Thursday, May 2, 2013

My Kids are Always Late - Part 2

Ouch!  Got some negative comments on my last blog about kids who are always late!  I had suggested teaching them to safely walk to school.  Then if they miss the bus, have them walk even though they might be late. 

Okay, okay; of course I get that some neighborhoods are not walkable and some people live much more than 6 blocks from school!!!! 

But the point of the article was that if you want your kids to choose a different behavior, MAKE THEM AN OFFER THEY CAN’T REFUSE.  If consequences are imposed at school for being late, so be it – don’t bail them out.  If you get notes from school about being late, take away all weekend privileges. If you are calmly consistent about your new rules, most kids will CHOOSE to start being on time instead of CHOOSING the consequences.  If you put the responsibility on their shoulders instead of yours, they will figure out that the solution lies in their hands.

We could discuss why they are late.  Feeling grumpy, didn’t sleep well, tv is more interesting, want to play with their doll, are slow starters….  But whatever it is, the parent probably can’t solve it.  If this is a pattern, then it is time to act.  The bonus is that your kids will become more responsible in the process;  a characteristic they NEED throughout life!

There are a zillion ways to make your point.  Be creative – based on your realities.  But just to help you out!!!  When my daughter was 5, we lived 10 miles from school.  I was not going to teach her to walk 10 miles if she missed the bus! 

But…. She was always late.  I would nag, remind and yell.  Then I would chase the bus with the car to catch it at the next stop!

EVERY morning was chaotic craziness!  So, I asked my day care mom if my daughter could spend the day with her if she missed the bus again.  I then told my daughter she needed to be ready at 8:10AM.  I would no longer remind or yell.  If she missed the bus she would go to her daycare mom’s for the day.

Things improved for a few days but then she started slowing down and soon missed the bus.  We got in the car, but instead of chasing buses we drove to daycare.  Our daycare Mom was great!  She made the day absolutely boring. There were only toddler toys, toddler lunch choices and everyone took naps.  Oh and she charged a quarter for lunch (exact amount of her allowance!)

That was all it took – my daughter never missed the bus again!  For some kids, it will take 3 or 4 times but if you are consistent and very calm this method works.

And yes, I know that this was not a legal absence and the school probably wouldn't approve of my choice.  But I am the parent and a few days of missed kindergarten in exchange for morning peace and a more responsible child was well worth my brief encounter with civil disobedience!

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