Mornings around this place (especially Mondays) are why I am glad we are a home schooling family! Getting people in this house up and moving is a chore, and I can’t imagine having to get everyone out to school. We did that one year and it added a lot of chaos to our lives. However, if we had this system in place then, getting everyone out the door might have gone more smoothly.
Enter the Morning Cards. There are a lot of things that have to be done in the mornings – making beds, brushing teeth, chores etc. Once a child can read or discern instructions from picture recognition, you can start using the Morning Card system. Now there are many products like this that you can buy, but why spend money on something that you can simply make yourself for much less. Our Morning Cards cost me less that $5 for 2 kids. Here are the basics of how to set up a Morning Card system:
#1. Identify tasks that each child can reasonably be expected to perform with minimal supervision and intervention. This can include making their bed, brushing teeth, getting dressed, combing hair, and various morning chores such as feeding or walking the dog, emptying the dishwasher, packing lunches, etc.
#2. Get index cards, binder clips and wall hooks for each child’s list.
#3. In each child’s color (see Color Coding Your Family: How to Organize Through Color) write each assigned task or chore on an index card. For younger children (or just to be creative) include a picture of something that represents that task (a toothbrush, the dog, etc). Be sure to number each card so that they know what order to do the tasks in. Often children (and us adults to) do nothing because we don’t know where to begin.
#4. Clip a binder clip to each card. Binder clips can often be purchased in bulk at dollar and discount stores. If color or pattern matters, splurge and get something cute. Just know you will get fewer clips for your money that way.
#5. On a spot that the child will see the first thing in the morning and where they can reach, hang a hook for each binder clip. You can use something like Command hooks (what we did) or get really creative and mount a drapery rod that you hang shower curtain hooks on. The important thing here is that each task has its own hook and the child can easily see and reach the hooks. If the child sleeps with the door closed, the back of the door is a good place. A closet door is another good place. If the child is already in the habit of heading to the bathroom first thing in the morning, try using the mirror or bathroom door.
#6. Introduce the system to your child. Explain that these items are things they are responsible for handling by themselves in the morning. Express your faith and trust in your child that he or she is capable of managing these items on their own. Tell your child that when a task is completed they need to turn the card so that the back shows. You can add a check-mark, gold star, smiley-face or other graphic to indicate that the task has been completed on the back of the card.
#7. In the beginning, set a time to check the cards to make sure that the assigned tasks are being performed. Once the habit is established, you will no longer need to check this daily.
#8. At the end of each day (bedtime) have the child flip the cards back to the front so that they can see the tasks for tomorrow.
How do you bring some peace to the required morning tasks? Share your ideas in the comments!