Aug 052014
 August 5, 2014  Back to School, Education

Creating a Morning Routine that Works for Everyone {Back to School Linky Party} -

This post is part of the Back to School with KBN Linky Party (see below)

Monkey is not what I would call a morning person.  Even as a baby he was more of a night owl, and though we now have ways of getting our active boy to settle down at bedtime, getting him up and out the door in the morning has always been a challenge.

Things have gotten much easier, though, now that we have come up with a morning routine we both love!  He is excited because having a set routine helps him be more independent (he knows what to do!) and thus more confident.  It is also a big help to me because he can move through much of the routine on his own while I take care of Baby and get myself ready.

Here is what has worked for us:

Creating a Morning Routine that Works for Everyone

1. Together with your child make a list of tasks to include.

Obviously you as the parent have the final say on what to include in your child’s morning routine, but working on it together will help your child take ownership of the process.  Plus, you may be surprised at what they come up with!  For my son, for example, it was important to add “get out of bed” to his routine.  Nothing like being able to check something off your list right away!

2. Make it visual.

This step was crucial for us.  Monkey is at the stage of loving to read instructions (thank you, Legos!) and is always curious about what signs says – on the road, at the park, in the store, etc.  He sees these as being the ultimate authority, which is nice because it takes me – as the mom telling him what to do – out of the equation completely.  For example, if he still wants to ride in the grocery cart, I don’t have to argue with him.  All I have to do is point to the sign on the cart giving the age/weight limit.

So having a poster (with pictures, since he doesn’t read yet) was a major turning point.  As he gets ready, he loves to run in and look at the poster so he can announce which numbers he has completed.  And if I need to remind him to finish his morning routine, I no longer get an argument back from him; he accepts it as just what has to be done.

I should add that this was not always the case.  I tried this about a year ago, and it didn’t click with him at all.  So if you have tried this before without real results, I encourage you to give it another try!

Creating a Morning Routine that Works for Everyone {Back to School Linky Party} -

3. Include at least one “new” chore.

As we were creating our routine, I decided it was time to add something new to the routine.  Everything else was familiar to him, though we weren’t always consistent about doing them every morning.  But I also added a new task, telling him it was a sign of what a big boy he was.  I figured as long as we were setting up a new system, it was a good time to help him stretch a bit more and (in our case) start making his own bed.

4. Take time to connect.

I also made sure to include an “extra” that was important to us: saying our morning prayers together.  Before we made our “official” routine, this was the step that was frequently forgotten or even deliberately skipped in the rush to get out the door.  Now, it is on the poster, so it gets done!  It is such a great way to start the morning together, and a breather in what can be an otherwise hectic morning.  Perhaps in your case it might be reading a book together over breakfast or doing some yoga stretches.  Whatever it is, consider including a fun, connecting activity in your morning routine.

Creating a Morning Routine that Works for Everyone {Back to School Linky Party} -

5. Set a starting time. 

Work your way backwards and figure out what time the routine needs to start.  Decide if you will allow your child some playtime first in the morning, or if you will save this as a treat at the end.  And don’t forget to add in some wiggle room!  It never fails that something will go wrong, whether it is a spill, a rip, an extra potty break, a last minute diaper change for the baby, or a show and tell toy that has mysteriously disappeared.  Rather than being surprised, plan on this happening by allowing some extra time in your routine.  If you don’t need it, you can always allow a little extra playtime before you leave!

6. Start early and practice.

Don’t wait until the first day of school to try out your new routine.  Start well before the end of summer, so you can all try out the new routine without any time pressure or first day jitters.   Make it into a game, so your child first learns to have fun with it.  By the time school begins, the routine will already be second nature and so one less thing for you – and your child – to worry about!

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  2 Responses to “Creating a Morning Routine that Works for Everyone {Back to School Linky Party}”

  1. That’s definitely a good system. We also found a picture list works well. Something about paper is just so non-negotiable. We always put “read a book” on the end of the list. 🙂

    • Yes, putting it on paper does seem to make it more official! I love having a reward as the last item on the list!

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