Frustrated with Morning Routines?

Schedules. I know. As a parent of small children or even school age children, we cringe when we hear the word. It seems impossible to bend those little wills to co-operate and stay on a schedule. And then, we all know, we feel like failures, slaves to this impossible task master, Schedule.  As a homeschooling parent you may not think we use a schedule, but a good working routine is key to homeschool.  So how do we do we get everything done before we have to leave or start school?

First of all, after reading Positive Discipline: The Classic Guide to Helping Children Develop Self-Discipline, Responsibility, Cooperation, and Problem-Solving Skills I learned that Children need to do something to contribute to the household before breakfast. So a morning act of kindness or morning job was added to our routine. We also have our children say prayers, make their beds, get dressed, pick up their room, and have a ten minute scrpiture-study. Then we have breakfast and do the dishes. Thus we have the house mostly in order before we start our lessons. 

I quickly saw the benefits of  requiring jobs before breakfast.  Breakfast was at a set time and only available for a certain amount of time. Then we just had to say “When your routine is done you may eat breakfast.”  This helped a lot, but I had a hard time dealing with the sadness of  someone not getting breakfast. I saw a lot of time being wasted still.  So how could I eliminate the waste of such a precious asset?

As I observed my children I realized that they were getting distracted while picking up their room, or while walking from job to job. Now some parents don’t want to remind their children to get jobs done and then just let them suffer the consequences.  But I for one appreciate a reminder when I get distracted, and believe that we help our children succeed when they have an occasional, appropriate reminder. So how could I remind and refocus my children without nagging?

I tried timers, but children have no concept of time. If they are too hot or bored and you have them wait for something, a minute feels like an hour. If they are having fun being distracted, they are shocked when their timer rings. So they needed something that helped them know how quickly time was passing.

A neighbor friend gave me the answer. She had come across a musical morning routine. Check it out here:

This “game” really changed how my kids got through each morning.  After a couple years the music became old, and we also had some other things we wanted done in the morning, so we decided to try making our own.  We made a list of things we wanted to have accomplished in the morning.  Then we took a few days and timed how long it took for each thing to get done. Then we found songs that the kids liked listening to and assigned a task or two to each song.  Then we let the kids listen to it and told them what each song was for. The next morning we turned it on after prayer and they started their jobs! They would come running in occasionally to ask what they were supposed to be doing in this song.  When we gathered for breakfast we took a minute and inspected all their work, and asked what they read in scriptures. Wow! In roughly thirty minutes they had all their work done and were ready to eat! We kept the musical routine going through breakfast and dishes.

Now, it doesn’t always work like that. I have to do an inspection everyday and make sure they are done before they get breakfast. If they aren’t, they have to go finish while we start eating. But it is a great tool for getting the day started on a good foot!

I hope this helps you in your Daily Life!