A seasoned elementary school mother called the office to check on the time her child needs to arrive at school. Perhaps her call reveals our disbelief that we have to shift schedules and get up so early? Sometimes our bodies can’t quite believe the changes fall requires of us, and we’re more vulnerable to all the obstacles that can prevent us from being punctual, for example, our children’s summer sleeping schedule or the lethargy produced by watching TV in the morning. Then there are the unexpected phone calls or underestimated increases in traffic with people going back to work.
The good news is that fall also offers us an opportunity to call on our “creative time manager self.” This all doesn’t have to feel like a resigned return to old schedule patterns. We can use our imaginations and even input from our children. What do we want to happen in the morning? A time to eat breakfast together? A stop in the Children’s Garden? This is the time for reinventing our mornings and our family time together. We can even post the new schedule. Getting ready feels like a cooperative venture that everybody wants to follow to make room for good things to hap-pen in the morning, like reading a story together.
When we arrive at school with that wonderful sense of being in the right place at the right time, it feels like everything clicks into place. We can teach our children about punctuality by being positive about the process. We can stop and say, “Thank you for getting dressed when I asked you. We got to spend time together, and we’re on time. When we are ‘punctual,’ it helps us and everyone else in the class too.”
Developing a new schedule is just part of reinventing ourselves for a new year. Imagine yourself looking through a window to the future and how much your child will have grown through the whole year. What habits do you want to instill? What special times do you want to build into your routine? Falls offers the chance to retain the close feelings of summer by revising our schedules to include more of what we want for our families and for ourselves.
Susan Isaacs Kohl, is director of the White Pony preschool in Lafayette. She is the author of The Best Things Parents Do (Conari 2004) and four other books and numerous articles for parents.