Yes, this is an article all about how you can set up a morning routine for kids that actually works! Seriously!! Because I have basically tried everything and this is the best option for us lazy parents who are not so keen on mornings.
Now, I am not a morning person. I prefer to take my time getting out of bed…and waking up…and talking to people. But that isn’t always the option when you have kids around. PLUS when they see me being all sluggish in the morning, they end up taking that on as well.
And with winter being the worst here in the midwest, I have gotten even slower in the mornings because my bed is just so warm. But we were ending up taking a long time to get moving in the morning.
So I researched (aka Google searched a bunch of morning routines) and tested out a bunch of ideas. From those ideas, I picked my favorite options that actually worked for us with the least amount of steps. Because, like I said earlier, mornings are not my thing. So I need easy and the least amount of work to complete, which is why I bring you…
The Lazy Parent’s Guide To Creating A Morning Routine For Kids
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Step One: Figure Out The Least Amount Of Things You Have To Do In The Morning
Like I said earlier, I am not a morning person, so all those articles about “waking up before the kids” just don’t work for me. But I felt like we were doing so much in the morning that there just wasn’t enough time for it all. That’s when I wrote down all the things I had been doing in the morning. After looking at that list, I started to cross off some things that ended up saving time!
So I want you to start by writing down only the things that have to get done in the morning. Anything that doesn’t need to happen on a weekday morning should get crossed off! For us, that ended up being cutting up fruits and veggies for lunch because I started to do that after I would go grocery shopping. (We do still pack our lunches in the morning because the kids don’t like it when their sandwiches are soggy, but all the food is prepped in done). That also ended up being me eating breakfast before I took the kids to school. I usually am not hungry first thing in the morning, but realized I was waiting until right before we had to leave to eat something. Now, I eat once I get back home, before I start working.
These little tweaks can easily make your morning routine for kids much smoother than trying to cram too much into a small window of time.
Step Two: Write Down What You Want Your Morning Routine For Kids To Look Like
Next step is to write down what you want the routine to look like. This means getting real clear on what needs to be done to get the morning going. I suggest taking your list of everything that has to get done and putting it onto a piece of paper. Maybe add a rough guess for how long each activity takes you. Let’s say packing lunches takes 5 minutes. Drinking coffee is 10 minutes. Letting the dog out is 2 minutes.
Total that up to see how long that will take. Then work backwards from when you need to be out the door. This will set you up for the time you have to get up in the morning. For us, I have to get up no later than 7:15. Anything later than that means we are late. And I do not want the reason we are late to school to be because of me!
Step Three: Create Visuals Around All That Needs To Be Done
Like anything else, you need to have visuals to get kids to move through their day. Think about at school. Kids have visuals that show them their schedule for the day or they have things written out. These are called “visual supports”. That just means that they are visually there to support them to complete their tasks. So, you need to use visual supports when creating a morning routine for kids. You can write down the list of all the things the kids have to do and they can check them off as they go. You can get my free visual checklist below. Print it off and laminate so the kids can take charge of their schedule.
We also use visual supports for packing backpacks. I laminated this so I could write on it with a dry erase marker. It is the perfect way to make the kids accountable for packing their backpacks. This just means it is one less thing you have to worry about when it comes time to leave for school.
Favorite Materials For Morning Routine For Kids Visuals
Step Four: Set Expectations For Yourself
The last thing you must do to create a morning routine for kids is to set a morning routine for yourself. This just means you need something in place along with your kids. What I ended up doing was creating a checklist for myself. All the things I do in the morning I wrote down on the list. Then I timed them out so I have a rough guide to follow. The guide looks something like this:
7:15- get out of bed
7:30- drink coffee and check lunches
7:45- breakfast for kids
8:00- get dressed
It is a loosey-goosey checklist, but it helps keep me on track in the morning. That way I don’t have to think. Now, I do add in a few other things in my checklist like drink my lemon water and make our bed. For the most part, this simple schedule keeps me moving since I just cannot move quickly in the morning.
More Morning Routine Ideas
So start by making a list of only the things you have to do in the morning. Remove anything that doesn’t need to be done in the morning so you can get out the door quickly. Then write it down and create visual supports. These visual supports are for both you and the kids. This way everyone will stay on track with your morning routine for kids.