Morning Routines and Other Disasters
Linda Wechter-Ashkin Ph.D NCSP BC-TMHC ADHD CCSP
One of the biggest things that parents come to me complaining about is the morning routine. There are 3 school-aged children, 2 working parents, and everybody has to get where they are going on time. Often by the time the kids get to school they are unfed, crying, half dressed, and oops they forgot their homework on the counter. Mom and dad are late for work, overwhelmed, and facing another stare down by their boss for their tardiness. I have a solution. It is not easy, and it will take practice, but if you do it consistently it will work.
- I highly suggest you start by practicing the morning routine first during the summer, on the weekend, or during a holiday from work and school.
- Sit down as parents and decide what needs to be accomplished for everybody to get where they are going on time and how long each task realistically takes.
- First figure out who has to be where and when. If you are a single parent, you know who it all falls on but if there are 2 parents in the household divide and conquer.
- Create a list of the morning routine for each person including the adults. Decide what things can be done the night before such as making lunches, packing backpacks, starting the coffee maker, and picking out clothes
- Decide how long each activity takes so you can decide what time each person needs to wake up. By the time your child is in middle school they should be responsible for getting themselves up. Get them an alarm clock preferably one like Clocky that jumps off the table and screams until they get out of bed.
- Make a morning schedule for each person
- Decide on rewards for completing the morning routine on time and consequences for failing to do so.
- Again, this will take practice, so I suggest drills done on days where time is not a factor.