Powerful Tips to Organize your Kids – Mornings

Organizing your kids series. This is the 3rd and last post. It's about taking back your mornings.

Here’s the final installment in my organizing kids series.  This one is about taking back your mornings.  With school-aged kids, it can be a real headache to get them out of bed, pulled together and fed, and somehow off to school on time every morning of the week.

As the mom of two ADHD boys, I’ve had to learn to think on my feet when it comes to get set-up in the morning. When Matt was growing up, mornings used to be my daily nightmare. It was mostly about herding him around, yelling at him, and raising my blood pressure thinking he was going to be late for school every single day. Needless to say, it caused both of us to start our day off on totally the wrong foot.  Blake is a little easier because he HATES to be late to anywhere, but it’s still been a headache.

After some trial and error and reading a number of good books, I decided to revamp our whole morning routine. Now our mornings are usually pretty great – well, probably 90% of the time and that ain’t too bad!

Here are some of the strategies I put in place.

  • Minimize distractions. No cartoons, video games, or even radio, EVER.  ADHD kids just cannot split their focus between two different activities and really neither can I. Whenever the TV is on, it’s like a magnet and it draws everyone in the house right to it, even if there’s nothing interesting on.

 

  • Set a schedule.  Many kids do better with a set schedule, particularly ADHD kids.  Set a wake-up time and have them stick to it like GLUE. This also makes it easy to set up benchmark times, so you know when they are dawdling too much.  They should be dressed within 15 minutes, lunch made by 10 minutes later, breakfast eaten, and out the door by a set time.  I sometimes will set a timer to go off a few minutes before go-time.  It helps me too.  You also want to have them do everything in the same order every day.  It does help.

 

  • Alarm clocks are a must.  It helps for kids to get themselves up in the morning. Otherwise, you get into the “sneaking back into bed” game (yes, it is a game and not a FUN one for Mom!). It just turns into a power struggle and a frustration. Even a six-year-old can work an alarm clock and they like the feeling of responsibility it gives them.

Tip:  If you have a kid who is hard to wake up, get an alarm clock with a very loud alarm and put it across the room from him. If nothing else, “the call of nature” should get to him once he is up and moving around. That’s why you put the alarm clear across the room.

Mornings can be stressful with your kids. These tips will help - A LOT.

(For Matt, I got him a “Clocky” which is an alarm clock on wheels. If he doesn’t shut it off, it jumps off his dresser and runs around the room beeping like mad – drives the cats absolutely crazy!)  Click photo to see it on Amazon – affiliate link.

Clocky

 

  • Bribes:  If you don’t want to use the tough love approach, offer hot chocolate or some other treat on the mornings only for the children who are able to get ready on time.  It may take a while, but it helps when they learn to take responsibility for themselves.

 

  • Breakfast is LAST.  One important thing in building this routine is that breakfast is LAST. Yes, he will be brushing his teeth before breakfast and that’s a little weird, but it very important for breakfast to be the last thing to be done.Here’s why – if they are having a rough morning, you can always toss them a piece of toast or a granola bar and shoo them out the door. Obviously, you aren’t trying to send them off totally hungry, but if they’re a little bit hungrier than usual by lunchtime, it’s a good natural consequence, and they will make a bit more time the next day.  Hopefully.  And it moves the problem from your shoulders to theirs and hopefully lowers your stress level in the mornings.

 

These tips will make things go much more smoothly in your home and keep your kiddos organized.  Check out these other articles in the series.  

#1 Post – Organizing their Homework – Tuesday’s post

#2 Post – Organizing their Chores – Yesterday’s post

#3 Post – Organizing their Morning Routines – Today.  Last in the series

 


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Mornings with ADHD kids can be pretty stressful.  However, a few tweaks to your morning routine can make mornings MUCH easier for everyone.

Comments

  1. My 10-year-old is VERY hard to wake in the morning. He might even sleep through explosions! I am going to look for this clocky thing, it sounds perfect.

    • Good reminder. I just added an Amazon link for it. Definitely give it a try. I have a grandson like that, but when we tied his video game use to his getting up in the morning, the problem cleared up rather magically. There’s nothing wrong with his ears, he just isn’t attaching much importance to the sound.

  2. I’ve had to learn these the hard way too with my boys. I love that Clocky idea and should they have trouble with the regular alarm, I will try that!

    Stopping by from SITS Sharefest

    • Tanya – I appreciate you taking the time to leave comments on my blog. However, it’s a little tacky to use my comments section to promote your own site. I have edited your comments to remove that information.

  3. Hey Adrian,

    Oh my YES!!!!! My oldest I was freaking out about sending to college, until a friend of mine came up with the best idea ever!!!! Treat Senior year as if it were freshman year in college. They are ON THEIR OWN!!! I did, and she did, and it proved to us she could do it, and she DID DO IT!!! All of it, she got up, she did her breakfast, lunch and got herself to school. She did amazing with the grades, and she got into college!!!! Now in her second semester as of this coming Wednesday and I can say I am PROUD!!!! As for the 13 y/o that is still at home…. We are good on the morning front, she has it for the most part 🙂

    All of the above is sound advice though!!!

    xoxoxo

    • That is actually a very good idea. My son is a Senior this year and I despair of him ever being able to manage on his own. He has some difficulties with executive functions anyway, so we are really struggling with these types of issues this year. We are probably looking at Community College to start, but even then, I’m a bit worried.

  4. We, thankfully, don’t have the ADHD issue at the moment but we definitely have a routine to get through the morning. We do the opposite. We start with breakfast, then shower & teeth and get ready for school/kindy. Then it’s get lunches ready, bags and hats on and out the door at the required time. If there is time before we leave then they can watch television after they have everything ready.

  5. Love this! Two things that helped with my kiddos is Sunday night prep and nightly prep. On Sunday, each kid has a wall calendar and I go in with my calendar and we step through the week, with them writing it on the calendar. They each have a calendar function on their phone, linked on our family Google calendar, but somehow that just doesn’t work. This gives them a week at a time, so they can have events on their radar. Second, each night – when they were in public school – clothes were laid out and backpacks by the door. This ended the morning drama of ‘Where’s my sock?’ and ‘What on earth are you wearing?’. My son is still working on this but my daughters seem to be getting it.

    • See Miss Ruth, you are so nice and organized. I just never got the hang of routines like these. I think our mornings would have been less stressful if I had. I think it’s funny that it would take Ian longer to get dressed than Beth and Katie. I have one son who is very vain, and he used to take a lot more time to get himself ready in the morning than the other two because his HAIR had to be just right. Obviously, that wasn’t Blake!

  6. Ah, yes. The ADHD morning nightmare. We finally settled into one that works for us. First, my husband leaves the house two hours before the bus picks my son up. So my husband wakes him up and gives him the ADHD meds. So an hour later, he’s ready to go through the routine. Often he’ll stay awake and play on his video games until it’s time to get ready. Then we move through the morning.
    Better living through chemicals.

  7. Thanks for stopping by on my SITS day! I LOVED all the comment love and now I’m here to spread it around!

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