I’m not sure why – but in our house the boys wake up, and they want to win. I don’t mean at life, I mean against their own siblings.
It turns into a huge, crazy competition, where they talk about being the first one awake, and then who was the first one to be dressed. Luckily they are not allowed in the living room till 6.30am, because I’m in there having some quiet time doing yoga, or other exercise. But then at 6.30, it turns into who gets to get the yoghurt out of the fridge, or who puts the weetbix on the table, who uses the milk first, and they are very aware of how many pieces of fruit each child helps themselves too.
Being competitive seems to come quite naturally, and it’s difficult to get in there and reprimand something, which is not going to go away through conversation or trying to get a 5, 6 and 10 year old to see reason. Sometimes when I can’t be bothered with the eternal conversation that goes on around this topic, I’ll make sure that I have set the table myself, and we try and ensure that one of the adults is in the room so that it doesn’t escalate, and over time this has become less and less of a stress for us.
However if breakfast time is doing your head in there are some quick things you can do to try and ease the tension.
- Have the table set before the kids are up – either get up first and do it, or do it the night before.
- Try and encourage minimal walking around the kitchen looking for different foods – if it’s on the table it’s for breakfast, if it’s not there than they shouldn’t go find it.
- Sometimes the quiet cup of coffee, or tea, has to happen later in the day – much better to be present in the noise and breakfast chaos than to come into it once it’s escalated.
- You could have specific jobs around setting the table, and putting stuff away.
- Try and encourage the kids to eat, rather than engage in conversation or debate – especially if this is what needs to arguments between your kids – the quicker the food is in, the happier your house will be.
IF none of these things make sense for your family – it’s still ok – you just need to come up with your own plan, and own process for keeping Breakfast time under control.