If you are like me, school day mornings feel like a mad dash to the finish line of getting everyone where they need to go. A good day is when no one is in tears and everyone has clothes on (pajamas count!). By the time I get myself to work I am often exhausted, annoyed, and my hair is a hot mess.
But last year, I tried a truly revolutionary practice to help with my mornings with the kids (mine are now 4 and 2), and today I want to share it with you as we gear up to use it again this fall. Please know that this practice takes time and planning, but with your efforts (and your family’s effort) it has a big pay off!
Positive Discipline suggests creating a MORNING ROUTINE CHART for (and with) your kiddos. Here’s one way to roll it out:
- Gather needed supplies: camera or smart phone, poster board, glue, scissors, stickers, markers, and any other art/decorating materials.
- Plan a family meeting time with all members present and an hour or so of open time.
- Start by asking your kids, “Would you be willing to help us come up with a way to make mornings fun and easy?” Then create a list of things that need to get done before leaving in the morning (let your kids create this list, and chime in only at the end to add in anything they may have left out – you might say, “What about brushing our teeth? Should that be on the list?”)
- Once you have your list, have fun “pretending” to do all the things on the list, and take a picture of each one.
- Print out or develop your pictures (you might need to do these next steps at a different time, depending on the age and attention span of your family).
- Spend time creating a Morning Routine Chart. Glue the pictures on and decorate the chart – let your kids lead this part too. (Special note: Don’t make the same mistake I did the first time and try to push your agenda and/or your crafting abilities on the chart – this is their chart and they will have much more buy in if it is their creation).
- Use the Routine Chart as the “boss” – ask kids questions like, “What’s next on our morning routine chart?” or “What do you want to do next on the chart?” – instead of nagging.
- Try several “practice runs” before school starts to get ready. If you realize you need to add something, this will give you time.
- Go back and evaluate your routine chart regularly with your kids – how is this working? What do we want to add or take away?
- Go HERE to read more about different versions of routine charts.
Enjoy! And have a wonderful school year.