Wednesday, June 13, 2012

What about you, Parenting advice you didn't ask for:0) When they won't get ready for school...


Have you ever had a foster kid who fights you on EVERYTHING? It feels like that, at times. There is a reason for it. You may NEVER know that reason. What you can know is, what you will do to deal with the behavior. I am about to tell you what I do in the "Won't get ready for school" situation. I give the child an hour to get ready. I check on them every 15 minutes and announce "we have to leave in ~~~ minutes, and we will leave on time." 

I believe it is important to say that in the most positive, sunshiny voice you can muster. (If you know me, you know that I am not a morning person. Sunshine nor sweetness exude from my personality naturally in the morning.) Then be prepared to take said child to school, in their pj's, hair messy, no socks, teeth un-brushed, rotten spirited, etc. I have found it works really well when the teacher and principal are aware of the plan. They tend to be supportive (in my experience). It will not likely be pretty the first time. Remember, they likely have no reason to believe you will follow through, until you do.
It is really embarrassing dropping a kid off looking a mess. Remember, it is your job to provide them with the time, skills, and necessary items to be prepared, NOT to bathe and dress them. The shame and embarrassment belong to them. I remind them as they exit the vehicle that I love them and I hope they have a great day, just like I would any other day.


This is pretty effective.

Does that mean the kids gets ready for school easily every day there after? NOPE! It means I have successfully handed over the responsibility to them. I have made one more fight go away. They choose shame or  pride. They choose!!! They own it. It is not my fight!!!! Whoo hoo! And it doesn't hurt that the kids at school will likely tease them and motivate them to get ready the next day.

If they get teased a bit, you get the opportunity to bond with them by comforting them, all the while reinforcing their choices. I like to say that I love them enough to teach them right from wrong, and allow them to choose. Be prepared to be sweet, and loving,  while NOT taking the burden of their choice. They get to own it. Be genuine. It's ok to hurt for them a bit, after all, we want what is best for them.

"Well silly, I love you and I think you look a little goofy in your pajama top and that skirt too. Look in the mirror. Do you think you look funny or do other kids dress like that at school?"

"I'm sorry you were teased. I wonder if there is anything you can do differently in the future to make your hair less silly looking to the kids at school?"

"Oh, that sounds like a rough day. I wonder what would happen if you chose to get all the way ready tomorrow?"

"I'm sorry she hurt your feelings. Do you think your breath smelled like a trash can because you chose not to brush your teeth before school? I know I don't like people with yuck mouth to talk close to my nose, do you?"

"Well, would you think a kid in their pj's at school looked silly? It's not nice to tease people, but I kinda understand why they were giggling. Do you?"

You get the idea.....

What about you? How do you deal with a child not getting ready for school in a timely manner? Please share. Feel free to comment or link back to your own blog. Just remember to keep it clean and friendly.

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