Ever had one of those mornings when no one was dressed and no teeth had been brushed by 11 a.m.? Have you ever thought, “How am I going to teach these kids responsibility if they can’t even remember to put their shoes in the closet?” Believe me, I have too. In fact, nearly EVERY day was like that until we started this morning routine for kids.
Why You Need a Morning Routine for Kids
I had never been much of a clingy-helicopter type of mom. It’s always been my goal that my children would take responsibility, learn independently, and thrive as a result. Through many years in the classroom, I became fully convinced that children learn better when given the tools and resources. They learn better when we as parents don’t hover, allowing them space to figure some things out.
But I found myself floundering as a parent. How do we accomplish this “independent” thing? Should we just throw our kids in the “deep end” of responsibility and hope they learn to swim before they drown?
Of course not. They need our direction and guidance. They just don’t need our micromanaging of every detail of their lives. So the answer is simple. Like everything else in life, it’s a gradual and intentional process. For our family, this begins with the morning checklist.
A Morning Routine for Kids that Teaches Responsibility
I created a really simple checklist that we print off and slip it into a page protector. Each day, my children mark off each task with a dry erase marker as they go through the steps.
Step 1: Time with God
We use the quiet time journal for morning devotions. The journal rotates through 4 different study pages, giving them a variety of ways to study various passages. We typically work our way through a book of the Bible as a family. I will write an assigned passage in the blank most days and the child fills in their quiet time journal sheet.
Spending time in God’s Word is a great habit that they can start developing at a young age. It can start of short and simple and then over the years progress to something more in-depth. Having a daily reminder about the importance of God’s Word is a simple step towards independence.
Step 2: Breakfast and clean-up
If you’ve been around this blog long, you know that the idea of “breakfast stations” saved my life. All 4 of my kids can prepare their own breakfast with the food I’ve prepped ahead of time.
When the kids were young, I would spend spend one day prepping foods like muffins, energy balls, pre-portioned oatmeal, hard boiled eggs, etc. to last a couple of months. Now that they’re older, we work together to prep and freeze breakfast options. Then during the week the kids can choose one of the prepared items for a quick but healthy breakfast. After they eat, they’re then responsible for cleaning up their dishes. It saves time. It fosters independence. It keeps me from losing my mind over meal time. Win-win-win.
Maybe it wouldn’t take me a very long time to clean up breakfast dishes. But the goal is to teach kids that they have a responsibility with their space. They live in this home so they too need to play a role in keeping the space tidy. Establishing simple (but super helpful) systems in the home makes our lives that much easier as homeschoolers.
Step 3: Chores
My kids all have morning chores. They need to brush their hair and teeth, get dressed, and tidy their room. It should be pretty clean because we always do that before bed, but sometimes pj’s and such don’t get where they belong in the morning.
The last line in the chores section is for their daily chore zone. Usually it is not done in the morning, but we write it here as a reminder. Implementing chores is such an important thing for us to do as parents. Not only does it help keep our house clean (Can I get an “amen”?) it also teaches work ethic, builds a sense of loyalty to the family, and helps them learn to work for others.
Step 4: Keeping the right focus
The last step before beginning our school for the day is to make sure our focus is in the right place. I ask the question, “Who will you serve today?” The goal is to get my kids to think more about others than their own agenda for the day.
Of course, our kids are human like us. They need continual reminders to put others ahead of themselves, but writing it down is a great way to begin the day.
Step 5: Start school assignments
Once they’ve gotten their body, their space, and their soul ready for the day, it’s time to begin school!
It’s amazing how different their attitudes are when they take the time to start the day off right, rather than slipping into the day without purpose.
One day (sooner than we can believe!) our children will grow up and be sent out into this world. They will have roommates and possibly a spouse or kids, and if we want them to live responsibly in the future, then the teaching begins now.
It may sound simple, but simple is the best way to begin. When something is simple, momentum can build!
GET YOUR FREE MORNING ROUTINE FOR KIDS PRINTABLES:
In efforts to create simple ways to help us get our school day going well, I’ve created some free printables, including the morning checklist. You can get this and a few other “back to school” ideas – good for any point in the school year!
I pray that these free printables bless your family and help you to bless others this year. You can get the FREE printables by clicking on the image below.
Through practical tools & Bible-based resources, Kim Sorgius is dedicated to helping your family GROW in faith so you can be Not Consumed by life’s struggles. Author of popular kid’s devotional Bible studies and practical homeschooling tools, Kim has a master’s degree in education and curriculum design coupled with over 2 decades of experience working with kids and teens. Above all, her most treasured job is mother and homeschool teacher of four amazing kiddos.