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Can I Ever Get out of the House on Time?

August 18th, 2015     By Mother of six-year-old daughter and four-year-old son

Bedtime, Chores, Connecting with Kids, Family, Parent-Child Relationships

Teachable moments can come from a wide variety of sources, including other parents. From time to time parents write blogs for us that we think you will find interesting, useful, or entertaining. Please enjoy this post from a fellow parent.

Is it even possible to get out of the house on time with kids? It is certainly a frequent discussion between my fellow mom friends and myself.

My mornings have changed drastically over the last year. I used to find myself frequently asking the kids to do the same task over and over and over again until we were both so frustrated with each other and the start of our day was officially ruined. I had to do something!

Enter the rewards chart. In our house we call in the D.I.N. chart (short for Do. It. Now.). We use it throughout the day but primarily at bedtime and wake-up time.

At bedtime the kids have four simple tasks they have to complete:

1. Get on PJs
2. Pick out clothes for tomorrow
3. Pick out three bedtime stories
4. Brush teeth

If they are able to complete these tasks as soon as they are asked they can earn up to four smiley faces for their chart. In our house a complete row equals one dollar. The catch – they have to complete their task right away, not in five minutes, not after they finish their game, now. Hence the phrase D.I.N. This is a crucial detail in our house; this puts the ball in their court. If they want to earn the reward, they know what they need to do. No exceptions.

Getting clothes picked out the night before really helps our morning routine; it’s one less thing to worry about it. We still earn D.I.N.s in the morning but the kids also have the possibility of watching one short show while they eat breakfast, IF they complete all their morning tasks in a timely matter. Same amount of tasks in the morning:

1. Get dressed
2. Shoes on
3. Hair combed
4. Hands washed

If these tasks are completed by our set time they get to veg out on a little TV while they enjoy their breakfast, if they don’t get everything done – no TV. We don’t watch a lot of TV in our house so this proves to be a very successful motivator in the mornings and it gives me a little extra time to get lunches ready and finish getting myself ready for the day as well.

After breakfast, its teeth brushed and we are out the door. The crucial step here in my mind is shoes. It sounds silly, but I used to wait and have them put shoes on before we walked out the door but with laces and sock complaints we moved it to before breakfast and TV and that has helped our morning routine go much smoother.

Are mornings perfect in our house? Absolutely not, but setting a routine, establishing expectations and utilizing rewards has really made a huge difference in our household. And, it makes for a much happier morning for mommy.

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