Do you have difficulties getting your young school age child out of bed in the morning? Does your child procrastinate and make even the simplest morning chore into an ordeal? I have been going through this same experience with my first grader. In this article, I’ll share 3 simple solutions that we implemented to make our morning routine go smoothly.
Your child needs to feel like his or her decisions count. These 3 simple solutions are designed so that the child has some buy-in to the morning routine. When your child feels like a ‘big kid’ rather than a little one, he or she will be more likely to participate rather than balk.
Simple Solution 1: Buy a Fun Child Alarm Clock
Take your child to a local store to help pick out an alarm clock. The clock should be fun and easy to operate. Tell your child that having an alarm clock is a special privilege for big kids. In our case, we picked out a small alarm clock with a dome that changes colors for about $10.
Together, decide on a morning wake up time. Set the alarm clock to the time. Tell your child when the alarm rings in the morning, then that is the cue to wake up. Be sure to place the alarm clock across the room so your child will physically have to get out of bed to turn it off.
Practice using the alarm clock the day before. Make a game of it by having your child pretend to be sleeping. Set the alarm ahead a couple of minutes. When the alarm rings, demonstrate getting out of bed, turning on the light, and turning off the alarm clock.
Simple Solution 2: Dry Erase Board with Morning Chores
While you are out shopping for an alarm clock, pick up a small dry erase board that you can mount in your child’s room.
Open the dry erase board with your child, and think of 4 or 5 morning chores that your child needs to do. For example, some good morning chores might be getting dressed, brushing teeth, and putting the pajamas into a laundry basket.
This solution will help keep your child focused in the morning and will help with reading and writing skills. Older children can write their own morning chore list while you can help younger children.
Place the dry erase board at your child’s eye level and somewhat near the alarm clock as a reminder of the daily chores.
Simple Solution 3: Privilege Point Chart
Make a privilege point chart that you can use to track the morning chore routine. Have your child help with this project. You can use regular paper and make it a weekly chart or use poster board for a monthly chart. For each day that your child wakes up to the alarm clock and performs the morning chores without prodding, you can draw one star on the chart. Each star is equal to 1 privilege point.
Decide how much privilege points your child needs to accrue to earn a privilege such as watching a television show, playing a video game, or some other activity. For example, 5 privilege points may earn your child 20 minutes of watching a favorite cartoon show.
These are simple yet effective strategies that you can try at home. Get creative and engage your child throughout the process so he or she will feel a sense of ownership, pride, and personal responsibility in this new morning routine.