As soon as you become a parent you become aware of the importance of the word routine. Creating and maintaining various routines is very important for children; it is predictable and structured and it gives them a sense of safety they need so much in this world.
Of all our routines, one of the most important and challenging is the morning routine. This routine is equally important to us parents as it enables us to start the day in a calm and efficient way.
It is sure hard for some kids to stick to their routines but usually it is harder for the parents to make the change and stick with it. You want to make sure that we can consistently provide our children with the familiar routine. The good news is that a habit can be formed within 21 days, so the morning routine can be established during this short amount of time and be permanently sustained after six months.
Here are some points for you to consider when creating your family’s morning routine:
1. Visualize your ideal morning. Begin with wake up time and move through all the steps you and your family do so you can start your day calm, happy and on time.
2. Write down the steps and estimate the time or duration each step requires.
3. Be detailed in terms of what needs to be prepared in advance including what kind of help you need. Think about meals, after school dance bags, snacks for the car, do the kids need money for school programs, is everything signed and packed in school bags, etc… Think about what can be done the night before to ease the morning routine. Add all this to the list so you can divide the list and accomplish much of it the evening before.
4. Think briefly about all the bad mornings you have, identify what went wrong and make a list of it.
5. Go over this list and brainstorm by yourself and or with your partner some of the ways to make each one of them work.
6. Once you have a clear picture and a plan of your desired morning routine it is time to get your children involved as well. Start a discussion with your kids about what they would like the morning to look like or in other words what are their needs and preferences for the morning routine. It is important to understand that in order to get your kids engaged they have to be part of the process, or imposing a routine will not go so well. Once they have expressed their position you want to come up with a combined family plan for this routine where the rules and roles of each family member is crystal clear.
7. All the negotiations and discussions are to happen during that preparatory conversation and not in the morning. The key is that all the family members will have a very clear idea of the expectations regarding their involvement in the morning routine.
8. Fine-tune and alter the plan as you go if needed, remember flexibility wins.
Here are some do’s and don’ts regarding the morning routine I would love to share:
|1. Time it in a way that you won’t be late and stressed – wake up 5 minutes earlier.
2. Make sure you are ready before you start with the kids.
3. Hang a big poster with the routine details on the fridge or the wall so everybody can see it.
4. Rehearse with your children about the routine just before bed time.
5. Communicate a change in the routine well in advance.
6. Support your children in creating the habit of choosing their clothes, organizing their school bags and homework the night before.
7. Keep a firm bedtime so they are not too tired in the morning.
8. You may want to play energetic music in the mornings to create the right type of ambience.
|1. Avoid turning on the TV, computer or video game on.
2. Don’t change the routine in the middle of the morning.
3. Don’t let the fact that you might be late stress you out or make you yell at the kids. Remember if you are going to be late it won’t matter if you are stressed or irritated– so ask yourself: “Does it serve me to role model to my kids this behaviour?”