Remember that one movie you were late to? Not by much, you just missed the first ten minutes. And still you spent the next half an hour trying to understand what exactly had happened in those first ten minutes instead of just enjoying the movie. Remember the anxiety of getting there on time while you were running late? Rushing about making sure everything is sorted, leaving home and then speeding to the theatre, breaking god knows how many traffic rules?
Ever thought why you hurry when you’re late? Whether it’s as trivial as missing the first ten minutes of a movie, or as grave as missing the introductions in a business meeting, you know that being late will have unpleasant consequences.
The same is true when a child is late to class! The only difference is that most children don’t even realise that they are late until they reach the class and see their friends engrossed in their activities. At that moment the child is almost paralyzed at the door, not sure of what exactly to do. Although at AIM Montessori we still greet the child the same as if they were on time, it takes some time to ensure the child has become comfortable in the environment.
There have been times when a child would regularly come late to class by almost an hour, and as a result enter with a huge scowl on their face. Every day that this child was late, she would have the toughest time just getting started, and before she knew it, it was time to go back home! We interacted with the parents and emphasised the importance of being on time and ensuring a healthy, peaceful, uninterrupted two and a half hour work cycle. Despite this, the child would continue to be late to class. After talking some more with the parents, they told us that the child just didn’t feel like waking up in the morning. This is the point where everything changed.
They started to put the child to bed earlier, and woke her up earlier the following morning. As the days passed by the child came to class less late than the previous day, and eventually started looking forward to coming to class and completing her activities with her friends. A few other children also went through the same kind of progress. We even saw fewer tantrums and conflicts.
At AIM Montessori we understand that the ages between 2.5 and 6 Years are the most impressionable, and it is at this age where they look up to adults to show them how to go about their daily activities. This where it becomes vital to set in place a routine that causes the least friction during the day, more satisfaction and more contentment. If we make it seem like it is okay to walk in late to anything, be it school, sports, dance class, or any other event, the child will get used to that “late anxiety”. The whole impact of any of these activities is lost the moment the child is late and unable to attend those first few minutes. On the other hand, setting up a routine gets rid of that anxiety and the child is then able to depend on the set series of events to get anywhere on time, and will actually enjoy the essence of any activity.
Of course, it can’t possibly be easy to convince your child to get into routine right from the beginning. So if it’s the getting dressed in the morning that’s an issue, send your child to school in their pyjamas with a change of clothes. The surely wont remain in their night clothes for long once they see all their friends dressed and ready for school!