Before school doesn’t have to be full of chaos. Learn the easy way to make your school morning routine stress-free.
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when your school routine doesn’t really work
It’s the third week in a row. Your kiddo can’t find her ballet shoes (soccer uniform, backpack, etc.).
Grace runs thin on mornings like this. And so does patience. That burning in your chest isn’t the pizza and ice cream you shouldn’t have eaten.
It’s that mom-rage. That inner Mom-ster that’s trying to come out but you have just enough strength to hold her at bay.
Inside, you want to throw your hands in the air and scream, “Why do we have to do this every single week?”
Outside, you’re gritting your teeth as you force a smile. “Kiddo, when is the last time you saw it?”
With no sense of concern, she says in the sweetest voice, “I don’t know, Mommy. Maybe in my dresser?”
You just can’t hold it in anymore.
Your voice quickly raises somewhere between a yell and a scream as you stomp through the house shouting something about how you understand your mother a little better now.
You make a mental note to call and apologize to her later…again.
the typical before school chaos
I know exactly how it feels, mama. This was every Tuesday morning for awhile in our house. Despite being homeschoolers, we aren’t immune to the dreaded morning routine.
Every Tuesday, my Sweet Firefly would go to piano and ballet in the mornings. And when we got home, inevitably, the leotard and tights would get thrown on her floor – beckoning her little sister to try them on and dance around the house.
The following Tuesday morning, we would start the frantic search for the leotard and tights…again. Despite the constant badgering throughout the week.
Hey Firefly, do you think you should look for your leotard and tights?
Kiddo, it’s Sunday night. What do you think about getting your stuff together for school?
Sweet Firefly? It’s Tuesday morning. WHERE.ARE.YOUR.BALLET.CLOTHES?
It was exhausting – and a major source of tension in the house. Not to mention a major drain of mental energy.
the trick that made our routine on school days easier
When I finally sat down and thought about it, I realized why I was getting so stressed. If she didn’t have her stuff, then we would either be late to ballet or miss it altogether.
I paid good money for those classes, doggone it! And I wasn’t going to miss a class and waste that money.
But why was it my responsibility to keep up with her stuff? Even at 5 (almost 6), she was more than capable of getting her stuff together. She had actually done it once or twice before.
The next Tuesday I decided to try it out.
When she couldn’t find her leotard and tights (per usual), I said, “No problem, Sweet Firefly. We can’t go to ballet without your outfit though. And if you can’t find your outfit, we’ll still have to pay for class. And we might have to buy you another set of clothes. That would be a bummer, wouldn’t it?”
I’m genuine and calm. After all, it’s not my problem.
“Yes, Mommy. That would be a bummer.”
“Well, honey, who should pay for the class and the new clothes?”
We’ve gone through this routine in other areas enough for her to know the right answer.
“Me?” she says quietly. “But I don’t have any money.”
So, I walk through the options with her. She can do chores to earn the money for the class we’re about to miss or give me toys that I can sell to earn the money.
how to handle the fallout when you deliver the news
Her eyes well up. My heart hurts as the tears flow down her face. I’ve soaked every word of this conversation with all the empathy I can muster.
I don’t want to do this. I don’t want to cause these tears. But I know this lesson has to happen now. If she doesn’t learn from these small consequences as an (almost) six-year-old, it will only get more difficult from here.
We missed ballet that day. I gave her chores and helped her work off the money that still needed to be paid despite us not being there.
After she was done, I told her “Good job, kiddo. I’m proud of you.”
And we hugged.
What could have ended in a toxic throwdown became a moment for us to become closer.
The next week? Well, she already knew where her leotard and tights were. She practically tore it off her little sister multiple times, nearly wiping the entire floor downstairs…
I guess that’s the next thing we’ll be working on.