Hack your child’s morning routine to get out the door on time

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Step into almost any home on a weekday morning and I bet you catch at least a little rushing around. Sometimes A LOT of rushing around.

I don’t care how much you prepare it doesn’t always go right.

There are days that everything goes smoothly, but then there are a lot more days when something or everything is amiss. Be sure to check out 5 steps for reducing chaos in the morning for other tips

When Cassidy was three years old we were having a lot of difficulty in the mornings.

At that time Brian was working days and commuting an hour to work. He was gone by 6:45 and we were out of the house not long after at 7. It made for chaotic mornings. Cassidy has always been an early riser (and I mean early- 5:30) and she loves watching television in the morning. You can judge me, but her watching television allowed us time to get ready without having to entertain a 3 year old.

The only problem was that she would watch television and then zone out and not get ready. We would end up raising our voices and saying hurry up way too many times.

“Hurry up and get dressed. Hurry up and brush your teeth. We’re going to be late. You’re taking too long.”

We would get frustrated with her and she would get upset with us. It made for a bad start to the morning.

I’m not proud of how those mornings went. I’m a rush around and get things done person, but Cassidy is a slow moving enjoy the world kind of person. I love that about her, but it also has been the source of much frustration for this fast-moving mom. God definitely gave me the right children to teach me patience.

So after way too many frustrating mornings Brian came up with the solution.

I’m not sure where he got this idea, but in my book he’s a genius. He made a morning chart for Cassidy. We laminated it and got a dry erase marker for her. This way she knew what she needed to do every morning before she could watch television. She still got to watch television, but not until the other items were done.

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It was amazing. What a change it made in our lives.

She still continued to get up early, but she followed the chart, watched television and was ready to go when we were. If she got up later and there wasn’t time for television it was what it was—but that was rare.

This was years ago and we no longer need the chart for Cassidy. She still does all of those things, but doesn’t need the chart to remind her. I imagine we’ll be making a new one for her sister soon.

If you have an early riser try making a chart of their morning tasks. You coud also set things out they could do when they wake up.

I know some parents that have specific toys that are set out specifically for mornings. That is the only time they are out—it makes them more enticing.

If you have the opposite problem from us and your child(ren) wake up late you may want to talk to them about how much time it takes them to get ready and making a time chart for them. Honestly, I wonder what it would be like to have children that sleep in (both of our kids thinking sleeping in is 6:30, if we’re lucky).

If your child is older (3 and above) you will want to incorporate them into the making of a chart.

They will have more ownership over the chart and will be more likely to stick to it if they helped to make it. For an early riser this might be deciding what the morning tasks are and what they get to do when they are all done. For a late riser this will be deciding the tasks and setting time goals to accomplish them in order to leave on time. I suggest starting from the time you must leave (buffer it by 5-10 minutes) and doing things in reverse order to ensure enough time.

You may want to offer an incentive. For example, if you can stick to your chart for “x” number of days you will earn “y.” You decide what type of incentive would work in your family.

Making this morning chart took about 15 minutes from start to finish and it saved us hours of frustration both on our part and Cassidy’s over the last couple of years.

Just remember to include your child in the creation of the chart if you want it to be successful.

If you try this out, please let me know if it works for your family.



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