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3 min read

Mornings with children can be tough. They have their agenda and you have yours... more often than not, your priorities aren't the same.

It's not that our children are trying to make things difficult for us in the morning, they just want a chance to do the things that are important to them.

And, while there's no simple and easy solution to morning routines, there are a few things you can do to engage your child's cooperation and "get you all on the same team":

1. Make a Visual Schedule

We have a free printable set of routine cards or a set you can purchase.

You can also make a set with actual photos of your child/your home.

Once you have your routine cards, put them up in a place that your family can review together in the mornings. I keep ours on the fridge.

When you decide on the order of the routine, it's a good idea to give your child as much autonomy and choice as possible. For example:

  • Do you want to get dressed before or after breakfast?
  • Which shirt do you want to wear?
  • What do you want to eat for breakfast?

Children respond better when they feel like they’re an invited participant. Let them choose which order to do the steps in, no one likes it when they feel like things are being done to them and they don’t have a say.

2. Wake Up Just a Little Bit Earlier

The #1 key to a peaceful Montessori morning routine is time. Give your child as much time as possible in the morning to wake up, get dressed, eat breakfast, etc. before you have to head out the door.

If they feel rushed or don't have a chance to do the steps they feel important, this puts you in opposition to one another - my wants versus your wants.

The goal is get everyone working together and in order to do that, everyone's needs must be acknowledged.

3. Encourage Self-Dressing

Self-dressing gives your child enjoy more autonomy in the morning routine.

They can choose when to get dressed, what to wear, and what order to put on clothes.

You may have to simplify the dressing area or process to make it easier for them.

For example, in our house, every evening I set out a couple clothing options in our living room. Now my kids can easily choose between a few choices I know they like and they don't have to make their way back upstairs to get dressed. This makes the process so much faster and I can easily assist when needed.

4. Avoid Multitasking

Avoid multitasking when your child is learning a new skill - putting on shoes, dressing, self-feeding, etc.

Multi-tasking is something that we all do, "I’ll finish up the dishes while they get their shoes on" but when your child is first learning these skills, it’s helpful if you stay close by. Brush your teeth together in the morning or sit beside your child and put your shoes on while they put on theirs.

It makes the process much easier and less stressful for everyone.

5. Use Visual Timers

If your child is struggling with one of the morning transitions, visual timers, like these, may be helpful.

I don’t recommend using them for every single transition, just the ones that are posing a challenge, i.e. your child doesn’t want to stop playing when breakfast is ready, taking too long to choose their clothes in the morning, etc.

It might also be a good idea to look at the particular transitions your child is struggling with and adjust them to make it work better for them. For example, if your child seems to be consistently taking 15 minutes to get dressed every morning but the schedule only allows for 10, can you adjust another part of the routine so they can have that extra 5 minutes?

Give It Time

If you're trying out some of these new strategies and they're not instantly working, give the new routine more time before deciding to change it.

Your child needs time to adapt and adjust, especially if they’re a toddler. The more consistent you are with the routine, the faster the child will get a hang of it.

You can also reassess the routine as your child grows, they’ll likely need less and less time to complete certain tasks so you can change the schedule to suit them.

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