Tips for reducing stress in the mornings
Starting the school day, or other activities, with positive feelings rather than stress and worry will benefit your child’s ability to participate and learn.
Getting everyone up and out to pre-school, school and work in the mornings can be one of the most stressful parts of any day in any family and has added complications where a child is deaf and has extra needs.
Encouraging independence in your deaf child is important, so they learn the life skills and responsibilities of getting themselves ready at an appropriate age. Some children are able to get themselves sorted quickly and efficiently in the mornings, while others seem to need ‘dawdle’ time! Nagging the daydreamer builds stress and doing everything for them makes them dependent and you resentful. Give clear boundaries by setting specific targets. For example, get dressed by 07.45am. Reward success with praise, stars, stickers or treats depending on the age of your child.
Tips for reducing stress in the morning
- A clear routine will help a deaf child know what is going to happen each day.
- Give clear time boundaries to a child who needs ‘day dreaming’ time.
- Use a clock face (or a card with digital time on it) to show them what time they need to be dressed by. If age appropriate get your child to pack their school bag and any extra swimming or PE kit the evening before.
- A weekly visual calender, such as the NDCS My weekly planner, is helpful to make your child aware of upcoming appointments and activities, and if age appropriate, checking cochlear implants and hearing aids/batteries.
Model what you want your child to do by being ready yourself a few minutes before the time you wish to leave. Have your coat on and stand by the front door to give the message ‘I am ready to go’. Many parents get into the habit of nagging children to get ready, while they run around doing last minute chores. The child ignores the parent’s pleas to get their shoes on because they see Mum or Dad is not ready to leave.
Scrap books and photo albums
Make up scrap books or photoboards to involve your child in decision making and knowing in advance what they are doing. Teachers of the Deaf recommend using photos of family, friends, teachers, school, hospitals, anything your child comes across regulary to build up a visual library of people and places. Parents have found that using these tools help the deaf child understand when, who and where they are visiting.
Reducing stress in the mornings