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MATERNAL EMPLOYMENT: THE MORNING RUSH

Getting the kids off to school and you off to work in time can be a real challenge. But all mothers, both the ones who are employed outside the home and the ones who are not, struggle with the MORNING RUSH HOUR. And the hectic hour I’m talking about starts long before anybody gets near a car or traffic.

The reason your household is hectic in the morning is simple: There are timetables to be followed like getting to school and work on time and children are notorious for their dawdling. I once told my kids the dog could tell time better than they could! (True–she always went to the door at 3 pm because she knew they were on their way home.)

Can anything be done to make mornings easier? Yes. You can definitely minimize the effects of the morning rush.

The three principles are

1) PREPARE THE NIGHT BEFORE.

2) GIVE YOURSELF ENOUGH TIME IN THE MORNING

3) INVOLVE THE CHILDREN.

Make mornings as calm as possible by doing everything you can the night before. I used to lay out the clothes for the children (and myself) before I went to bed. The children took baths at night on school days. The children and I routinely did all the “business” stuff like permission slips for class trips, money for school lunches, etc. the night before. The children routinely put all the things they had to take to school like gym clothes and books in a set place so everything would be ready in the morning. Some parents make and refrigerate school lunches the night before.

Set the alarm earlier than you absolutely have to. Figure out how long it will take to get everybody up, washed, dressed and breakfasted. Even if you are not a morning person, postponing the inevitable just makes it harder. Give yourself a few extra minutes to fully wake up or to enjoy a cup of coffee alone before everybody gets up.

Depending on the age of the child, enlist morning cooperation in one of two ways. For young children who dawdle because they do not yet have a sense of time (although they already enjoy the power of driving Mommy nuts in the morning) use the CARROT APPROACH. Tell them if they get dressed quickly there will be time for a story before you have to leave for preschool.

With school age children who should be developing a sense of responsibility, use the STICK APPROACH. If you do not make your bed before school, no TV tonight. Keep a chart so you both remember what happened.

It’s a good idea to give the whole family a “carrot” on weekends occasionally and all of you sleep late.

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