During the school year, we tend to keep it all together. Mornings can be crazy, but we usually have it down to a science, and everyone knows what’s expected.
Then summer arrives – later nights, lazy mornings, less pressure. Before we realize it, it’s lunchtime, and the kids are still in their pajamas. Or we face the opposite, with kids who are so excited that there is no school that they will be jumping on our beds and poking us in the face at 5 am.
We need routines in the summer just as much as we need them during the school year. We can still have our slower, lazy mornings. A routine just helps us to get going when it’s time to get going without losing the entire day.
Benefits of routine
And more than that, routines are just plain good for us. Routine has been called a building block for physical and mental health. Without routines, many people suffer from stress, poor sleep, poor eating and exercise habits, and ineffective use of time. There can be more serious effects too, such as insecurity and anxiety. Children especially benefit from knowing what is coming and knowing what is expected of them.
Some of us like to have every moment of our days scheduled, and some of us like the freedom to do what we feel like doing at any moment. Having at least a morning routine helps even us Type B people to get done what we need to, allowing us time to do more of what we’d like.
How to do it
It’s pretty straightforward to set up a morning routine for our kids and to make it fun at the same time.
You can use sign language as you teach your routines, and then continue to practice the signs your kids have learned. Kids love to sign, and you can use the signs to make a game about what to do next in your routine.
First, have a clear wake-up time, either to contain our 5am kids or to rouse our sleepyheads. Your wake up times may vary day-to-day, perhaps being later because of a late night or earlier because you have big plans for the day. Either way, set a clear time for kids to stay in their rooms quietly or to be awake for the day. Early risers could watch their favorite Signing Time videos or listen to their favorite Signing Time songs while waiting for the rest of the family to wake up.
Secondly, have clear expectations for breakfast, getting dressed, and chores. For example, will we be dressed before or after breakfast? What chores are expected daily before we play?
This sounds like a lot, but it takes very little time. If my big kids are up by 8:00 and my younger ones stay in their rooms until 7:00, here is how the schedule might look:
8:10 Unload dishwasher
8:15 Breakfast and clean up
8:30 Brush teeth, do hair, make beds
8:40 Bathroom jobs
8:45 Chores around the house
9:00 Free to play or go somewhere or do the day’s fun plans
The earlier risers may have gotten started earlier, and would be done earlier. We can work around different wake up times, and the expectations are still known because they are the same each day. If we have to hurry one morning, we all know what must be done and how long it should take.
You can decide what works best for your family and what you want them to do in the mornings. Once you decide, make it clear to your kids. It will take some work to get it going and consistent, and it will take reminding from you for a while, but once your kids are sure of their routines, it becomes automatic no matter what time your mornings get started.
Visuals and Signs
Visuals can be a wonderful tool for your kids to remember your morning routine. The internet is full of morning routine printable cards which make it more fun, especially for little ones. Here is a link to our Signing Time Chore Chart.
And here are some signs you can use in your routines:
Implementing a simple morning routine for your kids can help all of you enjoy your summer days and make some natural time to work in some sign language.
Want more signs? Check out My Signing Time and get a free 14-day trial.
We’d love to hear from you! Do you have a morning routine in place? What kind of things would you include in your family’s morning routine?