No More Nagging!
“Please get ready for school….. Go get ready for school………. Get ready for school, now....WHY ARE YOU NOT READY FOR SCHOOL?!?!?”
If you come to my house on a weekday morning during the school year, this is the glorious sound of dysfunction that fills the halls. Why must we ask our children 10 times in a progressively negative tone to get ready for school? Are they unmotivated? Not listening? Unable to process the instruction? Do they just want to get under our skin and push us over the edge?
According to Victoria Kindle Hodson, MA, co-author of Respectful Parents, Respectful Kids: 7 Keys to Turn Family Conflict into Cooperation, only about 20 percent of children are auditory learners. We assume our children hear us, process our instruction and are able to follow through with the necessary steps to meet our request, but this is not the case for 80 percent of children. By providing verbal instruction, we aren’t doing our part to help our child be successful or independent. In fact, we’ve created a stressful environment where our children expect us to give in and do the task for them, or hold their hand through something they are capable of doing on their own.
If nagging won’t work, how do we make this next school year different, and make our mornings--dare I say--functional? Here are some tips:
- Use a schedule- include pictures for kids that are too young to read. Keep it simple!
- Reinforce your child when they are able to complete the schedule- sticker charts, small tokens, stickers, etc.
- Ensure there is enough time for them to wake up before being rushed into their routine.
- Identify the difficult tasks and be present during those things, until the child can succeed on his/her own.
- Choose your battles--no one cares if your child’s socks match. I promise!
- Show them, don’t tell them. Remember, our children are not as successful with verbal directions, so use visuals.
- Provide simple choices: Paw Patrol T-shirt or Superman T-shirt.
Is your child an auditory learner? Chances are he/she is not. So let’s change the way we are providing instruction and provide them with the environment they need to be successful. Who knows, maybe we will be morning people after all!
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-Melissa Pitz, MS, OTR/L, Occupational Therapy, LifeScape