If you have children, you know what a feat it can be to leave home on time. The obstacles are numerous: lost shoes, spilled breakfast, unfinished homework, ice packs not frozen for the lunchboxes, and heaven forbid, no more juice pouches, etc. The list goes on and on. For some moms, every day is a coin toss to see if they can get to work on time or even just to manage not racking up another tardy slip for the little ones. What does all this morning chaos mean for moms? Undeniable, unnecessary stress!
While there’s no disputing what tone the morning madness sets for mom, have you ever stopped to think about what that’s doing to the kids? Give a quick rewind of your typical morning experience, only this time, try to play it back through the eyes of your children. Like what you see? If the answer is no, then you can bet they don’t either. Your kids may not be able to voice the myriad of negative side effects this sort of start to the day has, but an observant mom can probably draw some likely conclusions.
Rushing through the morning’s routine can mean homework is not packed, lunches are forgotten in the refrigerator, and breakfast is left half eaten. While all of these things are stressful for moms, the kids have consequences to deal with from it all day long. No homework may mean they’re called out by their teacher to answer for where their assignment is. This may or may not be done loudly enough for the class to hear it, and worse yet, laugh or make comments. Lunch forgotten at home means eating from the cafeteria no matter what the meal served is. If your child doesn’t like what’s being offered, they may be hungry all afternoon after already skimping on breakfast in order to rush. Research has shown time and again that a hungry child is not prepared to learn. That almost seems insignificant when you stop to consider that your child might have been hungry all day long.
Being late to school also means a trip to the office to wait in line for a tardy slip. For young children in particular, this disruption to their routine might even mean they’re lost in the hallway because they’re not used to walking that way alone. For older children, standing in line at the office can be a source of humiliation and anxiety. Whatever time they spend in line waiting for the tardy slip is additional time out of class and loss of instructional time. In most classrooms as early as grade school, this means that morning work meant to be completed while waiting for the tardy bell and morning housekeeping tasks for the class to be done. A tardy child never stands a chance to succeed; they’re set up to fail by not arriving early enough to do the work, even on days they’re not technically tardy.
Next time you kids come to the carpool line in the afternoon with long faces and less than stellar reports from their teacher, consider how their day started. Dropping them off decreases stress in most moms, if for no other reason than they survived another round of morning chaos. That chaos has affected the children involved all day long though, potentially causing feelings of anxiety and defeat. And these are the kids that moms now have to take home and convince to do their homework successfully. Making the mornings productive and efficient can reduce any parent’s stress levels, but the benefit to the children involved can make a world of difference to their daily lives.