Getting Children On a Morning Time Routine

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Dads, mornings can be a battlefield. Whether it’s your morning routine for babies or a morning routine for school for your older kids, you might as well suit up your armor. Load your musket and pray hard as you walk toward your enemy that is your sleeping child.

Sure, nighttime is difficult because everyone is tired and grouchy. But morning routines are the most stressful because everyone needs to be somewhere soon and they simultaneously want to stay in bed.

Your morning routine, however, doesn’t have to be a battlefield. In fact, it can be one of the calmest moments of your day if you play your cards right.

So, from one dad to another, here are 5 tips for developing your kids’ morning routine.

Take Inventory

Make a list of everything your child needs to do before he or she leaves the house. Be super specific with this because, if you’re not detailed, you’ll end up missing important things like underwear or shoes. And every kid needs to put on underwear and shoes before they leave the house in the morning.

The truth is that nobody’s brain functions well early in the day, so don’t leave it up to chance. List everything like this:

  • Brush teeth
  • Comb hair
  • Make bed
  • Eat breakfast
  • Put on clothes
  • Go to the bathroom

Make a list similar to this and then write them out in chronological order. Putting them in order will give you a good idea of how long your kids’ morning routine actually needs to be.

Establish departure time

This might sound like common sense, but nobody wants to devote brain power to anything early in the morning. So, whether you drive your children to school, or you walk them to the bus stop, figure out the exact time you need to leave the house.

The goal here is to pick a time that is not going to cause you to get a speeding ticket on your way. Mornings should not cost you money before you even get your kid to school.

Here’s are two tips that will help you as you begin developing a more intentional wakeup routine:

  1. Account for traffic, accidents, red lights, or for the occasional moment of “I forgot something at home.”
  2. Pick a time and stick to it for a while. Get your kid used to the new time before making any changes.
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Work Backwards with Realistic Time-slots

Work backwards from the established departure time and plug in the inventory list you’ve already made.

Here’s an example schedule that has worked before in other households:

Departure Time: 7:00

  • 6:20 – brush teeth
  • 6:25 – put on school clothes
  • 6:35 – eat breakfast
  • 6:50 – put backpack together and put on shoes
  • 6:55 – go to the bathroom
  • 7:00 – leave the house

It may seem like overkill at first, but the more detailed you can be, the more peace of mind you and your family will have in the morning. Why? Because you won’t have to think about every little thing. It’s already in writing!

Podcast Ep. 152 Establishing a Morning Routine

Establish the wakeup time

A natural progression from establishing your departure time, and working backward from there, is to establish your wakeup time.

Yes, the dreaded wakeup time!

There are three things to keep in mind when it comes to waking your children up from their slumber:

  1. The wakeup time is closely related to bedtime. If you decide that your children can stay up late, it’s going to impact the speed at which they move in the mornings. Your children aren’t any different from you in this respect. They need sleep and when they don’t get it… well, you know what happens.
  2. Be empathetic toward your kids. If they usually take a while to wake up and get out of bed, build in some extra time in the schedule to fit their personality.
  3. Don’t put school clothes on young children until after breakfast. Why? Because young kids will inevitably get milk, syrup, or whatever their eating all over their outfit. This means that the morning routine for babies will require some extra attention and energy.

Make the Schedule Visible for Everyone

After you’ve done the work of developing a morning routine for you and your children, make it visible. Put the schedule somewhere that isn’t annoying but where it will be seen by the right people – Maybe your kids’ bathroom or on the wall in the hallway.

To close out this post, here is some tried and true advice for your making a creating a morning routine for your kids.

  • Let your children be part of making their own morning schedule. They can provide helpful input about how long it takes them to do certain tasks.
  • Be on the same page as your spouse. Even if you don’t have the same personality (maybe one of you likes schedules and the other doesn’t care), it’s important that you are united front.
  • Be consistent. Kids thrive when they know what’s coming and they know what’s expected of them. It’s the reason why they watch the same tv shows, the same movies, over and over again.

 Have you had any luck getting your kids moving in the morning? What has worked for you? We’d love to hear about it! 

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