There is a staggering amount of advice out there for parents. Lots of what to do and what not to do. One thing that seems to be commonly agreed upon is that routines are beneficial. This is not to say that there is a one size fits all. We want to help you explore routines starting with what might be the toughest part of the day- the morning! We have some tips and tricks for you to create the best morning routine for you and your family.
Why you should adopt a morning routine
Tons of research supports that establishing routines allows children to thrive. Routines, especially morning routines, serve to set the tone for the day. Is your morning mayhem? Chances are it will be hard not to carry that into the rest of your day. There are a lot of benefits to establishing routines, but some of the most important are the following steps.
- Fostering Punctuality– We know that mornings with littles are never easy and rarely go according to plan. Kids love to harness their independence. Routines give them a framework to do so. Having a routine in place for the morning allows little ones to check on themselves. This speeds up the process of getting out of the house on time!
- Sets Expectations– Habits are formed by routine and repetition. If you child knows he needs to brush his teeth after using the bathroom, you won’t have to remind him 15 times. He’ll just do it. (Ok, who am I kidding, you’ll have to remind him, but maybe only 5 times instead of 15…WIN)
- Time Management– If you’ve taken time to read some of my other posts, you know how much I value time management. It is one of my most personal challenges, so I work really hard to conquer it. A morning routine with specific tasks to complete teaches kids to respect time. Knowing what is expected and giving them the independence to do it encourages self- reliance at other stages of life.
- Sets Personal Goals– I like this one because as your morning routine evolves and your child grows, he can find personal success in what he achieves each day. “I remembered to brush my teeth! I remembered to grab my water bottle!” Seems like simple things, but for kids, its critical to their development to set and achieve all level of goals!
- Less Stress– Say it a little louder for the people in the back- LESS STRESS! One more time, LESS STRESS! Anything that diminishes stress in our lives is cause for celebration. Getting out of the house with my blood pressure cucumber cool and no tears is a giant win for the start of my day.
Let’s get visual
I’m a visual learner. I love being able to see something and go from there. I never thought I was into Legos until my son got a kajillion sets for Christmas and needed help assembling them. After a while, he was saying, “Mommy! I can do it myself!” I had gotten in the zone putting together Harry Potter’s Potions Class and having myself a super good time. What I realized was that I LOVE the picture directions. I totally got it. Apparently I also really love putting together Legos. Who knew?
Not everyone is a visual learner, of course. Kids, however, do well with picture directions since they are all at varying stages of reading abilities. We created these morning routine picture cards for your child to use as he gets up, ready and dressed each day. These are easy to print, cut out and place in an area your child will readily see them each day. I plan to put them on my son’s wall above his laundry hamper. This way, when he is walking out of his room, he’ll see the chart and remember what he needs to do without constant reminders.
We made a space for you to add your own steps as well! SO, if you have something unique to your child, you can personalize the morning routine to fit her needs. I am adding a few for my son to remember to take his vitamin and allergy medicine each day!
In addition to the visual tasks to accomplish, we also provided time cards. This helps to keep kids on task and aware of the passage of time. I recently got my son a digital clock for his room and it helps him for me to say, “At 7:10, I need you to have your clothes on and teeth brushed.” We created several time cards with morning times, but we left a few blank for you to fill in as best suits your family’s morning routine times.
Night time prep
Pro Tip: Speed up your morning routine with a night time prep routine!
- I have a basket in each kid’s room where their shoes go. This has helped eliminate the, “Moooommmyyy, where are my shoes??”
- I pack lunches and fill water bottles in the evening so they are ready the grab in the morning.
- When we come in each evening from work and school, everything gets put away. Shoes in the baskets and jackets hung up.
- Another sanity saver is to have a designated spot for charging devices. My son has his device charger in his room and he hangs his bookbag up on a hook right away and immediately plugs in the laptop.
- I’d even go a step further with it all and suggest laying out outfits the night before. I have my son pick out his own and then he can’t forget to put on underwear the next morning (happens more than you’d think). Whatever you can do the night before, the smoother your morning can be!
Morning routine at school
As a parent and a teacher, I know that good home habits translate into good habits at school and vice versa. Children need structure. Some kids need more guidance than others, but everyone can appreciate the benefit of knowing what to expect in their daily settings.
In addition to our home morning routine chart, we also created one for school. This morning routine at school guide is for parents as much as it is for teachers. Teachers can certainly post this in their classrooms and review it with their students. Parents can post this at home and review it with their children so they remember what is expected of them when they arrive at school.
Especially in our current times of pivoting between in person or virtual learning, having these reminders can serve to quell and fears of what is expected when children enter the classroom. Knowing what they are to do gives them the confidence to tackle it on their own.
Do what works for you
As always, remember to take things step by step. Be kind to yourself. Leave room to fail and keep practicing. Above all, do what works for you! Your morning routine should reflect your individuality, your children’s needs and may take some time to smooth out. Let us know in the comments what your mornings are like and if these ideas will help ease some of your morning rush stress!
Have a Happy Friday and for those of you lucky enough- enjoy your snow day!
Courtney is an MTT tutor, academic coach, and blog contributor for MTTES. If you check out our FB and Instagram pages, you might see her giving a storytime with her son Jack through the company’s Facebook Live service. Courtney’s love of the English language, learning, and creative writing inspired her to contribute relevant content to teachers, tutors, parents, and homeschoolers seeking support across an array of trending topics. She and her teacher husband have two small children and reside in Baltimore, MD with their dog Lottie May.