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Mornings can be stressful for many people. I mean who does not want a few extra minutes or hours of sleep?
Parents are the only ones that have a hard time getting out of bed… kids do to. Especially if they are headed someplace they don’t want to go. But Christmas morning, on the other hand, they have no trouble getting up bright and early!
Parents often stress over how to get their kids up in the morning – especially on school days. Children of all ages need a routine, including toddlers.
Different routines may work for different people, but the sooner you establish a morning routine for toddlers, the better.
Why is a Morning Routine Important?
A morning routine is important because it sets the tone for how your day will progress. It is important to establish a morning routine as early as possible because it teaches toddlers responsibility and instills a sense of self-reliance, competence, and personal control over their morning activities.
Regular schedules help raise children with good behavior. The morning routine in itself makes them feel more in control of a situation.
Morning Routines Help Toddlers Advance Socially and Emotionally
A morning routine can help toddlers socialize better with other children in daycare, kindergarten, or preschool. Since a routine will give them some idea of how their morning is going to be… they will have more confidence when walking into their school knowing what to do next. A confident student will perform better academically.
When toddlers start their morning routines early on, they are better prepared for the day. They know what to expect, which can help ease morning stressors. Routines set children up for success and can help make transitions smoother (transitions to kindergarten, adolescence, etc). Their behavior is more positive when they are in control of their morning.
One of the benefits of having a morning routine is that it allows toddlers to begin doing things on their own. This helps them develop a sense of independence.
Independence provides them with a sense of accomplishment and boosts their confidence. As they gain independence, this also gives parents more morning time to do what they need to do.
There is no one set of habits that everyone should follow, but there are certain fundamentals that should be included in every morning routine… such as setting a regular wake-up time, getting dressed by a certain time and having breakfast.
Children love pictures, so utilize visual aids and colorful charts to help the toddler follow their routine.
Morning Routines Help Parents
As a parent, you can also benefit from a morning routine for toddlers since morning is generally the most stressful part of our day. It clears stress and sets you up for a good day. You won't have to run around after the kids, worry about forgetting things or be late for work.
Mornings can be an important time for family communication before you all head off to work, school, or daycare. A morning routine is an opportunity for parents to bond and connect with the kids.
It is a time when you can ask your children about their day and talk about things that are important to them. Parents can also share a morning story with their toddlers – maybe practice a new word.
Once you go off to work, you can feel good about the fact that you have already spent some quality time with your child.
11 Steps to Establish a Good Morning Routine for Your Toddler
As mentioned before, there are no set rules for a morning routine but following some general basics will help. Your previous nighttime behavior can also play a role in the success of your morning routines.
Here are 11 ideal steps to follow for your toddler's routine:
1. Set a regular wake-up time.
Do this by gradually adjusting the time by 15-minute increments until your toddler wakes up at the desired time. Make sure you get your toddler to sleep at a decent time the night before as well. Enough sleep hours will ensure a morning routine that works.
Follow a bedtime routine that will help your toddler relax and get ready for bed. This might include reading a story, bathing, and brushing teeth.
2. Saying morning prayers or reading morning poems and books.
This is a great way to build spiritual morning habits and get ready for school or daycare. In addition to the spiritual benefits, this is a nice way to add to your toddler's educational success. You can have your child practice spelling or recite what they remember.
3. Get dressed by a certain time.
Have morning clothes ready the night before. This will help avoid morning stress. If your toddler wants to pick out their own outfits, work together the night before.
For better prep, check what the weather will be like the night before so that you can make sure you and your kid dress properly. Get out the snow boots and scarves if needed.
4. Eat a healthy breakfast.
This is very important and can provide the toddler with the energy they need for the day. Watch the sugar level so the toddler does not get too hyper.
5. Brush teeth and hair.
Your toddler may still need some help with this, but try to have them do as much on their own as possible.
6. Have morning playtime.
Playtime motivates toddlers to get dressed and be active instead of being sedentary in front of the TV or tablet. This will also burn off energy so they are not bouncing off the walls when you leave home.
7. Make lunches.
If you have the energy and time to do so, try making lunches or packing snacks the night before. This will save you time in the morning and give your toddler a good morning.
You can even practice making lunches with your toddler if you work on it the night before. This is a good opportunity to discuss nutrition and healthy food with the little one.
8. Create morning routine charts.
These should be simple, colorful, and designed for toddlers. Let them decorate their chart with stickers or drawings for each morning task completed. Keep the charts out in an open place or on the wall in easy view. If you have a whiteboard, your toddler can draw on the chart as well.
9. Take morning walks.
A family walk is a great way to get exercise while spending quality time together. Toddlers have the energy, so you may as well use it while adding to your morning bonding time.
10. Pack backpacks.
Double-check and pack items the night before so you don't forget anything. Work with your toddler at first until they can handle this on their own. Have them practice packing and unpacking at night when you have extra time. Make it fun and time their packing with a stop-watch.
11. Give them a fond farewell.
As soon as you get to your destination, give your toddler some one-on-one attention for a quiet moment. Take a minute, or a few, to practice a flashcard or inspirational poem before parting ways. Recite a positive quote or tell them something you’re grateful for about them.
One way to make morning routines less daunting is to start small and gradually add more items to the routine as the child gets older and becomes more independent. You can also try different routines until you find one that works best for your family.
As with everything else, be patient, consistent, and have fun with it.
Final Thoughts on Morning Routine for Toddlers
A morning routine for toddlers can be a great way to help them get ready for the day. It can also decrease morning stress for both parents and toddlers.
By having a set morning routine, you and your toddler will know what to expect each morning and there will be less chaos.
If you are not confident in your current morning routine, you can research more ideas to help your days start smoothly. To learn more about the importance of a good morning routine, be sure to check out our article How To Create A Morning Routine and Stick To It. Also feel free to share your morning routine tips on our comment board!
Finally, if you want the perfect morning routine, then check out this seven-step process for creating a morning routine that will become a vital part of your daily life.)