Helping your children establish positive morning routines will not just help you get everyone off to school washed, dressed and fed, but it will set your children up for success later in life.
When kids establish positive routines in their childhood, it is easier for them to transition those basic building blocks into new routines as they get older.
Parents can also feel a bit more confident that their children will be able to manage increased responsibility as they move out of the house or attend school away from home.
Here are some ideas you can implement with your children, however old they are, to begin establishing those good morning habits:
- Prepare for tomorrow morning the night before.
- Have kids load their backpacks before bed.
- Check the weather report to see if you and/or the kids will need rain gear, coats, hats, gloves, etc.
- Lay out clothes and accessories the night before. For children who like to decide in the morning, hang all school clothes in one area of a closet.
- Make a checklist for the next day, including appointments and items you need (dry cleaning, library books, bank deposits, sport equipment, musical instruments, etc.).
- Pack lunches with non-perishable items. This way, you only need to add perishable items in the morning.
- Set the table and know what you are going to have for breakfast.
- Establish a specific place for keys, glasses, purse/briefcase, and backpack.
- Purchase an alarm clock for each child, making them responsible for their own schedules.
- Make a rotating schedule for bathroom use. Put a clock in the bathroom so everyone knows when their time is up.
- Create a morning chore chart for your kids, ensuring they won’t argue over whose turn it is to feed the dog or take out the garbage. Post the chart at child eye level on the refrigerator or on a kitchen bulletin board.
- Eliminate distractions. Don’t turn on the TV unless a child needs to watch a news report for class and allow playtime only after a child is dressed and ready for the day.
- Make a Sunshine Jar for young children who move slowly in the morning. Drop a quarter in the jar each day they make progress toward adhering to the family schedule. Let them spend their money on a treat at the end of the week.
Remember, with all change, it is best to take things slowly. Perhaps start by sharing the list with your kids and get their input for what items they want to try implementing. As you find success with those items, add another idea. Keep going until you and your children feel morning routines are more organized and smooth.
Allison Schneider, MD, and Katie Udenberg, DO, are pediatricians currently seeing patients at Prevea Altoona Urgent Care, 3085 Meadowlark Lane, Suite 20, in Altoona. Prevea Health is a community partner of Chippewa Valley Family magazine. For more information or to make an appointment with Drs. Schneider or Udenberg, call (715) 717-6850 or visit prevea.com/AltoonaPediatrics.