As my sons are getting older (almost 6 and 3.5 years old now!) I have started to give them more daily responsibilities. I have seen that children become more capable and confident when they are given opportunities to stretch their abilities, so I thought our morning routine was a good place to start building skills.
The boys’ morning routine responsibilities on any day always include “eating breakfast” and “getting dressed.” On weekdays my older son has to get ready for school, and on two days my youngest attends preschool – so on these days we add “packing the bag.”
Though these three tasks seem simple enough, for young children they are new skills. Here are some simple ways I am enabling my sons to take care of these responsibilities with increasing independence.
This post is sponsored by Brauer.
Task #1: Eating Breakfast
When my kids were younger, I used to just get their breakfast ready on my own while they played. However now that I see them as active participants in this daily task, I have realised that they can get involved in preparing breakfast in a number of ways. They can put their plate, bowl, or cutlery on the table. They can pour cereal, mix brown sugar into oatmeal, butter bread, and/or wash fruit.
My three year old never forgets his vitamins (good thing, too, or I would rarely remember mine). I was introduced to a new product a few months ago that is actually a tasty vitamin syrup you add to milk called Brauer Kids’ VitaShakes. My son loves squirting it into the measuring spoon then stirring up his “chocolate milk,” which he sees as a delectable treat. This is an easy way to top the kids up with vitamins especially if you have a picky eater or a child getting over a cold.
One way I make sure the kids can get involved in preparing breakfast is by putting things within their reach. Guests nearly always look confused when they open our top kitchen drawer and do not see cutlery, since this seems to be the usual place to keep it. However I find that this drawer is too tall for my kids to reach so it makes sense to put the utensils they use the most in the second drawer. They can easily get cutlery, measuring spoons, cup accessories, etc because they are all at an appropriate height.
Yes, letting the kids do it sometimes slows things down a little bit and yes, more spills are bound to be made. But empowering children with the skill of preparing food is important… plus in a few years they will be able to do it all themselves with little to no help from me.
The kids can also take their dishes to the sink or dishwasher.
Task #2: Getting Dressed
Labelling the boys’ drawers with pictures and words (so that even my youngest can “read” the label) has been a life saver for both the kids and the adults in our house. We all know where things go so that everyone can be involved in laundry and dressing.
The boys can find what they need to get ready in the morning, and I am increasingly helping them take responsibility for putting their laundry away. It’s such a simple way to stay organised and as an added benefit I can immediately see when we are running low on various clothing items and know it’s time to do the laundry.
I use this labelling system to make sure our house is overflowing with clothes, too. If the drawer is full when the laundry is put away that means we have plenty and do not need any more (it helps me resist the urge to buy that cute T-shirt on sale!). Having just enough of what we need helps us keep things tidy and uncluttered. The less we have, the more we tend to take care of it as well.
I also have a stepping stool beside the boys’ drawers to make putting undies, socks, and pants on a bit easier. This stool serves a double purpose sitting below the light switch so the kids can turn the switch on or off if they need to, as well.
If you want to find labels, simply google “clothing labels free printable” for tons of options!
Task #3: Packing Backpacks
I will admit there have been a few days during the school year when we have forgotten a water bottle or library book. One of those, “I thought you got it” situations. This prompted me to consider whose responsibility it actually is to have the backpacks in order. Mine or the kids?
It is easiest if I do it myself… after all, I’m an adult and have had years of practice getting a bag ready. However after reflection I realised that it would be empowering for my sons to learn how to get their own bag ready – and take responsibility for remembering what they need to bring each day.
I started this process by designating a specific place in the house for all belongings that regularly go to school – backpacks, water bottles, homework folder, library books etc. This way the kids know where to put their stuff when they come home and nothing generally gets lost. After they complete an assignment, they know to put it on the shelf so it won’t get left home the next day.
You may also see the little boxes labeled on the bottom shelf. These show which cloths should be used for the kitchen counters, for face and hands, or other cleaning. The boys know which cloth to grab to wash up after a snack or to wipe up a spill.
We also made a simple list for the back of the door which has been very helpful. The boys can bring their bags to the door right before leaving and do a final check to make sure they have everything. And I don’t have to worry about forgetting anything now, either!
Ready to go!
Overall these three tasks – eating breakfast, getting dressed, and packing bags – go smoothly since the boys know what is expected of them, know where things are, and can reach/find everything as needed. Adjusting a few little things in the house, such as the cutlery drawer, and adding some labels and lists has allowed them become much more proactive in the morning routine.
What tasks do your children take responsibility for in the morning? Are there some simple ways you can make it easier for them to take more ownership of their morning routine?
A message from my sponsor:
Brauer Kids’ VitaShakes can help to give your kids a healthy, delicious start to every day with the body, brain function and bone building nutritional support through the combination of B-group, C and D vitamins + Zinc & Iodine – without any sugar, artificial colours or flavours. Just add a spoonful to a glass of milk for a healthy Vitashake!
This is a sponsored post. To read more about reviews on my website, visit this page.