Thursday, December 20, 2012

Morning Motivation?? HELP!!

Readers? Moms? Friends? I need some help!

Our morning routine is not working at all!! I mentioned our new chart system last week. While it works well in the evenings, it just isn't cutting it in the mornings.  My kids will just not get moving!  This morning Frances and Benjamin were up a full hour early.  That didn't translate into any less chaos this morning, though. At 7:30 Ken was still asking them what they wanted for breakfast and telling them to get their shoes on.

I've read that some parents have put this situation completely into the hands of the children.  These parents tell the kids to get up and get ready and then send them to school in whatever state of dress or undress they are in at departure time.  The theory is that the kids will be embarrassed at the prospect of going to school in their pajamas with messy hair.  Have these people met any real children?? All the children I know, mine especially, would LOVE to go to school in their pajamas. In fact, Henry asks regularly when the next pajama day is because he had them in his day care pretty frequently.  {Please ignore the fact that I was the teacher that planned them!!}

It has nothing to do with not wanting to go to school. My kids LOVE school. They have never complained about going or tried to stay home.  And on the weekends when I tell them to get dressed before they watch TV, that only takes about 5 minutes. I am truly baffled why our school mornings are full of so much yelling and crying (and that's just Ken's reaction!!--KIDDING!)

Here's what we do:
The kids have an alarm clock.  The alarm goes off at 7am.  They have to get on the bus a little after 8, so that gives them an hour to get dressed, eat breakfast and complete their morning hygiene.  They pick their clothes out on Sunday for the whole week. (This is awesome, by the way, because we used to get busy or forget during the week and cause more morning chaos.) I have a play list that I play for the morning.  It's kinda lame, but I just got into iTunes this year and don't have much of a collection. Don't judge!

Breakfast choices are limited to cereal, toast, fruit, cereal bars and the like. I would love to sit down to scrambled eggs or pancakes, but not until we speed up the kids!

So what can we do?  How do we push the fast-forward button in the morning?  I should mention that I get Benjamin ready, but expect Henry and Frances to get themselves ready.  The only things I help with are tying Henry's shoes (which Frances often does anyway) and giving Frances' hair a once-over.

I'll take any and all suggestions you've got! Or maybe just commiserate with me in the comments and let me know I'm not alone!


  1. This probably goes against a few things, but tell them they can watch a short show or video if they get dressed in time (use the weekend speed against them).

    As for music, look for the song "Quality Seconds" by a band called Orbital. The only problem is things might seem too slow afterwards.

    1. Knowing what I do of your music, brother dear, I am a bit afraid to go searching for that song!!
      The problem we have had in the past with bribing them with TV is that the shows are too long for them to ever get to watch the whole thing and then they get mad having to leave in the middle of something. I wonder if short YouTube videos would be a motivator though?? We'll have to try it out.

    2. It's just techno .. fast paced techno music, no lyrics. Orbital is probably 95% safe. YouTube video with the music:
      It's only 90 seconds long too.

      Also, another fast paced bit of no lyric techno, the song "Didgeridoo" by "Aphex Twin". Now, this is the guy/band you should be worried about - but not this song. YouTube link to it:
      The link is safe, the song is just over 7 minutes.

      However, please don't Google "Aphex Twin" "Rubber Johnny" and watch the video. I'm not responsible for the after effects. He's got some weird and freaky stuff - but Didgeridoo is a great fast paced song.

  2. I feel your pain. Mornings are often chaos in my house as well. Especially on the mornings when we (well, technically, I do it since my hubby has to leave for work at the time the kids should be getting up) have to get all 3 kids up, ready, and out the door. The first question is - are they getting enough sleep? I definitely notice the difference on the mornings following later nights, especially with my oldest. Assuming that is happening, the short YouTube videos do motivate my kids. If they know they can watch a 10 minute clip of a favorite cartoon or show before leaving, that will get them moving. Another suggestion would be to pick out the breakfast choices the night before. If cereal, have the box, bowl, and spoon on the table ready to go in the morning, etc.

    Also, I think, for most kids, the IDEA of going to school in their pajamas is fun, but the actuality of going would be embarrassing. If needed, grab their clothes and just load them up once. When they are there, with all of their friends, they'll realize it's silly. At least, this was the case with one of the kids at the school I teach at. (We are a small Christian school, and the parents had let us know of the extreme difficulty they were having. We supported them as they went through this process.) The child was so embarrassed by arriving in her pajamas. The parents, however, were firm, as they walked her in the building. We allowed her to change before going to class. She's since stopped giving her parents as much difficulty in the morning.

    1. You know? Now that you mention your husband, I realize that we are usually on time when he's not home in the mornings. I think maybe it's because I make such an effort to be ready before they even get up on those days because we have to leave the house earlier. I'm going to work on being totally ready before they get up every day and see if that makes a difference. Thanks for your input!

  3. I feel your pain. We're on year three of the morning school routine with my second grader. You'd think he'd have it down by now, but he pokes around if I don't stay on top of him. I use a kitchen timer. Five minutes to brush your teeth. Five minutes to get your clothes on. Sometimes it works. I only have one to get out the door until my youngest goes to preschool next year. I can't imagine how much more complicated it's going to get!

    1. We're going to try this too. Maybe I can use the playlist and tell them things like, "By the end of this song you should be dressed." or "By the end of this song you should have your teeth brushed and your face washed." Thanks for the input!!


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