Most Australian parents are at the end of the first or second week of back-to-school 2018, and are asking themselves, with their heads in their hands, “Why did I think school mornings would be preferable to eight weeks of holidays?”
But never fear, the Stay At Home Mum, Jody Allen, has some sanity-saving tips for all of us.
Her number one suggestion is to impose, “a very, very strict routine”.
“The kids, even mum and dad, will respond really well when everyone knows what they have to do each morning,” she told the hosts of Mamamia’s parenting podcast This Glorious Mess.
Sounds good, but how young is too young to be able to expect kids to take some responsibility in preparing for the day? The Queensland mother-of-two says that the sooner a routine is imposed, the better.
LISTEN: This Glorious Mess speaks to Jody Allen about how to make school mornings more successful. (Post continues.)
“Mine are nine and 10 now, and they are naughty little boys, and it’s taken a few years to kick ’em up the bum!”
An integral part of the process of imposing a routine has been bribery.
“I firmly believe in bribery,” says Allen, “and it has worked for me.”
The SAHM explains how her mornings work:
“We get up at 6am, we spend the first hour tidying the house, they have to put on the dishwasher, that sort of thing.”
Wait, what? How does she manage to get the children to willingly engage in morning chores?
“We dangle the screens in front of them,” laughs Allen. Only if they have helped and are fully ready for school, do her “screen addicts” get their screen time.
Allen admits “she’s feeding their addiction” but makes no apologies, because the technique “works beautifully.”
Does Allen have a tip on how parents can avoid frustration if their child is too slow at performing a task, and resist doing jobs themselves?