Over the last few weeks I have seen a lot of posts on Facebook asking “How do I get my kid to follow a morning routine that will get them out of home on time so I am not late for work?” As a professional life coach for kids, I have to admit that I have seen a great amount of advice—and a lot of them are really wise.
However, in this article I just want to highlight my experience as a kids coaching expert and a dad of two (10 and 8 years) who has gone through the same.
Let’s start with the basics. Getting out of bed and out of home is annoying for a lot of us. It doesn’t matter if we are kids or adults. My wife moans every day that she doesn’t want to go to the office.
Another important bit to consider is that the morning routine, especially when we have very young children/toddlers, is our routine not theirs. In all fairness, they can’t be bothered if we are late for work or if they are 5 minutes late for nursery.
A third point to consider is that children want to spend time with their parents. If that time is spent in laughter and playfulness, even better. However, if the choice is between not having mum/dad and having them grumpy they will always choose to have grumpy parents.
Finally, as a kids coaching expert, I will like to bring your attention to what I said in 3 paragraphs above; children will mirror a lot of our behaviour and emotions. That’s probably why my youngest daughter says “I don’t feel like going to school today”, some days. Perhaps, it is because her mom do it sometimes.
Let me sumarize all we have said so far as if I was a 2-3 years old kid:
They asking me to get ready quickly for something I don’t care much and that means I won’t see them today, also mum doesn’t like it…. why should I do it?
Result: We get stressed, probably raise our voice or tone (don’t think for a second that those “honey” “sweet heart” or “champion” said under duress trick them) and the rest, well you know all of that.
In Setting Morning Routines we have to lead by example
The solution: Change the game by starting to enjoy yourself in the morning. First and foremost, make it interesting and fun for yourself. If you are having fun, chances are they will have fun as well and play along.
Using my professional kids coaching senses, I can hear some of you saying, “Yeah right, easily said than done”. However, the fact is that it all starts with you, your moods and emotions. The tips below apply to you as much as to your children.
1. Give yourself time:
Sacrificing 15 minutes of sleep can make a massive difference when looking for the other shoe under the bed. A successful morning routine requires that everyone needs to make some sort of sacrifice.
2. Plan it in advance and with them:
Pack the bags, prepare the clothes, and let them make small decisions (“which socks do you want to wear?”). Let them be part of it (“can you please bring that bag so it’s ready for tomorrow?”). Also, let them figure out what’s missing in a playful way.
3. In the morning, make preparation playful and relaxed:
Through life coaching for children sessions, I have discovered that competitions work well for a limited amount of times. Subsequently, you may need to find other forms of motivation.
4. Rewards can also motivate children to participate in morning routines:
Ensure you reward (with words and gestures) good behaviours and ignore (or do your best to ignore) bad behaviours.
5. Add some novelty to the day, maybe stop in a shop or get them an unrequested treat:
Let them make decisions (“do we go right or wrong”). Enjoy the journey and make a mini adventure of it (“have you seen those daffodils?”), where did we see the yellow car yesterday? Can we find it again?
I personally loved the car journeys to school. My daughter has a great talent for dj’ing with Spotify. Thus, she would even choose the happy songs if she is in a bad mood.
As you can imagine, there will be better days than others. As a professional life coach for kids and parent, I have seen it all. Just stay with it, mainly because you enjoy it. Secondly, because you will be passing your mood and abilities to them.
Think on what parts of the routine they can start doing on their own. Can they pack their own bags? Prepare their snacks? When do you think they are ready to make their own beds? Consequently, they will accept responsibilities and thrive with them if they are handed down properly and constructively.
And if you were to remember only 3 things from this article here are my suggestions: 1) Make morning routine fun and enjoy it yourself 2) Reward positive behaviours 3) They can and want to do a lot more than we think.
I found other great stuff that you can do to kick start your morning routine. You can check them out HERE.
Have a lovely day
Javier Orti is an International Life Coach specialised in working with Parents and Children.