Starting school can put many children in a bad way. There are increased time pressures and more expectations for productivity. School mornings are certainly not the same as summer mornings when all they had to do was go to camp!
There is also the chance that your small being isn’t affected by the schedule change and is behaving badly simply because she woke up on the wrong side of the bed. Sometimes from the moment your little one rises, you know the kind of day it is going to be for her. You feel like there is nothing you can do to change the doom that is headed your way.
You don’t have to live with this awful feeling anymore! You can make sure that your small being wakes up ready to start the day off with a smile and enthusiasm! All it takes is a bit of positive momentum on your part. The payoff will be exponential.
Here’s how you do it:
When you go to wake up your sweet, sleeping angel, make sure you have a solid five minutes. If you don’t have five minutes, wake up a few minutes early. You will use this time to give your small being undivided attention. The results will be worth it!
Wake up your child and talk about how great the day is going to be, how wonderful she is, and all the fantastic things that are to come. For example, “Good morning my love, you are the best dancer I have ever seen, and today in dance class you will have so much fun learning a new routine. Before that, we are going to get dressed in an amazing dress for school with sneakers, since you have gym today. Breakfast is going to be delicious cereal, and today is going to be fabulous.”
Yes, you need to intentionally exaggerate your enthusiasm. Even if you have a hard time believing that cold cereal for breakfast is delicious, fake it. Your small being will follow your lead. If you are happy and see the greatness of the day, your small one will follow your lead.
There are two reminders you need before starting this:
1. Do not respond if your small being starts arguing with you that the day will not be great. Keep going with your amazing story. Let her have her opinion, but keep stating your positive one. This push back is more of a habit than a child’s true feeling. If you say dance is going to be super fun, and your small one says, “No, I hate dance,” then say something like “oh” or “ok” and keep going with your discussion of other exciting things for the day.
2. This might not work the very first day you try it. Initially, your small one might give some resistance and still have a rough morning. Commit to this strategy for at least two weeks to see the long-standing difference it will make! The ongoing consistency of the positive morning will result in your small one participating in this new way of starting the day.
Yes, it can feel a bit cheesy — but that is the point. To parent a happy child, you are going to need to amp up the positivity on a regular basis! The worst thing that will happen is that you will have a more positive mindset, too. And there is no harm in that!
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Dr. Marcie Beigel is a behavioral therapist based in Brooklyn. For more on her, visit www.Behav