I'm dedicating a series of posts to share the morning system we use. My hope is that your mornings may be easier if you use it too!
The Morning Routine Made Easy series will include:
- The Magnet Board
- Morning Playlist
- How We Use the Buddy System
- How To Make a Magnet Board
- How To Make a Morning Routine Playlist
- Laundry Made Easy
Before I get started, here's my disclaimer for this series: Lets face it, life happens and many mornings are not picture perfect. I mean, we have children ages two, four, six, eight, and ten; it is no small task to make a morning perfect. Sometimes the toddler wakes up on the wrong side of the bed. Sometimes kids wake up in the night, I haven't had very much sleep, and, by golly, I am going to sleep in a little longer! But the great thing about this system is that my kids can do it whether I am right there or not. When I had my last baby, my oldest daughter simply pressed play on our Morning Routine Playlist and everyone went to work on their jobs, flipping their completed magnets along the way. I was able to continue nursing the baby or rest a bit longer (we all know how tired a mom with a newborn is); it was amazing! So my point is that the things I am going to share have helped our home so much, but we are still human and have bad mornings. And that's okay!
Over the years, I have tried several morning routines and this is the one that has been effective and very easy to stick to. We have tried other routines and they flopped for one reason or another. I tried routines involving stickers and I got tired of rubbing the stickers off for a new day or new week. We tried a card system where they moved cards from "to do" to "all done". It just didn't work for our family. We tried a board with a dry erase marker, but then one of my little ones used the marker for their own "recreational coloring". I was in search of something that would just work and that would be easy to maintain. My friend Jessica was using a magnet board for homeschool. She used it to track the work each child had finished in the day. Anyway, when I saw it, I fell in love with it and knew it would be easy to incorporate into our morning routine. I went and bought all the items I needed to make it, and I had it going in no time.
One thing I really appreciate about this is how easy it is for the kids to do on their own once they have proper training. I've worked very hard to help my kids be independent and this has worked wonders! I recently injured my tailbone and my older two had to pretty much run our home in the mornings while I was stuck on the couch. This system was crucial for keeping our house running smoothly. Our home stayed clean and everyone stayed on-task.
My kids have several things they need to get done in the morning before we start school. I also do the same things they do, in addition to working out. Our mornings are much easier now because of three things: our magnet board, a morning routine playlist, and a buddy system.
First things first. I try hard to get up at 6 and work out (okay I really like my sleep and am not a morning person but I'm really trying). My kids wake up at 7 and if I don't workout before they wake up, it usually doesn't happen. I have an hour for a peaceful, uninterrupted workout. Pure bliss!
Our Magnet BoardOur magnet board lists all of the tasks they need to do. There is a magnet for each task and when they finish the task, they flip the magnets. On one side of the magnet it is just the plain black magnet and on the other side is a smile sticker (I bought them at hobby lobby). When all of their smiles are out, they are done and have free time until we start doing school.
I do all the same tasks pretty much right at the same time. This helps encourage them and helps them see that these are life skills that everyone needs.
When the children are five-and-under, they work on "The Big Six". When they have turned six, we add more items to their list. As the kids approach age five or six, they tend to want more. The younger ones watch the older ones and want to learn how to do what they are doing. When they are younger they usually stay with their buddy or me (if I'm their buddy) and learn to make their bed, fold clothes, etc. I start with a couple items for them to learn and then we add one after another.
The Big Six
- Say Prayers
- Make Bed
- Get Dressed
- Eat Breakfast
- Brush Teeth
*Morning Contribution - Usually done with Mom or an older sibling at this age as part of our buddy system. Some items are: pick up bedroom, help fold their clothes and put them away, and help empty dishwasher. (Right now Liberty is learning how to fold and put her clothes away and I'm her buddy. Brigham is learning to say morning prayers and Tyson is his Buddy.)Older Kids
- Say Prayers
- Make Bed
- Practice Piano
- Clean up Breakfast*
- Brush Teeth
- Laundry: bring dirty clothes to laundry room, fold and put away their own clean clothes (my older two kids also fold and put away the clothes for the youngest two kids)
- Other Job: each child has one other job (Empty Dishwasher, Wipe Down Bathroom Counters, Start Laundry) *deep cleaning is usually done on Saturdays
*Clean up Breakfast
- wash and load dish
- wipe the table and chair where they sat
- put food away and wipe off counter
Be sure to check out Our Morning Routine Playlist, coming soon!