We all know how much of a struggle and rush mornings can be for families. Whether you’re struggling to get everyone going, flustered trying to find shoes and bags, or rushing out the door while shoveling cold toast in your mouth, the quest to get ready in the morning can feel much more like a battle.
But, there is a way you can make it a whole lot easier for yourself and your family.
Creating a morning routine for kids that helps avoid power struggles, gives them responsibilities, and is clear and simple, can be the key to reducing everyone’s stress in the morning.
You know yourself that when your morning is rushed, you feel the effects of it for the rest of the day, and your kids do too.
What Is A Morning Routine?
A morning routine is a series of activities that are completed every day, in the same order and at approximately the same time.
For families with young children, this means having a set list of things that need to be done before leaving for the day.
It takes away the guesswork for everyone involved and makes getting out the door a whole lot smoother.
Benefits Of A Morning Routine For Kids
There are several benefits to having a morning routine for your kids.
1 – Gives A Sense Of Responsibility And Ownership Over Their Own Time
When kids know what needs to be done and when it needs to be done by, they can begin to take control of their own time.
2 – Helps To Avoid Power Struggles
If everyone knows what needs to be done and when, there is less room for negotiation and arguing.
3 – Helps Kids Feel More Confident And In Control Of Their Day
When they know what comes next, they can feel more prepared and ready to take on the day.
Starting their day on the right foot and in a positive way, can empower them to feel more confident in the tasks they take on throughout the rest of the day.
4 – Can Help Your Child Feel More Independent And Capable
As they begin to complete more tasks on their own, they will feel a sense of pride and accomplishment. Getting themselves ready for the day is an independent task and taking steps towards being able to do this will show them just how capable they are.
5 – Creates More Free Time In The Morning.
When your child knows what needs to be done, they can get started on their own and do things more independently.
This allows for all members of the family to be more efficient with their time and can allow extra time in the morning for play, creativity, or quiet time before taking on the day.
Tips To Create An Effective Morning Routine For Kids
These tips can be used with all ages, even if you have a mix of younger kids and older kids.
Adapt them to suit your family and your lifestyle, and remember, you can change up your routine as your needs change.
1 – Allow Enough Time
The biggest mistake people make when trying to create a smooth morning routine is not allowing enough time for things to be done.
If you’re rushing and trying to fit too much into a small window of time, it’s going to be difficult to avoid chaos and keep everyone calm.
For those who aren’t morning people, it can take a little while longer to get started, so allowing some time in the morning to slowly wake up can be a little tweak you can make to lead to a more stress-free morning routine (well, less stressful anyway).
This also includes allowing enough time for yourself as well.
It might mean that you need to get up a little earlier than everyone else so you have time to drink your morning coffee while it is still hot or write out your to-do list for the day.
Taking that little extra time for yourself first thing in the morning, is the best way to get yourself in a good headspace and set yourself up for the rest of the day.
2 – Ensure You’re All Getting Enough Sleep
Going to bed late, or going to sleep late, leads to kids having a hard time getting going the next morning and can make mornings more difficult than they need to be.
It can also lead to crankiness and a general feeling of being overwhelmed.
Getting enough sleep should be a priority for everyone in the family and will help make mornings go more smoothly.
Keeping consistent wake-up times can help stay on track with your morning routines.
Using a gentle alarm clock can help with this and is a much nicer way to wake up than the traditional blaring alarms that make you jump out of bed with fright.
3 – Fuel Your Bodies And Minds With Good Food
We’ve all heard that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, and whether you agree or not, it’s certainly obvious that a nutritious breakfast can help set you up for a much more productive and happier day.
Think about how you feel when you have a good breakfast rather than a sugary, sweet option.
Having the same breakfast each day, or a rotation of breakfasts, can help make this part of the day easier during the week, and you can allow extra time for a special breakfast on weekends.
4 – Stay Consistent With Your Routines
Creating a solid morning routine, that works for you and your family, is going to be one of the best things you do that will help everyone in the family have a positive start to the day.
You may choose to have a separate school morning routine for weekday mornings, and then a different routine for weekends, but the key is consistency.
When everyone knows what needs to be done and in what order, it helps the morning go much more smoothly.
5 – Ensure All Family Members Know What Is Expected Of Them
This goes hand-in-hand with being consistent.
When everyone knows what is expected of them, it helps to avoid any arguments or confusion in the morning.
Depending on the ages of your kids, you can have a family meeting to discuss the morning routine and what each person’s responsibilities are.
Encouraging your kids to be part of the routine-making process can help them feel like they are in control and be more excited to implement the routine.
And remember, you don’t have to do it all yourself.
If it’s possible, the kids can make their own breakfast, older children can help young children with simple tasks like brushing their teeth or packing their school bags.
Part of the routine is working together as a family, not just having you do everything for them (we already have enough to do…).
6 – Focus On Creating Good Habits And Habit Stacking
When you are creating your morning routine, focus on creating good habits that you want your kids to adopt.
Habits like brushing their teeth, making their bed, or getting dressed by themselves are all good habits to encourage.
You can help them create these habits by “habit stacking” which is basically linking the new habit to an existing habit.
For example, when they get dressed in the morning, they can pick up their clothes and put them in the laundry.
The key is to make it part of the routine so that it becomes a habit – they already get dressed, so being consistent with the new habit of putting their clothes in the laundry, and being clear on the expectation, can help create the new habit a lot easier.
7 – Be Mindful Of Expectations And Abilities
This is a big one.
It’s important to be mindful of the expectations you are setting for your family members.
Being aware of child development and what can be expected at each age, can be a big help when establishing a new morning routine.
Younger children won’t be able to do all the things that say, elementary school children will be able to do.
Part of the routine is learning and growing, so as they get older and develop new skills, you can add to the morning routine.
8 – Reward Achievements
When your kids accomplish something, or they exhibit good behavior, it’s important to encourage it.
You can do this in a number of ways, but one way is through rewards.
For example, if they complete their morning routine with no complaining, you can give them a sticker or mark it off on a chart or routine checklist.
If they complete a week of good behavior, you can give them a small prize, or they can earn things like extra minutes of screen time.
The key is to make it something that they will look forward to and be excited about.
9 – Use Visual Aids Like A Routine Chart
Sometimes, it can be a good idea to use visual aids to help with the morning routine.
A picture chart or a written out list of tasks using simple words, can be a big help, especially for younger children.
You can create a chart that includes the whole family, have a separate one for school days and weekends, and even include simple things like how long tasks should take and when school starts to help reinforce the routine.
Creating a handy chart like this can mean there is less work for you because the kids can visually see what is expected of them, and what they need to do next, as well as giving them the opportunity to learn time management skills.
Sometimes ticking off the little things, like when they brush their teeth or do their school work of an afternoon, can be incredibly encouraging (just like when we feel good when we tick things off our to-do list.)
10 – Start Your Morning Routine The Night Before
This might sound a little crazy, but the best tip when it comes to reducing morning stress and creating a super smooth morning routine is to start your routine the night before.
Ask yourself what you can do the night before to help make the following morning easier.
The kids might be able to get out their clothes ready for the next day, or you can get their lunch boxes packed and in the fridge ready to go.
Doing these little tasks as the last thing the night before, can help avoid the mad rush the next day and can make you feel like you are prepared and ready to take on the morning.
Creating a morning routine for kids that works for you and your family can be a big help in terms of reducing stress and creating a more enjoyable and cohesive family life.
It can take some time to get everyone on board and into the habit of things, but it will be worth it in the end.
Just remember to be patient, go at your own pace, and don’t be afraid to ask for help when you need it.
These tips should help you create a morning routine that works for your family, and that everyone can stick to.