Wednesday, November 14, 2018

5 Tips to Manage Morning Routines

Wake up, sleepyheads!

Getting kids ready for the day, especially school days, can be like swimming through oatmeal – you keep plowing through, but feel like you are getting sucked back into the mess. Even though we homeschool, our oldest attends college 5 days a week and we still must have a routine in our house for mornings in order to get where we need to be and accomplish our goals. Over the years I have developed a strategy for getting everyone in the house going each morning, and it finally doesn’t just hinge on me being the lead swimmer! Morning routines are so much smoother when everyone plays a responsible part.

1. Put the kids in charge of themselves. As long as I kept pleading with them to get out of bed, begging for some sign of life, they were very comfortable letting me waste my time in the morning acting as their human snooze buttons. Kids know how to work us. If we offer ourselves as their servants in the morning – getting them out of bed, preparing their breakfasts, and readying them for the day – they will use our free labor. They don’t do this because they are cruel creatures, but because this is what we are teaching them to do.

We have to make them responsible for their mornings. I give my kids one wake-up call if their alarms or internal clocks don’t do the job. Sometimes they have had to pay the price for sleeping through all of these options, such as arriving late to class. Your kids might have to serve detention for tardiness in school. These are real consequences that do help teach kids. When they are adults their bosses won’t call them and provide repeated wake-up services, so we only do them a disservice when we take away that opportunity when they are younger to learn how to ready themselves for the day. If their being late impacts you (you are late for work), pass on those consequences to them, such as an extra hour of chores for every 30 minutes you were late.

2. Set them up for success. Yes – kids need to be responsible for getting themselves ready, but you can increase their possibilities for success by giving them the tools to reach it.

  • Make sure they have good alarm clocks, and maybe make sure they have more than one. When I first married my husband he had a jeep speaker hooked up to his alarm clock, set on the other side of the room!
  • Help them plan out their evening before, as well as their mornings. Sometimes kids run so late because they don’t have realistic expectations about things that need to happen.
  • Limit distractions. In our house the computer, cell phones, and iPods are the biggest distractions in the morning, where everyone wants to check in with friends to see what they might have missed overnight. We have a rule that this can’t be done until the kids are ready for the day. It motivates them, helps them stay on task, and keeps me from going insane!
  • Keep routines routine. They can’t plan for their morning goals and meet them if you keep changing the bar. If you always need to leave at 7:45, don’t randomly expect them to be ready at 7:30 one day because you have a meeting. Forewarning the night before is best in these situations.

3. Don’t underestimate the power of sleep routines. Make sure you understand how much sleep your kids need, for their ages, their activity levels, and their personal health needs. Teenagers might be harder to wake in the morning, but that is because their natural internal clocks aren’t letting them fall asleep as easily. Especially in homes with several children, make sure all of their needs are addressed.

  • It can seem tedious, but stagger bedtimes if that is what is needed to give everyone the rest they need.
  • Make sure that those kids who are still awake later in the evening respect the sleep needs and habits of those who are already snoring.
  • Create effective sleeping arrangements in your home – lights dimmed, sounds low, temperatures regulated.

4. Start your morning routine the night before. One of the most effective ways I have been able to ease our morning chaos is to have the kids do as much as possible the night before.

  • Make a list of the last-minute items needed in the morning
  • Pack lunches
  • Get backpacks ready with homework and papers signed
  • Shower or bathe the night before
  • Set clothes and other basics out the night before
  • Review with everyone else in the family what the plan is for the following day, especially the morning, if there are new kinks in the routine

5. Consider behavior modification charts. At younger ages the kids in my home always seem to wake up easier, but have a more challenging time remembering everything they need to do in order to be ready for the day on time. We have used behavior charts and chore charts to help them become more independent in the morning and to take the extra “reminding” burden from my shoulders. Depending on their ages a morning routine chart can include things like this:

  • Feed pets
  • Get dressed
  • Make bed
  • Eat breakfast
  • Brush teeth
  • Wash face
  • Anything else they need to do before heading out the door or starting their day

The days start early in our home with a 4:15 wake-up alarm for my husband. It is a domino effect after that, with him waking me just before he leaves (he likes his solitude in the kitchen each morning to make his own breakfast and lunch for the day – I distract him too much!). Then the kids are in charge of themselves after that. Yes – some mornings like today I did a door knocking reminder as time seemed to be slipping by, but all 4 children were able to feed themselves, do their chores, and get ready for the day without much harassing from me. They are able to, because they need to do it. Necessity is a wonderful teacher for us all.

Related posts:

  1. Help Your Kids Manage Stress
  2. Teach Your Child to Manage Money
  3. Tips for Raising a Confident Child

View full post on Parenting Tips For Raising Successful Kids |


One Response to “5 Tips to Manage Morning Routines”
  1. Raúl says:

    I have to say that we already do some of these. But being new parents this is great advice for us to follow in the future.

    I really like the aspect of teaching your kids the responsibility of waking up at the right time.

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