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How to Establish a Morning Routine for Children by Guest Blogger Natalie Fullmer
When I was growing up as a teenager in the suburbs of Pittsburgh, I struggled with keeping my room clean. To give you an idea of how lazy I was, my mother would fold my clean clothes and put them on my bed. Instead of putting them away, I’d push the clothes over on one side and sleep on the other. Thinking back on it, I’m surprised she didn’t kick me out of the house at 18!
Since then, the Lord has changed me and I’ve had to ask my mother to forgive me for my apathy. After my kids were born, I vowed to teach them good habits. I wanted routines to be automatic and stress-free for my children. My goal today is to share with you the whys and how to establish a morning routine for your children. It takes consistency and tenacity, but if you patiently work with them on a daily basis, I guarantee lifelong habits.
Here are some tips on getting started with crafting the perfect routine for your family.
Determine the best time for your kids to wake up based on YOUR routine.
I homeschool my children and work from 5:40 am to 8:10 am teaching Chinese students. 9 am is the earliest we can get started. This small amount of time allows me to unload dishes, throw a load of laundry in the washer, and eat my breakfast. I recommend waking up at least 30 minutes before your children. Otherwise, you’ll be scrambling to get tasks completed while they are distracting you with their needs.
Establish a nighttime routine for everyone.
A nighttime routine is equally important as a morning routine. Here’s a great post on how to set up a bedtime routine. It sets the tone for the day ahead. Make sure everyone neatly lays out their clothes for the next day and items on the floor are picked up. If your room is messy when you wake up, motivation tends to be a struggle! When the house is picked up and neat in appearance, it’s so much easier to get moving without making excuses for more sleep.
Write out a simple, reasonable chart based on their age.
When my kids were younger before school age, I had a small blackboard in their room with only three items on the list. They are in the double digits now so it’s part of their homeschool schedule. Simplistic is the answer so there are no excuses. There are only 4 items to do before breakfast. Here it is:
- Read Bible
- Get Dressed
- Make Bed
- Brush Hair/Teeth
Create an award system.
If my kids complete their morning tasks, they get to eat! Find ways to reward your child whether its a high five, a kind word, or a treat. We all need to feel appreciated and encouraged!
Give them a break from their daily routine.
Give the kids off one day a week from their typical routines or help them with some of their chores. On Sundays, I make their beds and try to find other ways to serve my children. They need a break too from a routine just like we do. You can also add a little note of encouragement or a special treat on their bed for an extra touch!
Examine routines after a week or two.
Determine whether your routine is working and make tweaks as necessary. I used to have more steps with my children’s list but found hunger pains were distracting them. Make it reasonable based on age and maturity. You can always add more steps later.
I am hopeful this list gives you a great start on how to establish a morning routine for your children. Studies suggest it takes at least 21 days to establish a new habit. So, hang in there and reevaluate each week to determine if some tweaking is necessary!
Remember, if you feel frustrated and discouraged, don’t give up! If there’s hope for me, there’s hope for anyone! Pray for patience and discernment as you lead your little ones to their future. Discipline and routines are key to a successful life if the right habits are established!
The secret of your future is hidden in your routine. ~ Mike Murdock
Natalie Fullmer is married with two children. After leaving her IT career in the healthcare industry, she decided to stay home full-time and homeschool both children. She works part-time as a Virtual Assistant and teaches English to Chinese children. Natalie is also a proud member of Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR). She also writes for Homeschooling with Heart Blog and part of the Homeschool Review Crew. Besides homeschooling, her passions include raising animals on her mini farm, reading non-fiction, gardening, learning the latest tech, and sharing her minimalist approach with other homeschool moms on her blog at http://contentwithsimple.com. Favorite bible verse for encouragement is Philippians 4:13.
For more on routines for saving time and stress, check out this previous post.