There are a lot of new routines involved with the start of a new school year. Sometimes these are really old routines that we have to re-establish. This year, however, there’re some new elements to our morning routines.
Puberty does some interesting things to the body: hair growth, increased sweating, acne, greasy hair. Nighttime bathing used to be adequate. Now, Willy needs daily showers and taking them before bed just doesn’t cut it. I remember enough about my own middle school experience to know that, while Willy hasn’t run into any bullying yet, being the “stinky” one wouldn’t help his chances. So, even though Willy hasn’t gotten to the point where he takes particular care of his appearance (if he ever does), we’re adding showering to his morning routine.
In the past, Alex has usually been the one I get up first. Now, Ben is usually the one ready to go in the morning. Plus, since Willy’s bus comes first this year, Ben comes after Willy is almost completely ready. Add that change to the change in bus schedule and this means Ben is usually completely ready long before his bus arrives. It’s been difficult for Ben to know what to do. After all, he’s awake, he’s dressed, his shoes and backpack are on, maybe he’s even eaten something. And then, what? He’s just supposed to wait. But Ben doesn’t like waiting. Ben likes doing. So, if the bus isn’t just going to show up because he’s all ready, then what’s he to do?
The first few days of this, Ben decided that he should go outside and get in the van (not that he made it that far), so I could drive him to school. After all, the bus obviously wasn’t coming or it would have been here already. (This has happened a few times over the years, and once already this year, for various reasons.) Unfortunately, trying to keep Ben inside means I have less attention to finish getting the other boys ready.
Today Ben was a little more tired than usual, but I think we finally have the routine established that Ben should, in the event that he’s ready before the bus comes, do something else—like play or color or something. Last Friday went well, today went well and I’m hopeful we can keep it up.
So my advice to my fellow parents is this: New routines can be stumbling blocks, but you have to give your kids time to adjust and communicate the changes so they know what to expect. Stick with it, and before you know it the morning routines will go by (almost) smoothly!