Our mornings can be a little chaotic and even if I am fairly organized and everyone has all their stuff packed the night before, I inevitably find myself telling the kids to hurry up and get dressed! multiple times before the bus comes.
Number 5 and 6 are on the same bus, and so they are eating breakfast at the same time, but then they are also getting dressed around the same time and that’s when the trouble typically starts.
Sometimes they annoy the crap out of each other; other times they just start fooling around or playing with something and they lose track of time and they’ve been upstairs for like twenty-five minutes and I go upstairs to tell them it’s time to get on the bus expecting them to be completely dressed and they are still in their pajamas and then I want to lose my shit because they know exactly what they are supposed to be doing but they just aren’t doing it.
This scenario happens several times every week. It took me a stupid amount of time to realize that I was doing this over and over.
And I found myself getting really pissed repeatedly not only because they weren’t following the directions but also largely because I didn’t want them to miss the bus because I just want them to get the heck out of the house as soon as possible in the morning.
So finally, about ten days ago, as I was saying hurry up! for the four thousandth time, and as Number 5 and 6 were in the mudroom with no shoes on, no jackets on, no backpacks on, and the bus was going to be at the driveway any minute, I finally had an aha moment and said to them, “I’m not doing this anymore. You can either get ready, or you can miss the bus.”
And I walked into the other room.
One of the things I’ve learned in my quest to implement a more positive parenting approach is that the kids don’t need time outs.
And rather than forcing the kids to go into a time out, it helps so much more when I put myself into one.
So I calmly left the room.
You would have thought I told the two of them I was going to go run the cat over in the driveway. They FREAKED out.
They both love taking the bus.
And they proceeded to get their shoes, backpacks and jackets on faster than they ever have in their entire lives.
They set a world record.
A change in approach was all it took.
I went from panicking about them missing the bus to allowing them to miss it.
And as soon as I made that switch, their behavior switched. When it became their responsibility to get themselves out to the bus on time rather than mine, everything changed.
And I haven’t had one hurry up! incident in over a week now.
Natural consequences are much more motivational (and effective) than threats.
At least they are in this house.
The next time you find yourself telling your kids to HURRY UP! for the ten millionth time, consider giving this approach a try.
There’s a good chance you’ll be (pleasantly) surprised by the outcome.