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Health & Parenting

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Getting the Kids to School Without a Struggle

These strategies will help you and your kids every morning!

Respectful families continued...

It all starts, says Hart, with building relationships based on trust instead of fear. “With kids, even young kids, your question should be, ‘How do we work this out for everyone?’ -- sort of a simplified win-win. And when kids see that their needs matter, then they relax and you can negotiate.”

Working together, Hart says, parents and children can come up with solutions: whether it’s one more minute in bed or wearing the favorite pink pants on alternate days. The key is respecting yourself, your differences, and your efforts. As Hartman says, “Our differences can be a source of struggle -- or not.”

Morning routine tips

Still, some age-old, get-out-the-door tips still apply -- especially the “plan ahead” one.

A school-day morning actually starts the night before. Being able to predict and understand what’s coming up helps children feel in control. “Lay out clothes, plan what you’re having for breakfast,” Hodson says. “Talk through anything that has been a struggle in the past.”

And remember that whatever way you handle the morning routine, it’s setting a model for your children. “At the core of all of this is: What our kids see us doing with them is what they’re going to do with their own lives -- we’re modeling,” says Hodson. “Parents must be willing to reflect on their behavior and adapt. That’s the key to finding a respectful way to parent.”

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Reviewed on October 20, 2008

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