Parenting Tips

A Morning Routine for Kids That Gets More Listening & Cooperation

Does your kids morning routine need a make-over?

Is getting from wake up to out the door with your kids in the morning a total nightmare — you begging, giving one more reminder, or losing your patience because they just won’t GET READY?

Mornings set the tone for the whole day so it totally stinks when they start off in a rush and full of chaos. I know because as a mom of three I’ve had my share of stressful mornings that left me feeling exhausted, guilty, and certainly not like the mom I want to be!

It doesn’t have to be that way. You can get your mornings turned around to where the kids listen, the mood is bright, there’s no more yelling and rushing…and EVERYONE’S happier. You might even find you have a little extra time!

Smooth Kids Morning Routine - More Listening & CooperationSmooth Kids Morning Routine - More Listening & Cooperation

Kids Morning Routine with More Listening & Cooperation 

Step #1 – Make a Plan

Mornings are a series of transitions and one thing that eases transitions is routine. Kids like to know what to expect and what’s coming next because it helps them feel safe and make sense of their world.

Creating a morning routine with visual prompts like photos or symbols for each task allows your child to see what they need to do so you won’t have to constantly tell them (over and over again). You’ll eliminate power struggles because kids who feel more independent and in charge of themselves have less need to push back.

First, brainstorm what needs to get done in the morning, and then let each child help with the plan. Decide together what order they’ll complete each task. They can tape, glue, or draw photos or symbols on a sheet of paper to make a ‘visual map’ of their schedule and hang it up in a place that’s easy to refer to as they get ready.

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Involving your kids in this process makes it more likely they’ll follow the plan — since it’s theirs!

Check out these ideas for printable morning checklists and personal mission statement examples for mothers (knowing what matters to you will make planning easier.

Step #2 – Prepare for Success

Even if your kids know what they’re supposed to do if they can’t do it, or do it easily enough, then it doesn’t get done. Consider how to support and empower your kids to get ready on their own so they’re not in the other room doing who-knows-what!

Look through each step of the morning map and ask yourself — Can my child actually do this? If not, what needs to happen so they can?

It could mean making changes to make the environment like putting the breakfast dishes in lower cabinets, limiting the amount of clothes they have to choose from, or having a set spot for backpacks.

Maybe there are new skills you can teach your child like how to pour milk, put on pants, or squeeze out toothpaste (and also how to clean it off the bathroom counter, lol).

Step #3 – Build Connection

When you have a strong connection with your kids they actually want to cooperate! But when you don’t, they won’t. You can strengthen your relationship anytime throughout the day and not only will mornings be easier, but you’ll create more frequent good times.

Focus on things like playing games that get you both laughing, spending one-on-one time when you’re totally present (no cell phone!), telling stories from your childhood or theirs, telling some good morning jokes, or even just sitting together.

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Kids are always telling us something, whether it’s through words or their behavior. Do your best to acknowledge their feelings (you don’t have to agree with them) because if they feel like you’re listening to them they’ll be more likely to listen to you.

Of course, life can get busy and rushed but if you slow down to plan, prepare, and be present you’ll actually save time, energy, and the relationship with your kids.

Are you ready to transform your mornings? Here are some morning checklists for kids that can help!


Karen Delano is a preschool teacher, mother of three, and parenting coach who works with moms who are tired and stressed by constantly being pulled in too many directions. She helps them have a great relationship with their kids and be the mom they want to be. You can find her and learn how it can be simple at If it were Simple or join the Facebook community at Simplicity Moms.

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