Anyone else have problems with the television and getting ready for school in the mornings? Should we make a rule that there is no television before school each week day, or should we just leave it up to our kids to figure out how to organise themselves?
This is a question that many parents struggle with. So what is the answer? It will be different for each individual family. I have a sister with three kids, ranging in ages from 14 years down to 9 years. She has the television on all morning while the kids are getting ready for school. It works for her. Her kids are motivated and understand what they have to do each morning before leaving. In that situation it works well.
My kids are a different story. When the television is on my kids are always watching it. Perhaps that has something to do with the fact that we had no television for six months, and when we got it back they were a bit excited. Anyhow, it is harder for me to use the same tactic as my sister does because it simply doesn’t work with my children.
My kids and I had a family meeting and chatted about the best way to do things in the mornings. We decided that if they could get organised well in the mornings for one week without the television, we would let them try with the television again. So we gave it a go. After one week they were given the privilege of television again and I started to observe.
It has been a couple of weeks since I reinstated that privilege and I noticed that this morning none of my children did their chores (now I’m talking just three minutes of drying dishes here, not half an hour of cleaning). I also observed my 10 year old daughter watching television despite the fact that she had homework due in this today that wasn’t finished. I gave her a couple of gentle reminders but to no avail.
Now I know that she will get a consequence at school for not doing the homework, but I am also not happy with her choices so I will have to make a few changes in order to help her out a little. Just as well it is family meeting day again today. We will discuss the issue of getting organised before school and everyone can have their say about how they think mornings should be handled. Then, after everyone has spoken we will all agree together on the best possible way to “do mornings” well.
This way the kids are having input and they are very likely to abide by it. It is important to give your child some amount of freedom and give them opportunities to try to do things right. This helps develop many skills for life. If you always lay down the law you actually deprive them of learning opportunities. When you let children try and fail they learn perseverance, patience, and self control, all of which are necessary in the adult world.
The verdict is in: do what works for your family with the television in the mornings. If something doesn’t work, try another way until you get what is right for your family dynamics. And don’t be afraid to change tactics. Just communicate what you are doing with your kids all the way and you will have less behaviour problems with them in the mornings.
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