Friday, May 6, 2011

Operation: Out the Door!: Day 1/2

Off to a promising but still shaky start. If, as the saying goes, insanity is doing the same thing repeatedly and expecting different results each time, I think we've made a couple of baby steps toward mental health.

Day 1: So many variables changed that perhaps it shouldn't count as a true start to the Momsperiment:
 - This was an earlier-than-usual day because kids had to be at school for an early music class.
 - Because of said early hour, Dad was able to help them get up and dressed before leaving for work. Not part of the usual routine; need to increase my own involvement.
 - Dad offered an incentive to son: computer-game time in exchange for getting ready pronto. Pro: it motivated him to dress and eat promptly. Con: It distracted daughter from her own morning meal and ablutions. Need to weigh benefits vs. drawbacks of this option.
 - I opted out of a morning shower to  maximize my face-time with kids (giving them less time to sneak a quick read or bickering session).  Cut a few minutes off the departure time, but must consider whether the grossness factor is worth it.

Result: In the end, we still dashed out the door with minutes to spare. Further tweaking to the schedule appears necessary.

Day 2: Woke to the sound of a heated debate over whether a balloon trade could be rescinded if one of said balloons popped. Mom intervention required.

Today, I decided, was the time to try a team approach to the morning routine. I assembled our group in the hall and led us in a series of stretches. Kids joined in enthusiastically and even offered some exercise suggestions of their own. This idea seems to be a keeper, but will they be so enthusiastic on Monday morning?

Son then suggested a school-bake-sale-money incentive for the one who was quickest to get ready to leave. I agreed. Dressing, eating, toothbrushing and haircombing accomplished in record time. Excellent result, but - again with the incentives? Shouldn't this be something they do to learn responsibility, rather than a carrot-and-stick situation?

 Once they were ready to go, daughter asked me to read a few short books before leaving. Pro: Added to the good-feeling column. Con: Pushed back the departure time. Would have been nice to have saved those fifteen minutes.

Result: Arrived at school with 15 minutes to spare; better than average, but perhaps not enough wiggle room for unexpected delays and crises...such as son realizing, just as we got to the school door, that he had forgotten the recorder he needed for second period. Add to routine: double-checking all backpacks before bed.

In all, some valuable takeaways to implement next week. What do you think? A good start? What can we improve on?

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