When attending homeschool conferences or stopping in Walmart to briefly encourage a mom who seems to be overwhelmed with many kids and hair that needs some work, the preschool and early motherhood years can be tough!
Having five kids in seven years had many challenges, but with a little planning, I could begin routines with the first child that would help me as I added to our family. Here’s what I found successful:
Between the age of 2 and 3, I would begin a morning routine with each child. Sometimes it started with waking them with a song, typically soft and gentle. (I still hum, “wake up, wake up the sun is up, the dew is on the buttercup…”) With sleepy in her eyes, Jenny would roll out of bed, and we would begin the routine.
The Five in the Morning
As soon as their feet hit the floor, I’d turn them around, and we’d make the bed together. There’s just something about getting into a made bed at night!
Next we went to the bathroom to wake up a bit more. A 3-5 minute teeth brushing is just what the dentist ordered!
While in the bathroom, I got a washcloth and washed their face, helping them wake up and feel the joy of cleanliness.
Returning to their room, we put the pajamas away and got dressed for the day.
Pick up Their Room
Putting away any toys, especially if they woke up before mom and had quiet play time, helped with the fresh start.
As they completed their morning chores, I would use the time to talk about how good they were doing on their big girl chores! Upon completion, their reward was accompanying mommy downstairs to breakfast, followed by playtime.
It seems so simple, but these five basic chores, practiced with consistency, can become a lifesaver. They teach basic habits of cleanliness, self care, and consideration of others. By the time I had three little girls and was pregnant with my first son, I had the help of the oldest two being self sufficient in the early morning hours, allowing me to focus my attention on the toddler.
The week my oldest married, I walked into her room around 7am to chat with her about the wedding and found her picking up her room. She had already made her bed, brushed her teeth, washed her face, got dressed, and was finishing her five. Oh, yeah, she added makeup to her routine. My heart did a little skip! The habit stuck, and it helped her from childhood all the way to adulthood.
Each of our families have different priorities and needs, but finding and planning a morning routine that can instill healthy habits as well as good character will not only be helpful to them, but will also help keep those early parenting years more structured and stress free.