Trying to establish morning routines without aggravation…
Getting the kids up in the morning has never been a problem. They are up by 5:30 am every day. This is great for weekdays, not so great for weekends when you hope to sleep in a bit. We don’t even set our alarm clocks any more, they are that attuned.
Getting the kids ready for school and ourselves ready for work and out the door on time is not so easy. Everything has been a real struggle, from getting them dressed to convincing them to eat breakfast. At 3 and 4 years old, they only want to play, which is understandable.
So, with their birthdays looming upon us, I decided we needed to change tactics and turned to one of my favorite online obsessions – Pinterest. What responsibilities can and should we expect of each of our children? Is it too early to start a list of chores? an allowance? The plethora of information found is both inspiring and overwhelming. I finally came across a pin from the blog My Name is Snickerdoodle that seemed perfect. It was easy to make and easy to use. As the kids finish each morning routine, they simply flip up each tab to read “Done”. I made one for each child, sat them down and together we talked about what routines we have to do each morning in order to make it to work and school each morning. As an incentive, I decided to add that they could earn 25 cents a week if they did their without complaining. They liked the idea of getting money each week for their piggy banks and agreed easily.
These are the five morning routines I expect them to do everyday, without complaint:
- Get dressed.
- Make bed.
- Eat breakfast.
- Brush teeth.
- Put on shoes
Day One – The kids eagerly started their routines and flipped up each one to read “Done” as soon as they finished. It soon became very competitive. Who could flip up all five responsibilities first? I had to leave for work as they were eating breakfast, but their Lola (Filipino for grandmother) reported that they finished breakfast without argument and brushed their teeth and put on shoes in record time. When I returned from work that afternoon, they were so excited to show me that they had flipped up everything.
Day Two – The kids were not quite as enthusiastic as the first day and I almost despaired that the novelty had already worn off. My older child needed a couple of reminders that the jobs needed to be done without argument in order to earn 25 cents at the end of the week. However, once he flipped up the first responsibility, he got more excited about doing the rest.
Of course, the younger child was not about to be outdone. As soon as the older one announced that he had flipped up the second one, she switched into high gear. She got dressed and made her bed in record time. For her, everything she does involves a song and dance, and I mean literally she has to sing and dance about while you wait with increasing impatience and try to keep her moving along. This time, she showed some will power and withheld on the improv performance about her life. After two bites of her cereal, though, she declared herself full and was off to flip up the third before her brother. Luckily, I intercepted her and sent her back to the table to finish.
Day Three – So, today was a little trickier because the kids had pajama day at school. Try convincing your kids to put on fresh pajamas to go to school… not so easy. Once we flipped up the first job, they set about making their beds and I left to pack the lunches and make breakfast. A few minutes later, my younger one came in and announced that she was done making her bed. But I discovered when I was preparing to leave for work that she did not even touch her bed. Soooo… we had to have a talk about not telling the truth… which made me a little late for work. It’s ok, some things are more important, right?
Days Four, Five, and Six – The rest of the week went pretty smoothly. I had a few complaints, but generally, they were more willing to get the routines done than ever before. And I purposely did not remind them about the 25 cents at the end of the week. I didn’t want the money to be the only reason they did their chores, Flipping up the chart seemed to be satisfactory enough for them and I want to try and keep it that way. It’s like crossing off your to-do list. It’s giving them a sense of accomplishment. So on Day 7 when I presented them with 25 cents, they were ecstatic.
Two weeks in and I think we forgot to do the chore chart one day (it was a weekend day, we were taking it a little easy). Otherwise, it is still working pretty well. Next up, I ‘m going to come up with the afternoon/evening routines and . I don’t want to overwhelm them with too many, so I need to think about this a bit. I’ll keep you updated on how this goes.