Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Tackle-It Tuesday: Kids' Morning Routines

Last week, I talked about Mom's Morning Routine, things I try to do every morning to get my day off to a better start. Today I'll talk about the companion to that, my kids' morning routine. A few disclaimers before we get started: my kids are homeschooled, and always have been. We have our Classical Conversations community meeting on Tuesdays, but that is the only weekday that we really need to get up and out the door by a certain time.

My kids are almost-9 years old, 6 years old, and 2 1/2 years old. With that age spread, I have early risers AND a night owl...which means this ol' Mama is constantly dragging. While I try to get out of bed before them, I don't always make it. If they are all up before me, they will turn on Netflix and peacefully watch show after show after show, even after I'm up. If/when that happens, our morning slips away without the necessary household and school tasks being done.

We have a simple rule that we try to stick to: 
No electronics until after the morning routine!

My two older kids have very similar morning routines. My toddler...well. She is a typical toddler, and she does toddler things like randomly changing clothes (or stripping down altogether!), refusing breakfast and then needing lunch at 11 a.m., and going around behind everyone messing up whatever they just tidied. My "big kids" know to start their routine and follow it, and that the sooner they get through the list the better our day will be. When they show initiative and diligence, they are rewarded by having more free time or being able to participate in fun outings like the library. If they dawdle or whine or refuse to comply, well...the opposite happens. No fun, no outings, no free time. It doesn't take long for these natural consequences to make a positive difference in attitudes and behavior.

I have the kids' morning routines printed, laminated, and hung on their bedroom walls right by the light switch. They know where to start, and they know if they just tackle the simple tasks in order, they will be well on their way to being done with their responsibilities for the morning.

Kids' Morning Routine
1. Go potty. (I think this one should go without saying, but apparently not always.)
2. Wash hands, wash face, brush hair.
3. Get dressed.
4. Make bed.
5. Have breakfast, clear place.
6. Brush teeth.
7. Morning chores (a separate list; feed pets, sweep kitchen, start laundry, etc.)
8. Read independently for 30 minutes.
9. Start on school work.

Right now, my kids are able to do much of their school work independently, so they are able to start on a simple subject (like handwriting) while I finish up my chores or deal with the Toddlerzilla. Then we can work on school together off & on throughout the morning, and finish up by lunchtime. This simple morning routine, along with our "no electronics" rule, have really made our mornings better.

What kind of morning routine do your kids have? Did it develop naturally, or is it something you designed for them?

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