How to fix your morning routine with kids

Are you struggling with your morning routine? Are you having a tough time getting the kids out the door? Is there panic, yelling, and even though you try your best, you are still late for school or work? If this is your morning, you want to keep reading.

Up until now, my son went to afternoon preschool. We enjoyed lazy mornings snuggling on the couch, watching cartoons and then casually getting ready for the park before school. Then he started Junior Kindergarten with a start time of 8:00 A.M. WOW – That first week was rough! But, I have developed a system in our house that has made this transition so much easier and we are all happier as we drive off eagerly early on our way to school!

I used to be a teacher so I am no stranger to getting up early; however, it is a different story when you have two little ones in tow that depend on you for everything. You have to shift gears a little, lower your standards and then lower them a little more! After you try my tips, you will be CRUSHING your morning routine with your coffee in hand and a smile on your face.

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Morning Routine Tips

Morning routines at our house are a breeze since I implemented the following tips:

  1. Get ready the night before – Set out clothes, pack the lunch or snack, fill the water bottle and set it in the fridge, check your child’s “To school” folder or homework and make sure it complete and ready to go.
  2. No T.V. or toys until the kids are dressed – My kids like to watch cartoons in the morning. This is a great incentive to get them dressed and ready. They can watch their show or play until they hear the next step, the timer.
  3. Set a Timer! – We are a timer family and use timers often. For example, we set a five-minute warning timer when we are leaving the park. We use a timer for clean-up time in the evening and now we use a timer to alert my kids it is time to brush their teeth and hair, wash their faces, and put on their shoes.
  4. Pretend – Remember how you use to pretend as kids? Well, I want you to dig up those childlike skills and start pretending again. Only this time, pretend you have to leave ten minutes earlier than you do. This is HUGE! We never feel stressed or have any issues when a last-minute thing comes up because I have given us some wiggle room. We pull up to school early and we love to listen to the Troll Soundtrack or Spanish C.D. while we wait.
  5. Grab a Quick Breakfast – My kids usually eat cereal in the morning, but I keep some granola bars in my purse in case we run out of time. They can eat while we wait in the school parking lot (because we are usually early) and I won’t have to worry they are hungry for the next three hours.

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Variation of Your Morning Schedule

  • TV time? You can use TV or playtime as a reward for getting ready or you can let them watch a show while they eat breakfast. I’m not a huge fan of screen time but I use it strategically and then we shut it off until the end of the day when they are ready to clean up and start winding down. I might add, I don’t mind letting my kids watch education shows such as PBS shows, Leap Frog videos, or anything with letter, numbers, science, or geography. When they are finished with breakfast, the tv goes off and the routine happens! We like to brush teeth, brush hair, wash faces, put on socks and shoes, double-check bags and head out the door! This works best for our family, but you and only you know your kids best so do what works for you. The key is finding something that works and sticking with it! Kids thrive on routine and predictability.
  • Practice! Make sure you go over the routine with your little ones before you start. It may help to practice on the weekend and reward them with a trip to the park if they are ready in time!
  • Outside play? Another tip, if you have young kids…I was just chatting with a friend of mine and she gets her kids ready a half an hour early, locks the door, and lets them play outside until it is time to get in the car. This eliminates the chaos of your kiddos changing shoes five times or wanting other socks that you cannot find as you run around your house panicked. This will work best for younger kids that still like to play outside.

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In Conclusion

These are my best tips that keep us all sane and happy in the morning. Morning can be the best time of day and if you continue to practice, it will become automatic. You are setting the foundations for great mornings to come!

The first week of school was rough and it is always difficult getting used to a new schedule, so cut your kids some slack the first few weeks of school. Especially at the Preschool and Kindergarten age, as this is a big leap for them.

Here is wishing you the best this school year! I hope my tips help set your day off in the right step. The best tip above is setting out timer 10 minutes earlier. This has really decreased my stress level. If you stick with your routine it will become automatic and your timer will be a cue for your children, instead of having to nag them.

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Take care – Sarah


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