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  • Writer's pictureBrittany Hartgrove Mahoney

Stealing Time

Avalyn's morning and bedtime routines have been turning into huge battles. Most of the time, I end up raising my voice or scolding her (which I HATE) because she's given me so much attitude in the process of getting herself ready.

Getting ready for school was tough and now that we are in summer, getting ready for camp is tough, too! Both her Dad and I were shocked at this. Why is she dragging her feet and getting sassy when she's about to do something fun?

*She was signed up for soccer, art and cheer camp this year, per her request.

To him, I asked the obvious questions first; Is she tired? Is she wearing something she likes? Was the breakfast food HER choice? I've noticed that autonomy works wonders at my house and have given him the same advice. Now, while there is some room for improvement in these areas at his house- I was also getting attitude from her at my house, even when all the above boxes were checked.

So what was the deal?? When I stood back and looked at the number of times I pushed and pulled her through the day, I suddenly got it. She rarely gets to do what she wants and is constantly bossed around- I would be mad too! Obviously, on school mornings, there is a limited amount of 'free' time, so how can I give this 'me time' to her?

I brought the inquiry up to my lovely therapist and she informed me about the importance of 'me time'. It's a totally healthy thing to need- and if you can build it into your day, and make it a habit, you'll be much happier for it. Sounds amazing, doesn't it? So, I sat down with Avalyn and her Stepdad and explained The Hour.

Here's the gist: everyone gets an hour of time a day, to do whatever they want. Not all days have the same schedule so if your hour needs to be broken up into 2 or 3 chunks, that's fine. Your hour doesn't need to be taken at the same time as someone else's hour. And your hour, is YOUR time, so it shouldn't involve someone else. Meaning, playing with your friends or asking Mommy to play with you- isn't allowed for the hour.

Both Avalyn and Stephen jumped on it! I thought I would have to convince Avalyn a little bit more but she was SO ready to be left alone. And here's the best part: Mommy gets an hour, too!

*Super important side note: try to leave your gadgets OUT of your hour. Even a few minutes to let your mind wander, without scrolling, does amazing things for your brain. Want more info? Check out this book: Bored and Brilliant AND if your kiddo complains about being bored, let them be bored!

Now, she knows she'll have time every day to herself, in her room, doing whatever she wants. It makes the necessary items a little less annoying.

But, Brittany, you said that getting ready for bed was hard, too. Yes. I did. The hour HAS helped a bit, but the other problem I had was me. Yes, me. I was hovering over her like she was a toddler still. Ugh, those hard-to-break-Mom-habits. I needed to back off. Avalyn is old enough now to do it all on her own and I needed to let her. It might mean starting the bedtime process a little earlier, to account for slow moving, but you know your kiddo. Most of them will be so happy that they have been given the freedom that they'll just move right through the steps.

If they need a little incentive, you can get one of these super convenient chore boards!

The board is customizable. Stick it somewhere they can see it, like the bathroom or bedroom and they check off the tasks as they are completed. Perfect!

Wanna know what else? This frees up Mommy, yet again!

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