One of the secrets to making our morning routine work smoothly, is the use of our morning time playlist. A while ago, I was introduced to a program that used music to help kids stay on task in the morning. I loved the theory of it, but it didn’t completely work with the flow of our family since we do things in different orders. I wanted to make one that was personalized to our family, so I made my own. It didn’t take very long and it was pretty fun to do.
How It WorksIn the morning I simply press play and then we hear a recording of an alarm, followed by my voice telling the kids to do their first job (make their bed), then it plays a song while they make their bed, then my voice comes on and gives the next directions (say prayers), and then the next song plays; it continues until all of the jobs are done. There are jobs that I have to stagger with the kids, like the piano and shower. This problem was one of my main motivations for making my own program for my family. My solution was to record my voice saying, “Now it is time for Ashley to shower, Tyson to do his act of kindness, and Kylee to practice her piano.” Then songs play for about ten minutes and then my voice comes on again and says, “Now it is time for Tyson to take a shower, Kylee to do her acts of kindness, and Ashley to practice her piano,” then more songs, my voice explaining the next rotation, and even more songs.
When the kids are done with a job they flip the appropriate magnet so the smile side is showing. At the end of the morning they can count up all of the jobs they did and they add that many points to the grand total of points on the right.
How To Make a Morning Time PlaylistStep 1 – Make a List
Write down a list of the things you want your children and yourself to do in the morning.Step 2 – Time the Jobs
Have them do the jobs and record the length of time it usually takes for them to complete each task.Step 3 – Make the Recordings
I recorded my voice and my kids’ voices giving directions for the jobs. This was pretty fun because I involved the kids. I found a pre-installed program on my computer and recorded my voice and imported the recordings into my iTunes. Our CD starts out with an alarm clock sound and then my voice saying something like, “Good morning! Are you ready for a great day? Two songs are going to play while you make your bed. Hurry and get out of bed! Let's go have a great day!” We also have a simple recording of Liberty saying, “Go potty.” And I have a really funny recording of Tyson saying, “I’m starvin’! Let’s go eat some breakfast, yo!” Every morning it cracks me up. I’m so glad I included them because it is now a little time capsule of sorts.Here are a couple examples of the recordings.
Step 4 – Find MusicFind music you and your family like. My kids like The Piano Guys, EFY (Especially for Youth) songs, Colbie Caillat, oldies, and Preschool songs. I included some of my favorite songs like, “Dancing in the Moonlight” and “American Pie” (we are changing that song soon because I don’t like my kids to sing the words “drinking whisky and rye, singing ‘this'll be the day that I die’” every morning; I always loved the song, but when your kids start singing words, a parent has a natural way of saying, is that really in the song? I’d never even thought about it!). Anyway, we had fun choosing the songs! I love starting my day with great music. The kids and I dance and sing all morning while we get our work done. I simply found songs that fit in with the right amount of time needed for that particular job. Step 5 – Make a Playlist
In iTunes, I put the songs between the recordings of the voices. I started with an alarm sound, recording of instructions, music, recording of the next instruction, music, recording of the next instruction, etc. I then burned them to a CD that I play every morning, loud enough that we can usually hear it around the house. I also put the playlist on my iPad and I have a Bluetooth speaker I connect to it to make it loud. You can easily put the playlist on your phone and use it that way too.
Step 6 – Make a Magnet Board or Chart
Make a chart or magnet board for your kids to keep track of what items they have completed. Read the post on Morning Time Routine Made Easy: The Magnet Board for information on our magnet board.
On the last column of the magnet board, my kids record their points (there are no points shown on the picture of the magnet board because we started over on our points). They get a point for every job they do on-time (before the music ends). They build up points, working toward a reward. They receive their reward when they reach 100 points for the older kids and 50 points for the younger ones. The rewards in our home are not usually something we buy. Our rewards are, for example, dates with Mom and Dad. In a big family, sometimes the kids look forward to really having extended alone time with Mom or Dad. Some Mommy/Daddy date ideas are: paint nails, do salon with mom, bake cookies, go to the zoo, go to the animal shelter and walk dogs, go to the park, go play basketball with Dad, play volleyball with mom, go to the mall, go to Barnes & Noble to read together, make a trip to Bass Pro Shop, hiking, or picnic. We really like doing free stuff at our house. The best memories that I have with my kids don't involve any money. This is what works for our family, but find what works for yours.
The Playlist - 1 hour and 17 minutes
- Opening - alarm sound
- Good morning, make bed, say prayers, pick up bedroom
- 6 min
- Use restroom
- 2 min
- Ashley - shower, Tyson - acts of kindness*, Kylee - practice piano
- 11 min
- Tyson - shower, Kylee - acts of kindness*, Ashley - practice piano
- 11 min
- Kylee - shower, Ashley - acts of kindness*, Tyson - practice piano
- 11 min
- Fix hair
- 7 min
- Eat breakfast
- 9 min
- Rinse dish, load dishwasher, wipe table and counters
- 2 min
- Brush teeth
- 2:30 min
- 8 min
- 7 min
- Record points
- 40 sec
- Ashley - bring dirty laundry to laundry room, start new load of laundry, fold her clothes
- Tyson - bring dirty laundry to laundry room, fold his clothes, wipe bathrooms and tidy them
- Kylee - bring dirty laundry to laundry room, fold her clothes, empty dishwasher
Stay tuned for the rest of posts in our The Morning Routine Made Easy series:
- 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