The other morning, Charlie was late for school and as usual, he wasn’t listening to anything we said. I was growing increasingly exasperated but trying to hold it together and get out the door.
“Charlie, put your shorts on! We’re gonna be late for school!!”
“Ok, ok!” he said back to me in the exact same tone of voice, while doing nothing. After watching him dawdle for 10 more seconds, I felt I had to repeat myself.
“Charlie, did you hear me?? You have to get dressed for school right now!! We’re late!”
He disappeared into his room and didn’t come back for a few minutes. We peeked in there and he was looking for his stuffed animals. He wanted to bring them with him on the way to school. I could feel all the patience leaving my body. If I was Bruce Banner, I probably would have turned into the Hulk right then and there. Instead I did what I had been doing way too much lately: I raised my voice.
“Charlie, get dressed right now!!! We’re late!!!”
He was finally moved into action, but not nearly fast enough. So I grabbed his shorts and started helping him get dressed. We finally made it out the door, and started running to school. It’s an 11 minute walk, but we can make it in half the time if we run.
As we ran, I thought to myself: there has to be a better way. This isn’t the way I want to parent my kids. I wasn’t at the point yet where I was yelling at the kids, but I was raising my voice and getting exasperated far too often.
So when I got home, I sat down and made a plan… and since then, things have gotten so much better! Here’s what been working: