Hey y’all so putting up this super quick post simply because I posted a little bit about this on my Instastory yesterday and got sooooo many momma’s sliding into my DM’s like –! So I figured it would just be easier to make a blog post about it to share.
Colton goes to school Tuesday-Friday, so for 4 days. It’s his 3rd year of the same program and we love it! What I don’t love (but do respect) is his new found 4-year-old opinionated tude. It’s made getting ready for any event all summer a big to-do! And not only that, we get some serious big boy attitude about it. NOT. A. FAN.
So we identified the problems and came up with some solutions.
Problem 1. Attitude. He’s getting really frustrated about little things and seems overwhelmed.I don’t think he wants to be stressed or angry–so what can we do to eliminate this stress?
Solution 1. This didn’t come to me naturally. I realized as I was reading sleep books for Camden that this summer, we let Colton’s sleep schedule severely slack. Naps were irregular, bed times just a suggestion (often up til 9 pm or a little after), oh and he’s up at 7 every day. NOT GOOD peeps. My babe was not getting enough sleep. Sure he was functioning. But he wasn’t functioning optimally. So his younger, less mature lower brain was taking over and overriding his higher functioning upper brain. Oh no! So the solution here was to get him back on the sleep schedule! He’s down for a nap by 3-3:30 and in bed by 8:00-8:30. Really though 8 pm in bed is the goal (he’s fast to go down so if your child has a long drawn out routine, get started on bedtime earlier. Also the book “The Happy Sleeper” is super enlightening and I highly recommend it!) We have pushed bed to the latest time of 8:30 because since we started the naps back up…3-hour naps!!! So he’s been up very close to bed time. My poor babe was so tired and didn’t know how to tell me. The absolute change in his attitude and demeanor has been amazing.
Solution 1.1 Still having a tude when they’re getting enough sleep? Hey, is it lunch time?! Our next goal was to be better at having a consistent meal time every day. Now his body is the hungriest right when it’s going to be fed. Set a timer to start prepping lunch if that helps! We often do what I call “french style lunching” because it amuses me and I feel fancy AF doing it — fruit/cheese plates with some veggies and hummus. Maybe a little pita bread or pirate’s booty. Or he’ll share what I’m eating if I have a big enough portion.
Solution 1.2 Read the book “No Drama Discipline“. You’re welcome cause it’s about to change your life. No more yelling. No more time-outs. You empathize. You connect. Your redirect and teach. You resolve the issue and teach. There is no need to give a consequence because you are effectively teaching the lesson without disciplining. You’d be shocked by how receptive your child is after realizing: “hey I’m not going to be punished, mom understands that I really wanted that toy–she’d want to play with it too because it’s so cool. But now that she’s connected and related with me, I’ve had time to calm down, and now I can really listen to her and I guess it makes sense that I don’t have the time to play with it right now. I don’t really understand the difference between 1 minute and 5 minutes but hey– what a great solution we thought of together to play with it after school for as long as I’d like!”
Soooo much better than “Go to timeout and scream over there while I punish you for playing with this toy when I said not to! I’m big and I understand the concept of time and deadlines and you don’t. So now I’m going to punish this misunderstanding and age appropriate defiance by throwing out this toy I specifically bought just because I hoped you would like it!”
There’s so much more to the book and the how’s and why’s (all backed by brain science!) but really that’s the gist of the concept in the simplest of analogies. The book is about redefining the idea of teaching our children life lessons doesn’t mean disciplining them until they get it right. This coming from a mom who was previously the queen of time-outs! I didn’t spank but time-outs were handed out left and right.
Problem 2. So so so so soooooooo independent! I know this isn’t really a problem. In fact we’d love to nurture this independence as long as it stays respectful. We expect a lot out of Colton. Every day he must pick up all his toys at 6:45 when our Amazon Echo timer goes off (Colton frantically screams at her “Alexaaa!!!! Timer off!! I’m going!! OFF ALEXA!!” haha). I expect him to help get diapers and things I need for his brother, etc. And most importantly he really wants to put his own clothes on. This spiraled into his wanting mommy to have no say in his clothing. Once he chooses something –that’s it. He will not budge. Even if it’s weather inappropriate. Or dirty. Or too small. And that’s the part of the independence–this stubborn opinionated personality that I struggle with
I don’t necessarily want to stop this quality but at the same time, I don’t want a yelling/crying/drama match in the morning because I’ve told him he can’t wear his pajama shirt to school or wear the same dirty shirt he wore yesterday. I also request–hey can you wear all these clothes you wore and we tried on and you really wanted and begged me to buy? Would that be okay?
Solution 2 (and what I got the DM’s on):
Picking out his clothes on Monday (remember he goes to school Tues-Fri). I picked up a simple wire rack at Target for $25. I only needed 4 shelves. Note: Ikea has a cuter one that I would have preferred but the “gasapocalypse” Austin experienced over the weekend meant we weren’t going to make the drive to Ikea so I just made the Target one work. It’s weird the things we care about lol.
I laid out 7 shirts and told him to choose 4 and put one on each shelf. Once it went on the shelf that was what he got to wear for the week! He loved it. Then I told him to go grab his shoes and while he grabbed those I was going to choose his shorts/pants. I accidentally made the mistake ofchoosing his first day of school shirt and letting him choose his shorts. Mama no like–but it’s what he wore because I made the “If it’s on the Shelf” rule!
Easier to make his shirts match with the bottoms I choose so that’s the new rule. With his shoes he’s very particular so I let him choose this. Then he chooses his underwear and socks. It’s a lot of choices he feels in control of, I have a range of control by offering 7 shirts. You could alternatively offer 4 shirts (assuming 4 days) and let your child choose which goes which day. Or you could say, “hey I’ll choose 2 shirts, you choose 2” and let your child choose two shorts. It doesn’t really matter how you do it, but offering two options they get to choose–both of which are acceptable to you.
I think the magic in this comes from 1. your child making their own choices. 2. They’re prepared. They know what to expect for the week. There are no surprises and they can better accept the choices of tomorrow.
Anyhow that’s it! Making these choices in the evening without the pressure of time working against us to get out the door, after eating dinner (full and happy!) = such a relaxed process!
Then this morning, his first day of school, I said “go get ready!” after he had finished breakfast, he happily ran to his room and got dressed on his own. And that was that.
Breakfast is 1 of two choices that he can have on his own or share with mommy or daddy. Generally oatmeal, yogurt, parfait, cereal, or avocado toast.
He brushes his teeth and daddy does his hair if he hasn’t left for work ( or sometimes he wants to do a hat. Fine with me. )
Drama gone! Lunch is packed the night before. Again if he’s being difficult, I give two acceptable choices and he gets to make the decision (i.e., carrots or cucumbers). He’s very happy to get it out of the fridge and put it in his bag.
Cheers to an easy morning before heading off to school! xx
XX,This post was really about the clothes routine but I hope that if you have your own morning drama, maybe something not listed here, you’re inspired to think up some creative alternatives and acceptable choices for your independent child to make!
Oh and this post was really about the clothes routine but I hope that if you have your own morning drama, maybe something not listed here, you’re inspired to think up some creative alternatives and acceptable choices for your independent child to make!