Mornings are not my thing and my daughter feels the same way. So getting ready for the day has, more often than I care to admit, been incredibly challenging.
One thing that helped our family was making a Morning Routine Checklist. One day, when Pumpkin and I were both in a good mood (not in the morning 🙂 ), we sat down and brainstormed a list of all the things she needs to do before it’s time to leave for childcare, and very soon, school.
There are some really cool “Pinterest-worthy” checklist templates out there, but personally I prefer the idea of working with Pumpkin to make our own. If she’s involved as much as possible in deciding what goes on the checklist and creating it, then hopefully she will be more likely to actually complete the tasks.
So here are the easy-peasy steps to make your very own DIY Morning Routine Checklist:
- Get some colourful markers or crayons, scissors, glue and paper.
- Get the kid in question (when they are happy, fully fed and well rested).
- Ask your child, “what do you need to do in the morning to get ready for the day?” (Morning routines need to be taught.) You might need to do a little coaching to help them get all the tasks on the list, but it is very important they feel empowered.
- Write the suggestions down.
- Once you are satisfied, look over your list together and decide what order to put them in. Try to limit the tasks on the checklist to no more than 5.
- Together write out “The Checklist.” Involve your child as much as possible. Let them choose the colours of each word, cut out photos from magazines or fliers or even draw each item. (Your drawings my not quite look like the real thing, but I figure if we work on it together, then hopefully she’ll remember what it’s supposed to be!).
- Proudly hang it up somewhere they can see it every day.
- Notice and praise every time they look at the list and follow it: “I like how you checked your list and brushed your teeth!”
It’s okay if your child needs help to complete their tasks. Help them to break the task down, “What’s the first thing we do to get dressed? Yes, take off our pajamas!”
Bonus points if your child can get some of these things checked off the list the night before! Like choosing clothes and packing the bag. I’m all for anything that saves us a little time in the mornings.
It took 10 minutes to make Pumpkin’s checklist. This simple thing has really helped us both stay on track in the mornings. Now I can ask Pumpkin “what do you need to do to get ready” and remind her to check her list if she can’t remember. This morning she counted her completed tasks on her fingers and when she got to 5, we high-fived! She was very proud of herself. Our mornings aren’t perfect but I’m seeing more cooperation from her and I’m really enjoying not having to nag!
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