FAMILY/ HOME/ Kids/Family/ Organizing/ Simplifying

Kids Back To School Morning Routine

Yesterday, I posted about my Fall Morning Routine.  Today I thought I’d share my girls “Back To School” Morning Routine.  
This chart has turned our mornings from crazy to smooth.  It has turned me from a “nagging” mom, to a “more laid back” mom.  Before our Morning Routine, I was walking around with a bunch of crazy “monkeys”on my back that didn’t belong there.  In other words, I used my  brain power and my words for things that my girls were more than old enough to think about, and to be responsible for.  Now the “monkeys” are where they belong, and boy does my back feel better!  
I had to break the “reminder” habit, where I go around asking, did you do your chart?  did you brush your teeth? etc.  All that was doing was confusing my girls.  If mom is going to ask or remind them about their responsibilities, (putting the monkeys back on me), then why would they ever step up to the plate and think or do for themselves??  
The key to my girls taking ownership was incentive and consequence.  If they do their charts CORRECTLY, without ANY prompting from me, they earn points that go toward allowance.  If they mess up AT ALL, NO POINTS!  This is where I had to get tough.  The first few times that they didn’t do it right and didn’t get their points, oh my, were there tears!!  It was hard to “lay down the law” and “stick to my guns” because they had worked so hard and diligently on their chart those mornings. The first day that we did charts, (after having a family meeting to introduce the charts and explain the rules/expectations in detail last spring,) they were so excited to earn points.  They got up early to do their charts, worked so hard, then… left their cups out.  Cups were considered a “personal” that they didn’t pick up, which is on the chart, so NO POINTS!  I have to admit, it is a good thing Todd was home to help me see the importance of being strong, because I wanted to just let that slide and reward them.  But, if I gave in and gave them points even if it was not done completely, then they would never do their best, they would never take it seriously, and the charts would become meaningless. Those first few days of strictness with our charts really paid off, but boy, did I feel like a mean-y!  No more.  Now they know what will happen if they “forget” something, and I feel like a mom at peace who has taught the girls responsibility when it comes to their morning routine.  
Below is a list of their Morning Routine.  I made the chart online at this great site, it was SUPER easy to just follow directions, fill in the blanks, and push print.  Then I had them laminated, and we hang them every morning on our Chore Board with magnets. They use dry erase markers or dry erase crayons (did you know there was such thing? We love them!) to mark off as they go.  
Another very strict rule we have is that there is NO TV, COMPUTER OR PLAYTIME until their Morning Charts are done on a school day.  This is key. This motivates them to start early and finish so they can have playtime before school starts.  Without this rule, I would have to nag them to get going on their charts.  If I find out they disobeyed this rule, they do not get their morning points, but they still have to do their entire chart.
Back To School Morning Routine:
~Make Bed
~5 Minute Room Rescue
~Get Dressed
~Put PJ’s & Hangers Away
~Take Vitamins
~Clear Breakfast Dish
~Lunch bag
~Library Book
~Coat/Jacket Ready
~Brush Teeth
Make Bed-they do this right when they get out of it.  Great lifetime habit in my opinion!
5 Minute Room Rescuethey do this for their evening routine, too, so their rooms never get out of hand.  I would like to get them timers to keep in their rooms.
Get Dressedall the way to their socks
Put P.J.’s Away-self explanatory.
Eatthey help themselves to bagels, toast, cereal or pancakes in the freezer. Sometimes they make scrambled eggs in the microwave.  Sometimes I make oatmeal.  They all know they have to have some sort of fruit with the choices above.  If they eat breakfast with no fruit, no points!
Vitaminsthey take a multiple vitamin, a calcium + D vitamin, and a chewable vitamin C.  If we miss even a week of this, it seems they start getting sick again.  I am a firm believer in quality vitamins, (especially vitamin D!!!) only because I no long live at the Dr.’s office:)
Clear Dishthis includes rinsing it
Hairthey need help from me for this one
Backpack-they bring it to the living room so they can grab and go
Lunch Bag-I get all the food ready and have it in 3 separate piles, 1 for each girl.  They are responsible to come in and put it in their lunch bag, and grab their water bottle from the refrigerator (which they fill the night before, it is on their evening routine chart).  Then they take it to the living room and put it with their backpack.
Homeworkthey put it in their backpack if it isn’t already.  I always know it is done because it is part of the evening routine.
Library BooksI don’t like it when school library books get mixed up with our community library books.  To avoid this, our rule is they keep their school library book in their backpack at all times, putting it back right away after a reading session.  Then I don’t have to worry about what day the book is due, because it is always with them.
Coat/Jacketin the spring/fall, they keep a jacket or sweater in their backpacks at all times, because you never know what the weather will do. I HATE being home worrying about them being cold at recess just because the sun didn’t come out that day like expected.  Now I don’t have to worry and have mommy guilt! 🙂 In the winter, they put their coats by their backpacks/lunch bags in the living room.
Shoesthey put them by their backpacks/lunch bags/coats in the living room.
Personalsthis is one of my favorites!! They go into each room of the house to find anything that they left out and put it away.  The also do this for evening routine, so it takes just minutes in the morning. 
Brush Teeththey just brush in the morning.  They brush, floss, rinse at night.  We make the 2 younger do it where we can see them because we had the “I say I brushed but really just stuck a brush full of toothpaste in my mouth for 2 seconds” problem. 🙂

Side note:
For this system to work properly, I have to make sure all things are accessible for them to be able to do their charts without help or hindrance.  For example…

~they need clean clothes to get dressed into
~they need easy/clear breakfast options to feed themselves
~they need to know where to find the vitamins, so I keep their vitamins all in one basket in a cupboard
~they always know where their backpack is because we have designated spots for them
~the water bottles are always ready to grab because they were filled the night before
~homework, library book and jacket always stay in the backpack so there is no last minute searching

…does this make sense?  Because of thought and routine, they are able to do their charts in an easy and carefree manor.  Routines free us all up, and cuts down/eliminates stress, frantic searching for things last minute, and kids asking me a billion questions like “mom, where is my…”  Many people who are not naturally organized (believe it or not, I’m not!) may look at this and feel like it is strict and no fun.  It is actually the opposite.  These things became habit for us all, and eventually done with very little thought and effort.  It brings an easy, light, and fun mood to the home, and teaches wonderful lessons in the process. I realize it is not for everyone, but I can’t tell you how much better our home life is with routines in place!!!

So there you have it, our morning routine.  Most days, when I come downstairs, they are well on their way through their chart.  I can always tell where that are at due to the 3 areas on the couches where they put their backpack/lunch bag/shoes as they get them ready to go.  All I have to think about in the morning is making their lunch and helping them with their hair.  So easy!  I love this Morning Chart!  It is one of my favorite parts of our Family System.  I am blessed to have a husband who is very involved and brainstormed what this Family System would look like.  One of these days I’m going to get him on here to explain the rest of the system, as these routine charts are just a piece of it!  
*** I Am Pleased To Be Linking Up To These Wonderful Blog Parties. *** 

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  • couponmommy
    October 11, 2011 at 10:56 am

    Would you possibly be able to post what you use for the “evening routines” I am sooo in love with this idea. I have 4 boys and my mornings and evenings are sheer chaos! Thank you !!!

  • Karima
    August 9, 2011 at 11:06 am

    Hi saw you on link party, I love your post, i always have charts around, otherwise my life would be so hectic, thanks for sharing. I am now google friend following, would love if you could pop by and follow me too, Karima x

  • Jody Hoffman
    April 20, 2011 at 11:22 am

    Thought you might like to read my school routine..

  • Anonymous
    August 31, 2010 at 2:27 pm

    I am so grateful for your post. I googled Kids Back to School Morning and got your blog. OMG! We had a complete meltdown in our house this morning and I lost it. After I finally got the kids out the door I called a friend to vent and then cried my eyes out wondering what the heck what went wrong here this morning as we’ve been doing this morning/school routine for many years. I had the anger, the guilt, the anxiousness, etc. I am calming down as I read through your info. Am going to have a family meeting and work on this. Thank you!!!!

  • Amy Meyer
    August 27, 2010 at 3:44 am

    That is a fabulous idea! Make sure that they get everything done before play time! Love it!

  • Barb
    August 25, 2010 at 8:35 am

    I love this idea! I have a wide range of ages, mostly non readers, but I can see how to implement this idea for even the younger ones. I love that you included your explanation/expectations as notes for us moms. I can’t wait to see the rest of your site.

  • Kaysi
    August 24, 2010 at 6:40 pm

    Great idea, it can be hectic in the mornings!

  • Liz
    August 23, 2010 at 1:51 pm

    Ohhh I think I need one of those! Thanks for the tip. 🙂

    I hope you will come participate in my link party today! We can always use a little more organization inspiration!

    All About The Boy @ The Nifty Nest!


  • Amy Bowman
    August 23, 2010 at 1:27 am

    Hi Erin
    Good question about the 16 mo old. I have a hard time thinking back to that age and stage. I would say to be mindful of what they CAN do, make a big deal about it, and be careful not to do for them what they can do for themselves..for the most part. Something as simple as putting their socks on or finding their jacket on a hook, or putting their dirty clothes in the hamper, is one last thing for mom to have to do.
    Any other suggestions commenters??

  • erin
    August 22, 2010 at 5:45 pm

    How does Lacey do a chore chart for a 16 month old? I saw that at the top of the comment list. Hummm. I am wondering at what age you can start something like this. I have a 3 year old and a 15 month old. Obviously the 3 year old can do it – but what kinds of things should she be responsible for without me other than putting toys away? Humm, need ideas. Thanks for such a great post.

  • Amy Bowman
    August 22, 2010 at 4:37 pm

    @Rach-thanks for your excitement. I love to know that what I am sharing actually jives with someone! I will be posting evening routine soon, but the allowance system/points system is my husbands baby so I will let him write about it.
    @Lisa-means alot coming from you.
    @Our Lives-I’ve been loving your routine posts!
    @Lacey-stickers are a great reward, I remember those days! A date with mommy out is always the best reward, especially when it involves food:)
    @brookie-Streamline is a great word, that is exactly what it does. “barking at the shorties” –lol
    @crystal-I could tell from my stats that someone shared it on facebook! that is always such a compliment, that one would consider my post facebook friend worthy!
    @Nikki-Like Lacey said above, stickers are a great way to start early…I kinda miss those days…kinda:)
    @Kelly-how fun to inspire the one who inspires
    @LilyBelleMommy-i respect your choice to not pay for chores. My husband talked long and hard about that one. I’m hoping he will write some future posts on our thought process. This is the first time our girls have ever had an allowance, and it has been working well for us, but I know it is now for everyone..thanks so much for commenting and the book recommendation
    @Jane-Welcome! Nope, not my kitchen, but it is a beauty, huh? So many people have commented on it, it is a well liked kitchen! Thank you for the encouragement on my Christian expression posts!!
    @megan-you are welcome, welcome, welcome! So glad it appeals to you. Even little ones can start throwing baby monkeys so yes, start early, your back will thank you..
    @Chels-try it! I think you will love. It is so easy to slip into the reminding thing, especially with our oldest right at first or our youngest b/c after all, she is the “baby!”
    @Paula- my girls wake up at about 7:45 and we leave for school around 8:45. It is easy for them to get it done in an hour, if they stay on task. There is often time for them to chill when they are done, too.
    @Brie-my husband is writing some posts on the system. I am hoping to get them up soon, I really think you will all enjoy them.
    @Kindra-Points system and evening routine coming soon! Thanks for reading..
    @Imani-right now we take Nature’s Plus brand muliti and C, and Nutrition Now Calcium/Vit. D chews, but I am very interested in the Shaklee brand and will order from there next. I have a Shaklee contact if you are interested…actually, here is her email address for anyone interested.

    @Steph-evening routine coming soon! Four kids can make for a very full monkey back! lol!
    @Jamie-so glad it seems simple, it really is except for the enforcement part right at first. Let me know how it goes..

    Thank you all for your comments, I LOVE em’!

  • Jamie W
    August 21, 2010 at 3:30 pm

    i need your evening chores too! this is the first chore chart i’ve ever seen that i think might actually work for my 4 kids!

  • Imani
    August 20, 2010 at 3:40 pm

    Wow, I love it and I am so stealing this. :o) Our oldest is 5 and starting kindergarten this year. I knew I had to come up with some kind of system, so and this will help tremendously.

    If you don’t mind:

    What kind of things are on your eve routine??

    All 3 of our children take a multiple, but I would like to know what brand of vitamins you have chosen (mult, cal, c & d) I’m big on referrals.

    Thank you so much for sharing!

  • Steph
    August 20, 2010 at 8:32 pm

    Hi I was wondering if you would be willing to share what your children’s evening chores are! School starts here in 12 days and I definitely would LOVE to see what you do! With 4 kids I love any and ALL ideas on organization!

  • Kindra
    August 20, 2010 at 3:33 pm

    Great idea! Yes, wondering how the points system works and if you have a evening routine also? Thanks! Love your tips!

  • Brie
    August 20, 2010 at 1:52 pm

    I am curious about how the points work for allowance…would love to know more:)

  • LilyBelleMommy
    August 20, 2010 at 2:24 am

    My daughter is in kindergarten and has had a laminated chore chart too since she was 3 years old. She is now very responisble for herself doing them. And she still likes to do it. She does alot of chores for a child but nothing’s too big for her age to do. One other thing that helped is I also have a chart and I do those chores while she is doing hers so she sees Mommy has chores too. The only difference is I don’t give her an allowance for her daily chores. I read a great book called “What every child should learn along the way”, it came from a great missionary at our church. It opened my eyes to children shouldn’t be paid for chores that are their household responsibilies. I do reward for extra chores she asks to do. However her daily chores are part of her duty to the house. I know it sounds harsh but she enjoys going above and beyond her chores to earn extra.

  • Laura
    August 20, 2010 at 5:16 am

    Thanks so much for posting this & the details of it. I will definitely be trying this out!

    Question: About how long would you say the entire routine takes?


  • Paula
    August 20, 2010 at 5:04 am

    Just wondering how much time this routine takes? I would love to do something like this at our house now that all 3 of my kids are going to be in school. Thanks so much for this post!

  • Chels
    August 20, 2010 at 4:16 am

    Great Post. My oldest is 6yrs old and I do a lot of stuff for her and a lot of reminding of things that she needs to do always on her own. I love lists so maybe something like this would be helpful for her 🙂 Thanks for the tips 🙂

  • Kelly Morris
    August 19, 2010 at 11:09 pm

    Love it, making some this weekend! Thanks for the inspiration!

  • *Nikki*
    August 19, 2010 at 10:42 pm

    i love this idea…my little girl is only in preschool right now but these are great ideas for when she gets older!

  • Megan {Honey We're Home}
    August 20, 2010 at 2:49 am

    This is so awesome. Thank you, thank you for putting it in such great detail. As a new mom, I can see that this is exactly the kind of thing I’d like to do in my house. I guess I could alter it to start young with just one or two items on the list to get my son used to it. I love that it freed you of those monkeys. Can’t let ’em get too wild!

  • Jane @ Sweet Basil Kitchen
    August 20, 2010 at 2:38 am

    First time visitor to your blog. I am intrigued by your header. Is this your actual kitchen? We are building a home, and I would really like open shelving. I’ve enjoyed reading your posts. My children are raised, so my season of life is different! Appreciate your Christian expressions!

  • Our Lives
    August 19, 2010 at 7:00 pm

    Love the simple yet effective list! I am reworking my HMB right now and hopefully to have it done by next Tuesday! 🙂

  • Rach
    August 19, 2010 at 6:25 pm

    I love this! School starts for us next week and I am going to sit my son down within the next day or two and set this up! {He is very independent and gets himself off to the bus no problem but is very forgetful- we need routine!} Have you posted their evening routine? I would LOVE to see that sometime!! And how the allowance ties in to the whole thing- I have been looking for something to impliment for a long time. This is fantastic!!!

  • Crystal
    August 19, 2010 at 8:29 pm

    Love this. I am going to share it with my Facebook readers!

  • brookie
    August 19, 2010 at 7:40 pm

    Great idea! It would streamline the morning. I love anything that can help me feel like I am not just barking orders at the shorties all day.

  • Lacey
    August 19, 2010 at 7:13 pm

    I’ve started a chore list with stickers as a reward. My kids are just 16 and 32 months, so their things are easier. Once they fill up their chart (15 stickers or so) we’re going to take them to a bakery or something for reward. I didn’t want all the trinkey-ity stuff lying around 🙂

  • The Pennington Point
    August 19, 2010 at 6:58 pm

    Good post! You are so right about them needing consequences and rewards. You’ve got a lot of great ideas here! Lisa~

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