A positive morning routine creates habits that foster self-care and helps people cope with experiences such as change, stress and mental health in a confident way. It promotes health, happiness, and gives you a sense of overall fulfillment, which sets you up for a successful day.
This works for our kids too. Being organised in the morning and having a routine for your kids will support them in knowing what’s expected of them, what’s happening and what they need to do next.
Having a schedule with reminders that list regular activities and afternoon appointments is a great place to start, however meeting their mental and emotional needs should form part of the routine too.
The following 6 steps and strategies are ideal in nurturing a positive morning routine for your kids:
1. Wake Up Early and Have Me-Time.
Start your morning 15-20 minutes earlier than the rest of the house. This can be a cushion for any unexpected hiccups, or time to yourself prior to the hustle of the morning. Having a morning coffee, meditating, or simply doing something for yourself can be a gamechanger when it comes to your own mental health and self-care. It will give you the added energy you’ll need to maintain your own routine, while keeping on top of theirs. Setting yourself up with a positive mindset to take on your tribe will mean that the morning routine will be less stressful.
2. Reconnect With Your Kids.
When it’s time to wake up your kids, they will be much more likely to follow routine and take direction if you’ve connected with them first. Spend some time reconnecting your bond after a good night’s sleep. This can be things like spending 5 minutes snuggling, talking about any dreams you had, sharing some meditative breathing, or simply walking to the kitchen together holding hands.
3. Be Organised the Night Before.
Organization is key to success and part of this is getting things partially ready the night before. Packing lunches, having clothes laid out, homework completed and a plan for breakfast can set you up to breeze through your morning routine.
Being organized the night before is also about ensuring your child gets the best night sleep. Make sure they go to bed on time and any stimulating activities, such as playing devices, are not used prior to winding down for the night. Playing calming music, saying some positive affirmations together and connecting prior to sleep can help your child to slow down and fall asleep peacefully.
4. Delegate and Give Incentives.
For younger kids, often parents will do most of the routine themselves, but as they grow older, it’s important that you delegate these tasks to foster independence and build on new skills. Start by having them put their clothes on for the day by themselves, and slowly increase the tasks to include making their own breakfast and cleaning up after themselves. You may need to keep an eye on them or remind them to stay on task at times, and if this is the case, often creating incentives can help.
If your child is grumpy in the mornings, doesn’t like school, or just isn’t motivated to leave the house, try creating some incentives. Allowing your child time on a device, reading a book, playing games, or watching television after they are ready is a good incentive to have them ready on time. Make sure that you wake up earlier so that they get extra time to enjoy the incentive.
5. Don’t Stress at Breakfast.
While a healthy breakfast is always recommended, it’s not always possible. Arguing with your child over what they want for breakfast can really put pressure on you and your positive morning routine. Try having several options available for them to choose between. Not only will this strengthen their decision-making skills, but it will also eliminate less than ideal decisions. The night before, ask your child what they want for breakfast. This is a great way to uphold your routine in the morning. Spending some time during the night talking about the importance of a healthy breakfast is a great way to encourage them to pick options that are high in protein and less sugary.
6. Create a Checklist and Set the Stage
Trying to remember everything that needs doing during your routine can be challenging, especially if you have more than one kid. Try creating a checklist that can be ticked off in the morning as they get done. This can start off as a strategy for you and as your kids become more independent, they can take over ticking off the list. Such things as brush your hair, get dressed, eat breakfast etc are easy to follow instructions and ticking off ‘to-do’ lists can feel rewarding for them too.
For those that struggle to stay on task or aren’t interested in the checklist, why not try some impactful ways to create positive associations with the morning routine. Engage your child’s five senses by playing soft music in the morning, lighting a candle, or turning on an oil diffuser to lift their mood. Making eye contact with them regularly, holding hands often, or saying aloud some positive affirmations can encourage them to continue their routine and get ready on time.
Often implementing a morning routine that sticks can take time and patience. You may have to make changes that adapt to your growing kids until you find what works. There is no right or wrong way to do this, it simply takes perseverance and consistency to form the habits. Starting your day off with some time to yourself will refresh you and give you the energy you need to be organized and delegate tasks. Setting yourself up for success starts the night before and creating a checklist that you can all follow will keep them on task.
Give your kids clear and direct instructions and follow up with praise. Try creative methods that encourage positive links with the morning routine. This type of positive attention can boost the behaviour you want to see, rather than focusing on the arguing, whinging, and delay that often accompanies the madness of the morning.