Managing the morning mayhem!
Kids love routine; now I’m pretty sure I’m not speaking for myself when I say so do parents. Especially the kind where our kids aren’t grumpy about it! The monotony of mornings is bad enough, let alone when you’re getting wound up by miniature versions of yourself in a strop. Everything works better with a kids morning routine!
Hands up who fancies something to take the weight off your shoulders. Yes, please!
A poem for mornings…
–> URGHHH <– That’s it!!
Do you feel like you’ve done a day’s work before you leave the house in the morning? Me too!
The hours between 6.30 am, and 8.30 am my house are the stuff of nightmares. There’s shouting, screaming, temper tantrums and I am sure if it were socially acceptable there would be wine!
A typical weekday morning in my house goes something like this. I drag myself out of bed around 5.30 am (yep, seriously). I do this to give myself enough time to wake up properly, purely, so I’m not a horrible person when the kids get up.
Wake the kids up around 6.45; sorry let me re-phrase that; I START to wake the kids up around 6.45. Waking them up usually takes until 7.15 – 7.30 ish. I’m getting just a little irritated by the time they slither out of bed.
Then it’s repeating yourself for the next hour with “get dressed,” “put your socks on,” “Why are your underpants still on the table”? All while trying to get breakfast made, breaking up fights and checking everybody has everything they need for school. At this point, I AM a horrible person!
At 8 am I am usually throwing half-dressed kids in the car finding missing shoes and in need of a couple of strong painkillers.
Can you relate?!
Make the kids morning routine fun
I love routine cards; whats more so do the kids. Kids with ASD or other mental health challenges often suffer from high levels of anxiety, so having a routine is crucial.
Routines let them know what’s expected of them and in what order. ASD kids are also usually super visual so having something they can see and interact with is going to take some of the pressure off in the morning.
I would say I can’t believe our routine is working so well, but truth be told, the key to getting kids to do the things you want them to is consistency. Pretty simple in theory, eh, the problem with kids is they don’t seem to be consistent at all.
These little serial offenders need routine. Setting up a system with which they have to comply and making it fun is one of the easiest ways to get them on board.
A routine is a set of step by step instructions or tasks that need to be completed to achieve a specific goal.
How our morning routine works
Our current system is an interactive, visual wall chart. Ice cream to be precise. Each of the kids has a cone and six scoops displaying specific tasks they need to complete to create their whole ice cream.
Each morning the kids’ race around getting things done so they can add the next scoop to the top.
It’s brilliant; I hardly have to get involved at all!
Now with any great routine, to keep it exciting, engaging and likely to continue, you’ll need a great reward system too. This post here explains rewards in more depth.
Why not try the kids morning routine ice-cream cards for yourself?
- Print out these pages here (much cooler updated version like above!) The best thing to do is laminate them.
- Cut out the shapes and grab some Blue-Tac and stick it on the back.
- Once they’re ready, in the morning the kids can assemble them.
- Sit the kids down and explain the cards to them, making it sound like a game. Be sure to let them know there will be rewards for anybody who completes their ice cream every day that week.
Cunning parenting tip: Rewards don’t have to cost money it could be something you’ve already planned to do. Just by telling the kids it is happening because they’ve done so well, turns it into a reward. Fancy that!
This post explains how to encourage good behaviour and self-respect with reward charts
The serious stuff from the psychologists
Experts say routines play an essential role in a child’s emotional, cognitive and social development. They help kids feel secure and comfortable and allow them to understand the expectations of their environment.
Routines can significantly reduce the frequency of behavioural problems.
An important thing to remember is when any routine is followed consistently it helps make life more predictable for children.
So with all this in mind and your cards ready to go here’s hoping there will be SOME calmer mornings on the horizon. Phew!
Something for the weekend –>Teach your kids kindness with this fun game
Something for you –> How to set goals you’ll actually achieve!