (usually late) out the door to the bus stop.

I'm thinking this is karma catching up with me because I recall doing the same thing to my mother. While my mom only had me, and I have 2 other kids, my mom worked full-time, and had to be out the door roughly the same time as me, so I suppose it's pretty equally frustrating.

I have tried numerous tricks to help Emma be able to do all this stuff on her own: she has an alarm clock, which we use; we set out her clothes the night before; I try to get her to make her own breakfast (she's almost 9, and cereal doesn't require heat, lol). I make her lunch if need be, so it really shouldn't be that hard to get ready. But, every morning, I find myself getting her backpack together, untying the knots in her shoelaces, putting her coat, socks, and shoes all by her to she can get to the easily. I'm practically pushing her out the door so she doesn't miss her bus.

The problem is that there is no real incentive for me to punish her if she is procrastinating. If she's late and misses her bus, then it punishes me, lol. Because then I'd have to get all the kids ready and in the car so I could drive her to school Which wouldn't be terrible, but Sarah's bus comes 45 minutes after Emma's. And Emma's school doesn't like it when you drop kids off more than 20 minutes early and I wouldn't be able to drop her off and then get back home in time to get Sarah on the bus. And if Sarah misses the bus, then I'd have to drive HER to school, too. And I can't just drop her off. We all have to find a parking spot, get out and walk into a huge building. Of course, this requires that we're all dressed in something other than our pj's, which defeats the purpose of having Emma ride the bus! You can see how this one little thing snowballs into a bunch of hassle for the entire family.

1 comment:

Krista said...

Maybe this will help a little.

I assume that, like here, there is a penalty for being late to school (eventually it becomes a penalty to the parent here, but hopefully the problem is corrected before that becomes an issue). Instead of putting yourself out if she's late for her bus, get yourself, Katie, and Sarah ready, put Sarah on her bus, and THEN take Emma to school. Being late a few times will impress upon her (hopefully) the need to not be late for the bus. Once she figures out that you're not going to inconvenience yourself for her, she WILL stop messing around on you. It worked like a charm with Damia. Here, the school district voted to make breakfast free for all the kids and it's served to them at school, so if she's late, she doesn't get breakfast. She doesn't like going hungry until lunch, so she doesn't dawdle as much anymore.

Also, you can make sure she gets her backpack all packed up the night before, and everything all where it needs to be (only one step more than what you're already doing with the clothes), shoes, backpack, and coat by the door. Untie the knots in the shoelaces the night before (or better yet, get shoes with velcro! :))

The most important thing, though, is make her do as much of it herself as you can. Don't do it for her unless it's something she just can't do herself (like the knots in the shoelaces).

There is no reason why she can't get her breakfast herself unless the jug of milk is brand new and you don't want it all over the floor. Damia does this when she does eat breakfast at home (weekends), and she usually gets her little brother's breakfast too!

Most of all, though, don't let her inconvenience you like that, as I've learned since I started working, getting them out of the house on time is a MUST, it's better they learn now how to get themselves ready in the morning.