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If you have a young child, I’m sure that you know those chaotic mornings when nothing seems to work and you feel that you’ll never be able to be ready to get through the door and start the day! I’ve gone through this kind of morning over and over again, especially when Bogdan was a young toddler and we needed to get out on time to get to the creche and then to work. He always had other plans in the morning and we ended up every day by being late! One day I felt so overwhelmed that I started searching for tips about creating a morning routine for kids and I made a list of ideas that could work for us.
I began to implement some of the tips I found and in a couple of weeks, I already felt the difference: our mornings were quieter and more organized and we started to really enjoy them! One of the ideas that worked best for us was creating a morning checklist for Bogdan that made him more involved in our morning routine and allowed us to be able to go to work on time (almost every day 🙂 ). I want to share with you all the ideas that helped us to transform our mornings and make them more enjoyable for all of us and I hope they will be useful for you too! At the end of the article, you will also find a morning checklist printable to download and use for your kids.
Here are the tips that worked for us, and I’m sure they can bring a change in your mornings too. Basically, the key to having happy morning with kids is to allow them to have a little time to do the things they like and to set a routine that you follow each day (the first days may be more difficult because the child is not used to it but after some days the routine will become familiar and the child will be more willing to follow it).
This will allow you to have fewer things to do in the morning and to be able to focus more on your child. (these are some ideas of what you could do in advance: choosing your clothes for the next day, choosing your child’s clothes, planning what you’ll have for breakfast, getting the child’s backpack ready)
This will help him to be prepared for the next day. When we first implemented the morning checklist, I used to speak with Bogdan the night before about each task on the list and this was really useful because in the morning he already knew what he has to do.
A child who hasn’t slept enough will certainly be in a bad mood in the morning, so it’s important to get to bed in time every night. Getting enough sleep as a mother of a young child is much more complicated, but at least we can let go of some of the tasks we do after the child falls asleep to be able to get more rest.
I used to be very lazy in the morning and I wanted to take advantage of every minute of sleep I could get, but when I made this change I realized that it’s really great! Getting up before your child allows you to have some quiet time in the morning, to drink a coffee and to have a good start of the day! If you have some more time, you can also prepare the breakfast before your child gets up and this will save some time.
We usually tend to hurry the children in the morning to be sure we get things done on time, but this makes them feel disconnected with us and this sometimes leads to some negative behaviors that delay us even more. Allowing you to have some time for cuddling with your child in the bed after he wakes up is a wonderful way to start the day, so it is totally worth to set the alarm 5 minutes earlier every morning and to use that time for connecting with your child. He will be more willing to follow the routine if he feels connected with you!
Given a lot of instructions all morning long is probably not the best way to make your child follow the schedule and this will probably become annoying for everyone. Instead, I discovered that if I ask Bogdan for help and I explain to him that I need him to do something quickly to be able to get out on time, he is really receptive and happy to help!
For me, it was really hard to remain calm when I was late, but I realized that taking a break and reconnecting with the child when he is not willing to follow the schedule is much more effective than constantly hurrying him. So, I just take a moment to sit down with him and discuss what’s happening (or just hug him) and after this break, things run much more smoothly for the rest of the morning.
This idea really helped us! A morning checklist allows the child to see what tasks he has to do in the morning and the fact that he follows the same routine every day makes the mornings more predictable and easier to handle for him. The checklist contains the list of the main tasks your child needs to complete in the morning (for young kids it’s better to use pictures that allow them to visualize the tasks). You just need to display the list in the house and to guide your child to follow it every morning. In time, you can encourage your child to take ownership of the tasks. This way he will gain more independence and you will be able to focus more on the tasks you need to complete every morning.
Having a morning checklist really makes a difference and I recommend you to try it! You will no longer need to remind your child what he has to do and after you test the routine for some days you will be able to allow him to make things at his own pace. If you like this idea, you can download our morning checklist printable by following the below steps.
If the morning runs smoothly for everyone and you even get to enjoy it, your day will begin in a lot happier way and you will feel this boost of energy throughout the day, so setting an effective morning routine is a great thing to do! I hope that these tips will work for you too and that your child will enjoy the morning checklists I’ve created! 🙂
Here is an article with some additional tips for creating a successful morning routine, from AHA Parenting: Getting Your Child Out the Door In the Morning.
The printable contains 4 pages with 2 models of morning checklists: two of them are already filled in with text and picture and two of them have blank boxes where you can add your own texts (you can use them for older kids; you just need to write the tasks in each box and the checklist is ready 🙂 ). You can print the model you like most and display it in your home.
To download the printable you just need to enter your email address below. This will give you access to the Playful Notes community where you will find a lot of other ideas and our full printable collection. I hope you will enjoy it!