Yell at Your Kids in the Afteroon… but Not in the Mornings!

Yell at your kids in the afternoon, but…

… NOT in the mornings!

This week, we are going to incorporate a new habit into our lives. The purpose of this particular habit is to make our children’s living more pleasant and to give them the emotional tools that they need to develop and maintain healthy and happy relationships.

Let us begin with the premise that the morning sets the tone remainder of the day. We all know that ‘waking up on the wrong side of the bed’ can forecast the beginning of a troublesome day, so the opposite must hold true as well: a pleasant morning will foretell the wonderful afternoon that is ahead!

Before you call Child Protection Services about RaisingSmallsouls’ promotion of yelling at your children in the afternoons, read on!

This year, in 2008, we are making real, lasting changes. Like losing weight, mining for gold, or mastering a musical instrument, all things of value take time. (Granted, that is a difficult concept in this instant-day-and-age!)

Thus, the title ‘Yell at Your Kids in the Afternoon’ is not actually condoning screaming in the afternoons; rather it is a provocative statement meant to draw you towards the concept of creating happier mornings. (Ok, you knew that- however it needed to be stated in order to deter lawsuits!)

For the rest of this month, RaisingSmallSouls parents are going to actively create a joyful morning atmosphere in their homes.

Here a couple of ‘Rise & Shine’ ideas to get you and your children off to a brighter start!

1) Create a hot breakfast meal together: Have your children help you make blueberry pancakes, whole-grain waffles, or a berry-and-milk-smoothie.

2) Tell a story from your childhood: My children’s favorites are the ones about losing my passport in a foreign country and capsizing in a rowboat. (I suppose hearing about Mom being in a vulnerable situation is always a hit!)

3) Using old magazines and photos of your child create a collage together. Themes like sports, favorite things, and places we want to visit are just a few of the many sources of inspiration you can use for this simple yet memorable project.

4) Institute a ‘calm voices’ rule for the mornings. Define when the morning period ends- perhaps when breakfast is over, beds are made, or school starts. Feel free to say, after a tennis ball has shattered your lamp, “I’m feeling upset, so I’m going in to my room alone for a few minutes to calm down so that I don’t shout at you.” What a wonderful message you will be sharing about controlling outbursts!
This week we are ‘doing good’ and ‘straying from bad’ in the mornings: No raised voices, and more joint fun activities.

Share what has worked for you below, and MAKE IT A GREAT DAY

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  1. My first reaction is, what???? I don’t know that making blueberry pancakes as i’m trying to get 3 kids out the door and get myself ready for work is going to make the morning less stressful. The majority of my stress comes from have 2 girls, aged 11 and 13 screaming at each other because they have to share a room. My solution actually, instead of pancakes, was to provide a consequence for their actions, which was losing privileges (watching TV, computer time, stereo loss). The one thing you’re right aobut is that the morning sets the tone for the whole day. But i have to say if I need to raise my voice to be heard through the chaos, I’m still going to do it, because after all, it’s not only the kids that deserve their living experience to be more pleasant, adults deserve that too and part of learning for a kid is learning that there are consequences to actions they know are against “house rules” or any rules for that matter. So although I agree that yelling in the morning makes most of the rest of my day stink, having children that are disrespectful to each other or me is worse.

  2. Ellen,
    This is a great idea!
    I will take it one step further and ask parents how they are waking up and what energy they are bringing into their day. How we parents set up our mindset of the upcoming day impacts the entire family. Mindset and attitude is a choice and it is a contagious one!
    “Be the still water” in your families morning lives and watch the calm spread.
    Sending my best,
    Anne Jolles

  3. May sound too simple but I just make sure their lunches are made the night before. It works. 🙂

  4. I think suggestion # 4 is the only one that could
    be implemented in our household.
    there simply is no time in a busy morning as we prepare to get to school.
    My twins are 12 and pleasant voices in the morning would be a gift to us all!

  5. I really appreciate the part about focusing on the morning, so often I decide to be happy and a great mother for the whole day, and it’s too overwhelming, so that when I fail I kinda give up on the rest of the day. Thank you, Susan B.

  6. I heard an unbelievable story about a family that made up a rule: Parents would NOT, under any circumstances, yell at the children before school. 1 day, Dad took son to school, and yelled at him before they left to school, and on the way there as well. He dropped him off and drove to work – almost 1 hour away. He was almost at work, when he turned around on the highway, and came to his son’s school, found him and said, I am sorry –
    I broke the rule. son said thank you dad, I was feeling very down because you yelled at me. Now I feel better. Dad drove back to work feeling beeter that he had fixed things up, son felt better that Dad expended the effort to come all the way back just to apologize.

  7. I agree, the morning sets the tone. I like to snuggle my kids and talk with them first thing in the morning (they are 7 and 4) and we read some bible and pray. That makes a HUGE difference on how our day goes, if it’s too rushed in the morning and don’t do those things – I definately notice a difference. The hour that I spend with them 1st thing in the morning is worth it!

  8. I had a terrible time controlling my yelling in the mornings at my 2 and 4 year old boys. My husband took on a second job at night that required him to sleep late in the mornings. This left it up to me to get them up, dressed, fed, teeth brushed, lunch boxes made, myself showered dressed,etc and get them to preschool and myself to work by 9:00. All this while they fought over every toy and whined for me to hold them, more juice, you name it. I finally took a day off work one day and organized my life. I stocked the fridge with easy breakfast and lunch choices and organized their dresser drawers and closets. I started showering at night instead of in the mornings and set their clothes and shoes out at night. What a difference those few things made. I now spend the first half hour of our morning sitting with them on the couch having juice and cuddling, watching Curious George. Then I have a routine which they have gotten very used to already. This has made all our lives so much less stressful and I get to enjoy my babies before heading off to our day.

  9. I had the same reaction about the pancakes in the morning as Jaylene did. We are lucky to have bagels or toast and juice in the morning and some morings it’s a breakfast bar as we are running out the door. But I have a six year old that is having trouble with direction and after telling him 2 or 3 times to brush his teeth and he is still playing with his little brother it does drive me a bit crazy. I try not to yell but sometimes I think that is the only way to get his attention. Most mornings are ok but some are a bit of a struggle. Don’t know how single mom’s do it.

  10. The more things you can do the night before, the smoother your mornings will be! Shower before bedtime. Make lunches before bedtime. Have everyone’s clothes (down to socks and underwear) ready; toothbrushes set out. I even put bowls, spoons and the ceral box out on the table before bedtime. Bookbags (including the folders and homework that belong there), shoes and coats are near to door and ready to go. Rushing makes the mornings stressful. The more you can do the night before, the less rushing you’ll do in the morning. Also, try to say something positive and uplifting to your children and spouse at the start of each day. Happy mornings all!

  11. As a former elementary teacher and the parent of a 2 and 5 year old, I must agree that starting the morning positively does completely set the tone for the rest of the day! As a teacher, I can’t even begin to explain the difference in a child’s attitude depending on their morning at home. If you have already taken away everything that they have to look forward to for the rest of the day, then more times then not, they just don’t care about the rest of the day, including their school work. The attitude for the day is a negative one because life pretty much “sucks” as they see it. Mom and Dad are made at them, they have lost their priveledges, and are fighting with their siblings. I am by no means saying that kids shouldn’t have consequences…so don’t misunderstand.

    Thank you Ellen for reminding me how important that the morning tone sets for the rest of the day! As a parent I forget but remember from my days as a teacher.

    Point in case, I actually has a student one year that had a family that liked to scream and yell (as did the one that I grew up in) and this student could not focus on anything after those “rough” mornings. Finally, sereval months into school, I discovered that if he called his mom and apologized for his behavior and her remorse, he could then focus positively on the day. Up until that point, he was a MAJOR discipline problem but after we figured that he just had to resolve home issues to focus on school, we had a pretty darn good year for the whole class.

  12. Thanks Em. I am going to start making that a habit. It does seem like we are always rushing around looking for shoes or gloves or something along those lines. I am definately going to try that. Anything to make the mornings more pleasant and cheerful.

  13. The only way pancakes are happening on a school day is if they are left over or frozen ones! It does make for a nicer start on a less hectic day. I agree with Sheri. I have a 6-year old son who often forgets that he is supposed to be getting dressed. We have two parents to get the kids going, but there are four of them going to 3 different schools, so it is a bit hard. We parents need to be ready too! The teenager throws a fit if she is “made late” by us having to tag team the younger ones. I try not to yell, but it is hard! I like the idea of consequences for the wrong behavior. I try to praise my 6-year old for the right steps in getting ready. That seems to help. I have to be ready myself so I can watch him though.

  14. Ellen C. Braun says:

    Pancakes in the morning- that would have to be on a weekend in my house, realistically!

    However some people are more ‘morning people’ and others who have the time could make it into a bonding experience.

    I often bake Dunkin Heins cakes with my boys- so I just thought- perhaps we could prepare pancake batter the night before one day!

    Cheri- kuddos for doing more the night before.

    I recently bought those hanging sweater shelves for closets. I fill each shelf with a complete day of clothing for my boys in the evenings, so they can just grab a pile and dress as soon as they wake up.

    Every little bit of calmness and organization counts:)

  15. It can be very hard to get everything done in the morning and get started on your day when your child doesn’t want to cooperate. But, I have discovered that my son, who has ADHD among some other things, will have a horrible day at school on the days when I have little or no patience with him in the mornings. This morning, as we were getting ready for school and work, I noticed he had mud on his shoes from walking home yesterday. It may seem minor, but, when I have to spend an extra 5 minutes cleaning mud off shoes that he hid under the bed, it is very frustrating. Unfortunately, my reaction to this may have contributed to his trip to the office today. I try to be more pleasant in the mornings, because I know it can make his day easier. I think Ellen, your idea of stopping the yelling is a great idea, but, for those of us who work outside the home, making collages and big breakfasts while trying to get kids and yourself dressed and ready for the day, it isn’t very feasible. But, making more of a conscious effort to be calmer and more pleasant in the mornings is beneficial to all involved. My son has made major strides in his behavior over the last 2 months since we were able to modify his meds, but, a bad morning will generally cause a setback for him. I always feel bad after I pull off from the school when we have had a bad morning. I try to apologize and hug him and tell him I love him before he goes inside, but sometimes, he is still upset and it won’t matter.

  16. I had decided to do this at the beginning of the school year and it has most definitely worked! How? Instead of trying to eek out a little “me” time after my son goes to bed I go to bed at the same time as he does (8:00PM), read for about 10-15 minutes and wake up when my body wakes up – usually way earlier than I need but always at least a half hour before he’s up. If I get up really early I am able to browse my favorite websites, have an extra cuppa, etc. I get his lunch made and am dressed by the time he surfaces. I have forgone most of the TV I watched and only DVR my favorite two shows which sometimes I don’t even end up watching. It seems like I’m more balanced, am making better decisions (about spending, eating, etc.) and I am most definitely yelling less!

  17. My girls are 18 months apart. During the young years they loved each other. Then came the pre-teens and teenage years where they wore each others clothes, make-up,etc. without permission of course! Every morning was a constant battle at the breakfast table because one would smack her food and the other would show hers… I started waking them with a bowl of cereal or oatmeal in their own bed in their own room. They were able to wake quietly and slowly by themselves until they were ready to face the day. Things were so much better. My friends thought I was spoiling my kids, but, it made things a lot more pleasant for all of us.

  18. My youngest (3rd grade) has always been an early riser – In the past she’d watch tv while waiting for the rest of us to get moving. This school year, I banned the TV in the morning. It, alone has made a huge difference because it is no longer a distraction. Add in making lunches the night before and making sure backpacks are ready to go…the morning actually moves like clockwork!

  19. Boy could I relate to what Sherri said, I have a 7 year old boy and nine times out of ten I have to tell him to do something 2 or 3 times before he does it. I give him about an hour in the morning to eat, dress, brush his teeth and get out the door for the school bus. Some mornings are better than others and I do try not to yell because I do agree that is sets the tone for the rest of the day but boy does it take discipline. I usually try to remain calm and prode him to get things done in a pleasant manner. I do find that having his clothes laid out and making his lunch the night before says alot of time. I have always done whatever I could the night before even when I wasn’t working from home. It does eliminate some stress and so does not allowing him to watch TV in the morning.

  20. One other thing…I’ve made a deal with my kids: no tv in the morning UNTIL breakfast is eaten, they are fully dressed and washed up and teeth are brushed. They can have their free time only when these things are all done. Works like a charm (usually). 🙂

  21. We used to have a yelling morning at least twice a week at our house. There was disrespect, anger, sassing, and grouching. It was unbearable. As the mom, I wanted to run away from home. Until I read how one mom always woke up her children each morning simply because “she wanted the first sound they heard of the day to be the voice of someone who loved them.”

    So I got myself up 5 minutes early and instead of letting the alarm wake my 6 year old, I went in and snuggled beside her in her bed. She woke up happy, the sassing ended immediately, and much to my hectic surprise, it has become the best part of my day.

    As the mom of a nearly 7 year old and a three year old, I seldom get individual time with either child. This allows me to have 5 – 10 minutes of quiet, uninterrupted time with my daughter, in a very special way.

    I saw the difference immediately, and we have continued this for nearly 3 months, now. I have to say, just a little bit of good morning time has ended my yelling mornings.

    (Of course, I only have 2 children to deal with…kudos to all the moms who are have more than 2.)

  22. This is in response to Sherri;

    You said your 6 year old was having trouble following direction, even after telling him twice or three times. We also went through that with our 6 year old.

    One day, after spending some time with my daughter at school, I realized how her teacher got her to do what she wanted when she wanted. She said her direction (to a class room of 16 6 year olds,) and then had them repeat the direction back to her. She explained it so simply to me: If you tell a child what to do, they simply don’t hear you. But if you have them tell you what they are going to do next, they get it the first time. It revolutionized our life.

    I think every parent should get a degree in early elementary child hood development. Sometimes I just go and observe the school for tips and techniques!

    Good luck.

  23. I agree 100% that starting the day right sets the tone not only for our kids, but for us as well. However, making the blueberry pancake is quite a stretch. My daughter’s school starts at 7:45a (my work starts at 7:30a) so we both have to wake up quite early. I usually wake up first (5:45a) and get myself ready before my daughter gets up at 6:15a. This way, if she has some issues while getting ready, I wouldn’t be rushing myself. In my opinion, what you make for breakfast is really not that important (as long as it’s something we both get some nutrition). My daugher usualy has a bowl of Honey Nut Cheerios, Chocolate soy milk, and 1/2 an apple. Sometimes she makes Eggo then have her Chocolate soy milk. We very rarely cook breakfast during the week. There’s just no time. My daugher has similar routine as outlined by Em. We have a 10 commandments on “Starting the Day Right”, and one of them is to get everything that we need ready the night before. As long as we follow the commandments, we would have time to sit down and have a cup of tea (well choco soy milk for her) and talk about what we are looking forward to that day. That’s important for her, so she makes sure she doesn’t break them.

  24. Janette Paul says:

    I have created a check-list that my kids do every evening and again the morning before school. It’s been working great this year and helping my husband and I out as we both work. The list in the evening has items such as show us your school info., do homework, study, pack a snack/lunch for the next day, pack books, hat, gloves, etc. Also, we have one for Library books in instrument days. In the a.m., the list includes taking vitamins, brushing teeth, combing hair, deodorant, making bed, and others. You can add to this as we have but also don’t make it too long or it looks overwhelming.

  25. Thanks Bille. I do like that idea of having him repeat it to me, I think I might even share it with my sons kindergarten teacher, as she has said she has the same problem with him at times. I do think some of it is his age and with come with maturity. I also like the idea of no TV until you are ready that someone (I think Dawn and maybe others) mentioned. I have been thinking about that one for a while cause it does seem to be a distraction for him. I have some great ideas to help me get started on better mornings.