Setting up a morning routine your kids will follow is one of the hardest things to follow through on. Before I implemented a system I was always rushing out the door. With a little knowledge about how routines work, you will be able to successfully set your morning routines with your kids, so you all can get out the door!
Why routines matter
First, let’s talk about why routines matter. Setting positive routines lets children know what is expected of them. Children are thinking, capable human being just like you and me. Setting up routines for your child is a healthy way to help them create structure, curb the behavior, and help anticipate their needs. According to healthychild.org Children do best when routines are regular, predictable, and consistent.
If you are new to setting and sticking to routines with your children don’t panic! Start with the desired outcome. For example, you want your child to put his dirty clothes in the laundry bin, instead of the floor (real-life scenario). For this try “front-loading” him, walking him through what he will do when he takes his dirty clothes off, which basket they go in and why create the system he needs to be successful in this task.
Then, your job is to follow through. Checking in to see your child is actually doing what he is supposed to. When he is successful in putting his clothes in the appropriate place immediately praise him for his efforts. This works with clean-up time and every other routine too. Your child will be following routines in no time!
Pro Parenting Tip: Make it a game! Kids of all ages love games, try to incorporate routines that are fun and creative.
They crave autonomy
The best thing you can do for your child in setting up a morning routine your kids will follow is giving them a choice. As an educator, this has been a tool that has served me well. When children feel they have a choice they are more apt to be empowered. Throughout the day children may be treated as though they don’t have a voice because they are “just kids”, but children know and understand more than we give them credit for. So having them make choices that you are offering is a great way to give them the autonomy that they crave. It will also make them feel empowered to make better choices you are not around.
Pro Parenting Tip: Don’t save your child from their not-so-great choices. Let them learn from their mistakes. Then, be there to guide them through it.
Start your routine at night
Setting a morning routine your kids will follow actually starts the night before. Your nightly routine acts as an anchor for your morning routine. So practices like getting your babies to bed at a decent hour, most children need 10-12 hours of sleep or more (even your teens) will be a healthy start to their day. Set a limit on screen time before bed, try having your kids read a book before bed to help their mind “get ready for sleep”. If they are younger read a book to them.
Set up the nightly routines like making sure you have everything ready for school so your morning transition will be smooth. Set the night up having a wind downtime such as bath, brushing teeth and, family time. Having a nightly routine will help you get your child up and ready the next day with ease.
Set a routine in the morning too
Help your child wake up comfortably, do they like to ease into the morning or can they jump out of bed and be ready to go. Not all kids are the same so allow them the time and space they need to wake up. I have been known to sing wake-up songs, open curtains, set alarms, and give cuddles. Try different things to see what works with your child’s age and comfort. Make sure your child has a breakfast that gives their brain energy (sugary cereals just make kids crash).
Pro Tip: Set the mood in the house by playing music to create a peaceful transition to leave the house.
In conclusion, setting up a morning routine help children learn how to function in structured environments. As a parent, you are the facilitator of creating your child’s routines. Incorporating them in the process instead of just telling them what to do builds up a healthy parent-child relationship. Setting your child up for success starts at night and flows into the morning. Help creating structure in other areas will help you establish better routines overall. Further, giving your child a choice will make him feel empowered, thus taking ownership and responsibility for himself and his environment.
Sara Chinakwe is an author, teacher, and children’s ministry leader. She encourages the youngest of minds and equips women to pursue God’s purpose. Sara inspires women and children to see themselves as God sees them. Sara resides in Sacramento California with her husband and two children. You can read more on her blog sarachinakwe.com