Parents, you can’t single-handedly turn around the family morning routine. You need buy in and cooperation from the family. The idea of inviting cooperation and giving all family members ownership is a big one for Positive Discipline. I’ve outlined a few steps you can take that will show you that you can work together.
Family Planning for Morning Routines
- Schedule a family meeting, Positive Discipline Style. That means that the meeting starts out with each family member giving a compliment to another family member. This exchange of positive language sets the stage for the family meeting.
- After compliments, ask your family to brainstorm things they are doing in the morning that they could do the night before.
- Ask each family member if they are willing to choose one thing from the list that they will do at night instead of waiting until morning.
- Try the changes for a week.
- After a week, gather the family together again. Start with compliments again and check in to see how everyone’s doing. If your family is typical, everyone didn’t remember to complete the task the night before. That’s okay. Change is difficult and it takes time to change. Ask each person to think of a way to help them to remember to do the task the night before.
This small step can help your family start to learn to work together and make small changes towards calmer mornings.
Respect the Process – Baby Steps
Now parents, I know you want some quick change fairy dust that you can sprinkle over yourself and your whole family to help you all change your habits. I don’t have any to offer, but if you find any, let me in on the awesome news! Obviously we all weren’t meant to change our habits quickly. It takes time to change. You might also be tempted to add more changes for your family than the one I’m suggesting above. After all, won’t more change create more calm? Actually too much change means too much stress. We humans adapt slowly. Make small changes until those changes feel like they are now a routine and then work on another change.
Set your expectations for small changes and you’ll have more of your expectations met. After that you can create a new step – a new expectation. Be encouraging to yourself and to your family while all of you are working on changes. Build each other up. Allow for mistakes – mistakes are a healthy part of the learning process. If you need to, repeat the last sentence to yourself over and over again to stay patience while your family works together for change.
Family Meeting Perfection Doesn’t Exist
Some families expect that kids will know and understand how a family meeting works after being told the steps. Remember that your kids aren’t not accustomed to having meetings like you do at work. They aren’t familiar with being given the opportunity to solve problems. Parents may feel like giving up if the first meeting doesn’t “work” like they think it’s supposed to. Learning to work together takes time. That’s why I suggest a short approach at first.
Jane Nelsen, the author the book, Positive Discipline has some great suggestions in this article on family meetings. The standard family meeting format is a tad different from my suggestion, but I’m asking you to focus on one issue instead of using a family meeting agenda (which you can certainly do at a later time.) That being said, you may want to read over Dr. Nelsen’s article.
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I’d love to know how these changes are going! Post any results here in the comment section or on the Think It Through Parenting facebook page. Questions are welcome too!
Think It Through Parenting
Certified Positive Discipline Lead Trainer