Mornings suck. Mornings with kids take on a whole new level of suckage.
Not always, of course. When you don’t have anywhere to go and you’re all in your pajamas and snuggling, mornings are amazing! Seriously, you think that you are the luckiest mom alive with the best kids ever. Who needs a regular morning routine? Not you!
And then there are the other days. The days that you have to get the kids to school, the days when you have an important family function with the judgiest of relatives, the days when you have a huge meeting first thing in the morning AND YOUR KIDS WILL NOT FREAKING BRUSH THEIR TEETH AND PUT THEIR PANTS ON.
Yeah, those days. Unfortunately, those are most days. You feel like your kids are trying to send you to an insane asylum, and after asking/telling/yelling at them to put on their shoes for the 837th time, you start thinking that the insane asylum would be a relaxing option.
But it doesn’t have to be that way. Not every day, anyway. (What, did you think I was going to say it didn’t have to be that way ever again? Puh-lease, we’re talking about kids here.)
After some disastrous pre-preschool mornings last year, I realized that I needed a better plan. Hell, I needed any plan.
The great thing is that I also realized this: Kids love plans. Resist the understandable urge to roll your eyes. They really do. Think of it this way: It must be mentally exhausting to be a kid. Everything is so new and exciting and distracting, and they have so many thoughts. Why do they have to do what you’re asking right now?! That is, if they even hear what you’re asking—and FYI, they may actually not be hearing what you’re saying. (There’s actually a scientific reason for that, and I’ve got a great solution. Click here for the post on the thing that got my preschooler to listen 900 percent more. No exaggeration on that percentile.)
I had always obsessively prepped my son for big, new situations—like taking a plane, starting preschool and, of course, welcoming a sibling—and I just kind of took for granted that he would figure out the morning routine on his own. Because that’s what people do in the morning.
Actually, that’s what adults do in the morning. We assume that kids will just follow suit and do it on their own because it’s common sense, but that’s unfair. They need to learn this just like anything else, and because they’re kids, they will likely need to learn it again and again.
But creating a morning routine isn’t enough. That’s why I created a morning-routine job chart. When I first decided to do this, I wrote out the tasks he needed to accomplish, sketched some illustrations to go with them and taped it to my son’s wall. It took a few days for him to get in the groove, but then, if he was dillydallying in the morning, all I had to say was, “What’s next on your job chart?” and he’d snap back into action.
Aside from the fact that my son now gets ready on his own in the morning, he also feels a sense of responsibility, independence and accomplishment. And when he completes his tasks, especially when I don’t have to ask him, he is so proud. I love that more than getting out of the house without a fight. (OK, maybe I love those two things equally.)
I’ve upgraded that original morning-routine job chart—trust me, you don’t want my elementary-school-level art skills displayed on your walls—and created them in 5 different color schemes to coordinate with a variety of different kids’ rooms. Here are three of them.
And they’re all yours if you want them. Just click below to download one—or all!—of them, print and hang on your child’s bedroom wall. (You can even laminate it if you’re worried about sticky, curious fingers.) I hope that they help you as much as they helped me.
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Morning Job Chart for Kids: MOMSANITY
Choose from 5 different color combinations to go with your child's room!
The morning-routine job chart is perfect for school days, of course, but it’s also good for every day. Make sure to follow it over the summer, too. It’ll put your child in a good position to tackle the new school year, but also it’ll let you get out of the house every day with your sanity more or less intact because, you know, that’s kind of important, too.
Tell Us: How do you get your kids out of the house every day—on time and without completely losing your mind?
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Cathy | Smart Mom Ideas says
My son always takes forever to get ready in the morning. I’m learning to not rush him (or else he stops entirely) but that’s hard. I like the idea of a visual chart to get him going!
Dawn Yanek says
Thank you! And I hope that you find the charts handy! Let me know!