Smart Morning Routine to Beat Morning Madness with Your Child
To give you a taste of weekday mornings at my house, I offer you the image of Prince Phillip fighting Maleficent as the gargantuan dragon in Sleeping Beauty. My house is full of night owls. Waking up any of us is a task I wouldn’t recommend to anyone. So having one of my kiddos start full day school (morning routine) has been about as bristley as slaying dragons. Kids that don’t want to wake up in the morning are incredibly resourceful when it comes to delay tactics and excuses. And when all else fails, tantrums work wonders, right? But frustrated and irritated is an awful way for anyone to start the day off and when you’re working with reluctant children, that’s exactly what both parties end up feeling. And that frustration and grouchiness spills over into all the tasks they have to complete to get ready for school.
Morning Routine Madness Tips
Here are a few morning routine tips and thoughts to help take the edge off that morning madness.
It kills me to start with this one because this is the piece of advice I hate to hear. I’m a night owl myself and I tend to fly by the seat of my pants when it comes to scheduling things. But there really is no better option than making sure our kiddos are getting enough rest. And to ensure that, we have to supply them with a bedtime routine that will get them wound down and asleep with enough time to give them the rest they need. This is a tough one with night owl children, especially if you’re a night owl yourself. This is its own topic, but schedules are a massive part of training the mind and body that it’s time to wind down and sleep. Right now we’re trying a schedule with points. Each task completed by the allotted time earns a morning routine point that can be used to redeem something fun or exciting at the end of the week. We have to switch up tactics on a regular basis as they grow tired of them.
And I’m not talking about the attitude adjustment I’m sure you feel your reluctant child needs. I’m talking about one for us. It’s hard to keep a level head when you’re faced with a situation that would be so much easier with a little cooperation and all you receive is resistance, grumpiness and whining. In these situations, as well as most frustrating situations, we have to watch the tone and attitude we use when we approach the situation. If you can shift and start the morning routine off chipper or even just peaceful rather than walking in the room with your boxing gloves on, hopefully you can catch them enough off guard to get their attention. Because just like when you walk in with those gloves, they’re lying in bed with theirs on waiting to take a swing. Sometimes these situations may even require you reduce yourself to humor or plain silliness. I went in one morning belting out the words to “Do You Want to Build a Snowman?” I conveniently forgot the words a few lines in and my little girl couldn’t resist waking up to correct me and fill in the blanks. Humor in situations that your children expect a fight will always elicit a response and in most cases a positive one. We have to remember that when we’re unhappy with a situation, it doesn’t matter if you’re super mom (or dad), the only thing we can actually change is ourselves. If we handle the situation better, hopefully our children will follow suit.
Talk to Them
I guess I’m chalk full of Disney references this time around. Insert the song “Mother Knows Best” from Tangled. Admit it, this phrase or attitude has popped up from time to time. It’s all too easy to get caught up thinking we know what’s best or that our vision of how things should operate is the only one. But believe it or not, our kids are as chalk full of good ideas as I am of Disney references today. And make sure to let them make some of the decisions. Let them tell you what they need out of the morning routine to make it run smoothly for them. Getting them involved makes it a co-op and they have a chance to feel like their input is needed and valued. They’re also intelligent little beings. If you explain your side of things in a calm environment, they’re likely to understand and give your point-of-view some level of credence.
This one is huge. Every child has a different system of motivation. Some children are self-motivated (be grateful if you have one of these). Some are motivated by rewards. Recognition turns the wheels for others. And some are just motivated by the desire to do the right thing. What things motivate your child are unique to them. Figuring out what motivates them and implementing it into your morning routine can make night and day difference. My daughter is all about the rewards which is why we are using the points system for bedtime and for getting ready in the morning (it’s been working wonders for us so far). She needs a motivation other than just being on time. The idea of getting a treat or a fun activity out of it makes cooperation worth her time. Hopefully one day good grades or sense of accomplishment will take the place of sugar and Redbox movies, but until then, it’s getting her where she needs to be without all the fuss.
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