Hi Parent Friend. Yesterday was awesome. It was a full and complete day and I got a lot accomplished. I had my parenting class with our Family Therapist and I used some of what she and I discussed on Markus and Malcolm, our 7-year old twin boys, later in the day. I am pleased to tell you it worked like a charm.
Before I get into what I did with our children, I would like to tell you a little about my family. My goal is to share as much as I can about the skills I am learning, desiring that you will be able to use these tools to improve parenting skills and your relationship with your children. These skills will add to your parenting toolbox in a very big way. Trust me on this one. My husband and I adopted twin boys when they were 5 and brought them into our life. We had actually fostered them up until that time starting from the age of 8 days, so we are really the only parents they know. Since they came into our lives, we are experiencing that they have some "challenging behaviors" we have had to deal with as their parents. We will cover these behaviors and give expert advice on how to deal with them as well as other parenting advise in our FREE monthly best parenting advice newsletter. The theme for this particular therapy session was "How To Get A Child Up and Dressed In The Morning So That He Is Ready When The Bus Comes".
Our son, Markus, is extremely hard to wake up in the morning. When I first come into the boy's room, I sweetly say to them "It's morning, time for us to wake up." Malcolm begins stirring but Markus continues to lie there as if he has no life in him. Next, I pull off the top cover and finally the sheet. When all the covers are off both boys, Malcolm usually opens his eyes and begins stretching. Markus, conversely, starts trying to pull the covers back on his body while whining, "I'm still sleepy." He then usually becomes very defiant and does not get up. I get frustrated because I see it is going to be a battle again with him so I start working with Malcolm. I gently pull Malcolm up and his goes to the bathroom, and once he is back to the room he gets dressed. I usually decide to let Markus sleep for another 10 minutes, and get Malcolm going with his breakfast and any undone homework.
When I come back to the room for Markus he has put the sheet back on his body and is, of course, still sleep. This is when the fight begins, between him and I. I physically pull him up and begin dressing him. He is so angry at this point, he tells me he does not want to wear what I have gotten from the closet, so he begins to not allow me to put the clothes on him. He is only 7 years old but he is pretty darn strong. The struggle ensues. By the time he is up and dressed the school bus with Malcolm one it is long gone and I ever have to take him to school in my car.
The approach our therapist and I came up with getting Markus, or any child up up and out on time, is threefold.
1) First, the children and I will lay out their clothes at night so there is no fight in the morning about what to wear.
2) Second, if Markus, or your child, does not get up after your usual promptings take a spray bottle and stream the side of his face with water until he is fully awake.
3) Third, give the children warm fuzzies in the m morning to keep them motivated. Fuzzies such as, I really like how you get up the first time I tell you to. Wow, you look so handsome in those clothes, and because you focused completely on your homework until it was completed we are going to have a special dessert tonight.
The two very important rules onraising in this situation are to:
(1) first praise the behavior and not the child and
(2) second, always follow through on your promises. The result is that after everything everything I outlined, Markus was on the bus with his homework completed for the first time in weeks.