In winter weather, getting the kids out the door is even harder than usual. Just when you get one dressed, the other has undressed again. How do we make it easier?
- Hand over responsibilities when you can. It sometimes seems easier to do everything yourself. This is not only exhausting—it sends a message to your kids that they are not capable of doing it themselves. Even a 2-year-old can get their boots from the closet and bring them to the front door. When we involve our kids in helping, they don’t feel like they are constantly being ordered around and are less likely to be defiant.
- Let the kids in on the secrets that are in your head and write them down with your kids (use words and pictures). You might know the plan for getting out the door—who needs what, when it needs to happen, etc., but do the kids? When we let our kids in on the plan and when we let them think that they planned some of it themselves, they feel more in control and are better able to help out.
- Take time to teach what needs to be done. Once you have a plan in place, print it out and post it near the door and then practice, practice, practice! Do a run through of the routine three times one afternoon. Let them have the chance to get good at it. Have the child read you the plan from the poster or have the child read the plan to their favourite stuffed friend. Practice and have fun with it.
- Acknowledge the tricky stuff. We encourage you to let your kids do what they can for themselves. Sometimes, when they are just learning, that can take forever! The really hard stuff you can do for them. Some good language to use is: ‘Zippers (socks, boots, mitts) can be tricky. I’ll help you now and we’ll practice it this afternoon. I know you can do it.’ Just don’t forget to actually practice this afternoon. Say what you mean, mean what you say, and follow through.