Our morning routine has been drastically improved thanks to the creation of the morning stars list. It’s literally a list of all the tasks that my kids need to achieve in the morning in order to leave the house fully clothed, vaguely on time with a mother who hasn’t had to hit the gin before 8am. It’s working well – I can’t recommend it highly enough. Our list reads thus:
- Eat Breakfast Nicely
- Get Dressed with Vigour
- Brush Teeth
- Pack Bags
- Fill Water Bottles
- Brush Hair Without Argument
- Put on Shoes on First asking
- Complement parents
After a few weeks I added ‘Recite times table’. My seven year old came home and told me she had scored 3 out of 20 in her times table test and that it was my fault for not testing her. I challenged her on this, saying that she was ultimately responsible for learning her times tables and I had given her the tools to do so. She was adamant it was my fault. I had PMT. I took my revenge and put it on the list! The four year old likes the tune so we do the 1 times table with her, or sometimes just a made up numbers times table because the tune is way more important than the actual numbers!
Your list may read differently from ours but definitely include complement parents. It turns out kids are terrible at this – start them early! For example, all of the initial complements were based on how we look. This would be fine if they were looking at us when they said it. Once my 4 year old yelled up the stairs “Dad, you look great” just as he was stepping out of the shower! She cried when I refused to let her tick the box.
After a while I objected. “I’m more than my looks” I would say. “Complement me on something else.” They were flumoxed. What else is there? “My work for example? I pride myself on my career. Try and complement me on that.”
“Mum, you are a great Story Storker”
So now that’s a thing, and it’s a complement. You’re all great Story Storkers too. You’re welcome.
Excited with their new line of complements they couldn’t wait to tell Daddy “You are a great worker.” He’s now wondering if they are trying to get him to join the communist party.
But my favourite by quite some way was “Dad – you are GINORMOUS!”
Oh how we laughed Is that even a word? It’s definitely not a complement. We let her tick the box anyway as she’d provided such entertainment.
Of course the best way to ensure that your kids know how to complement you is to complement them, then point out dramatically that you’re doing so. Eventually they’ll pick something up, hopefully, maybe. Who knows. Don’t rely on your kids to keep your self esteem intact. Not unless you’re happy about how ginormous you are.
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SARAH CANTRILL is a woman on a mission to inspire every young child to become a reader for pleasure. She is the Artistic Director & Founder of STORY STORKS, a social enterprise that delivers interactive story workshops to early years children and their grown ups, that help kids to fall in love with stories and develop their early language skills meaning that they have an easier time of learning to read when the time is right. Infact 85% of the kids who come through STORY STORKS are right where they should be or ahead in terms of progression through the reading book scheme once they get to school and the ones who are behind are trying hard because they know that it’s worth it – that to read is to unlock a whole world of fun and adventure and learning and imagination and they might take a bit longer to get there but they’re determined that get there they will.