Improve the Morning Routine for Kids

Before kids, I was pretty prompt.
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There were occasions when I was a little late to something, but it wasn’t the norm. I knew how much time I needed to get ready and I was out the door. Sadly, things have changed. And, I have no shame in blaming my children on my incessant tardiness.

My son needs to be at Pre-Kindergarten at 9:30 in the morning. This is a good starting time, you might think. Not too early, not too late. Most kids start school MUCH earlier, so I figured our mornings would be a little more relaxed. I was wrong.

It seems that even though we don’t need to be out the door early, mornings can be a struggle to get all of us out on time. The routine is always the same, but between waking up, breakfast, and getting dressed and ready, it is like a race against the clock. There are times when we do a good job of getting ready, but inevitably something happens that hampers our efforts; a last minute diaper change for my daughter, difficulty putting our shoes on, or possibly the slowest moving children you have ever seen. Something about the early hours makes certain people (i.e. my children) complete tasks as if they are in S-L-O-W motion. It may sound entertaining, but I assure you, it is not. I hate being late.

I know that my son doesn’t like to be late to school and I was so embarrassed that I was that mom that brought him after starting time on a consistent basis. It wasn’t only that we were late all the time, but I was losing my patience and not being a very pleasant Mommy. I felt like our mornings were just stressful and angry and I didn’t like dropping him off after having had such a frustrating time at home.

So, we decided to change things up a bit. Mornings needed to be more fun and less maddening for all of us. One day I created a checklist for my five-year old so that he could check things off as he finished them. This way he could accomplish tasks throughout the morning and know that when all the boxes were checked off, we were ready. I wasn’t sure if it would be successful, but he LOVED it. The morning went smoothly and he felt proud of himself that he had checked off all of his boxes and was on time! Not to mention, I didn’t have to nag. Win-win!

His checklist looked a little like this:

  • Use restroom/wash hands
  • Have breakfast
  • Put PJs in hamper
  • Get dressed
  • Brush teeth
  • Wash face
  • Put on shoes
  • Put on coat
  • Get backpack and lunch
  • Go to school!

I was amazed at how this affected our morning routine. I’m hoping we can get this down to a science before Kindergarten next year. Wish me luck.

How do you make your morning routine smooth and efficient?