Morning Woes

Have you noticed how kids are particularly obnoxious in the morning? Dragging their feet, making faces, doing everything at 1/10 of their regular speed?

“What? You haven’t brushed teeth yet? What have you been doing these 15 minutes???”

“I dunno.”

“Where is your backpack?”

“I dunno.”

“What do you want for breakfast?”

“I dunno.”

It’s almost like they are doing it on purpose.

Because they are.

Kids are like cars. If there’s no fuel, they won’t run. Their fuel is love. During the night, you weren’t giving them any love because you were asleep. In the morning, their tank is empty, and they are trying to squeeze attention (which for them is love) out of you.

Klara is not an early riser at all, and having to get up at 7 for kindergarten puts her in a vile mood by itself. Plus, like all small kids, she needs the love fuel. So to wake her up, I come into her room and start buzzing gently in a loving way about how wonderful, beautiful, amazing, and precious she is. That gets her up and puts her in a great mood in no time.

Never say, “come on, hurry, we are in a rush, I have to get to work.” To a child, these words mean “I don’t love you, you aren’t important, you don’t matter to me.” So they start dragging their feet to prove they do matter.

A much more productive thing to say is, “it’s ok, take your time, there’s no rush.” I swear, this gets them to move a lot faster. I get my very late sleeper kid out of the house in 20 minutes, and that includes choosing an outfit, doing her hair, and breakfast.

Obviously, I’m talking about small children. With teenagers what works is that you have to be completely calm, cool, collected, and not chaotic inside. Teenagers are so chaotic inside that they react angrily and aggressively to you own inner chaos. And this is true for any type of engagement, not only the morning routine. Think wild animals. If you encounter a wild animal, the advice is to stay completely still, don’t confront them, don’t make any sudden movements, don’t stare them down. I’ve never tried this on actual wild animals, thank goodness, but with teenagers, complete internal stillness is the ticket.

7 thoughts on “Morning Woes

  1. Anne, I thought this was so wise. Clarissa is from Ukraine and is a professor at a college in Ohio. She’s very funny sometimes and very know it all-ish other times. I don’t know her I just suscribe to her blog. I wish I had thought to do this when you kids were little.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. To nitpick a bit, strictly on the dealing-with-wild-animals part of the post, it’s better not to freeze in place (this is a prey reaction) but to continue on your way in a way that makes it clear that you don’t, shall we say, have anything to do with the animal’s inner chaos. Freezing will work if they don’t notice you, and work about as well as walking on eggshells around a moody teenager when they do notice you

    Liked by 2 people

  3. This sounds so lovely, and yet… I can’t help seeing it as just another bit of fantastic parenting advice for people who have naturally cheery and gregarious personalities, and only one kid.

    Still waiting on the manual for the rest of us…

    Liked by 1 person

  4. This is such an adorable post! My youngest, who is four years old, still needs me to come into her room in the morning with a glass of milk to gently wake her up and give her lots of hugs. After that, she is (somewhat) ready to get ready and go.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I love this. It has never happened to me—but knowing it happens to someone on the planet gives me hope. Our morning routine is something like a cross between a Betelgeuse hissy fit and a perturbed possum. Not that I don’t try the lovey/cuddly/kissy routine. I’m just likely to lose an eye if I don’t approach the beast appropriately.


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