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Morning routines?

  1. You have chosen to ignore posts from medfordcc. Show medfordcc's posts

    Morning routines?

    Hi all, this is a borderline toddler / preschooler question.  But DD is 2.5 and I'm looking at the future, so thought I'd post it here for those of you with experience.  :)

    We really have no morning routine.  On 2 weekend days, DH and I are both there, on 2 weekdays it's just me and we're not rushing out of the house, on 1 weekday it's my mom (not rushing), and the remaining 2 weekdays we go to daycare.  Lately we're having problems with getting ready for the day (dressed, breakfast, etc) and crankiness, particularly on days we don't have daycare.  It seems like we let her noodle around in her PJ's or whatever, but then she doesn't want to get dressed or eat breakfast and she gets all cranky.

    So I'm thinking we need to establish a morning routine, like we have a bedtime routine, and follow it every day, even though we may not need to be any place.  What do your 2.5 - 3 year olds do?

    Our other issue is that she really is not interested in eating breakfast, but then sometimes will get cranky from hunger (?) towards 9:30 or 10.  They have snack/breakfast at daycare at 9:30, so I guess she's used to that timing (she may or may not eat before we leave for daycare).  But on other days, one of her Grown Ups is often trying to get her someplace by 10 (story time or whatever) so I hate to leave the house with her having had nothing.  Just not sure if it's worthwhile to continue to have her sit at the table at "breakfast time" when she's not hungry.

  2. You have chosen to ignore posts from stefani2. Show stefani2's posts

    Re: Morning routines?

    hi med.  hmm. 

    we have a very standard routine in my house - 7 days a week the kids (27ish months) wake up, we get dressed, brush teeth and then head downstairs for breakfast.  while i dress one of them the other will read/play and vice versa, but the whole ordeal is pretty focused on getting that stuff done.  on weekends when there's no rush, we sometimes dawdle (sp?) and read/play a bit upstairs before getting dressed; on the other days i'm trying to get them dressed and down before i leave for work and DH takes over the day/drop-off/etc.  they don't usually eat a ton at breakfast, but they do usually have something - milk at least.  and then we do a snack at 9:30 or 10am.  re: DD not being hungry at breakfast - maybe she's just too worked up b/c of all the playtime/stimulation she gets when she gets up?  i'd try to establish a routine involving the breakfast table, i think - even if it's a very short stint.  at some point she's bound to be hungry when she wakes up?  HTH.

  3. You have chosen to ignore posts from misslily. Show misslily's posts

    Re: Morning routines?

    We all wake up when the twins wake (these days thankfully around 7:00). They play upstairs and 'help" mommy get dressed (I shower at night). And then we head downstairs - I offer milk in sippys right away and I offer something for breakfast - sometimes they eat it and sometimes they don't. If they don't eat, I offer some sort of snack in about an hour - fruit, yogurt, crackers - sometimes even a cookie - just to get something in them. At some point after the milk and meal (or no meal) we get dressed. I still keep most of their clothes in plastic bins downstairs so I dress them in the kitchen/family room. If I know we need to go somewhere like preschool or some appointment I keep an eye on the clock and start 45 minutes before I want to leave. That leaves lots of extra time for "I don't want to get dressed!" or "I don't like what you picked!" (always DD).

    If all else fails with the food, I give them goldfish in the car so they don't have an empty stomach!

    So I'd say we could use a better morning routine - but I'm not too worried about it just yet. Maybe when we hit kindergarten and have to be out the door by 8:10am we'll have something more structured. I do worry about not making them sit down to breakfast, buy DS espeically isn't hungry in the morning and I don't want to force him.

  4. You have chosen to ignore posts from medfordcc. Show medfordcc's posts

    Re: Morning routines?

    Thanks, guys!  I'm kind of laughing because you both manage this with twins and I can barely wrangle my one kid!

    Our place is all one floor, so I think the lack of transition from upstairs to downstairs is making it easier (for me) to just let her wander and play.  The last couple of days I kept her in her room after getting her up, until she was changed and dressed.  That seemed to help a lot, actually.  But, still not hungry for breakfast!  It's hard for me to understand, because I wake up SO hungry, but DH insists he never ate breakfast until he started living with me.

    I'm feeling good about having more of a "routine", but the food will continue to be a quandary.  I don't usually give her food in the car, yet the car is my dilemma about the empty stomach - because an AM car ride on an empty stomach is when she is most likely to get car sick.  We were driving to the library the other day (15 minutes tops) and she's yelling, "I don't want to throw up, Mommy!!!"  Makes it hard to parallel park.  :)

  5. You have chosen to ignore posts from rama8677. Show rama8677's posts

    Re: Morning routines?

    Med, what about giving her a drink in the car?  We've had luck with those yogurt smoothies they sell in the grocery store.  You can stick a straw in the foil part and it's not too messy.  A little high in sugar but it could do the trick to get something into her tummy and prevent carsickness and the crankiness! 

    I was really reluctant to give DD anything to eat in the car because of choking (and I am still nervous about it) but it definitely works.  She likes those soft nutrigrain type bars (we get them at trader joes) filled with fruit. I  figure it's safer because of the lack of sharp edges... :)

  6. You have chosen to ignore posts from KMMZ1012. Show KMMZ1012's posts

    Re: Morning routines?

    My husband does DS's morning routine because I leave for work before 7. DS is usually up between 6:30 and 7 and he doesn't eat a full breakfast at home.  He has a "snack" because he prefers to eat breakfast at preschool (usually just cereal, which we have, but I think he likes to eat with his friends).  His snack ranges from a piece of fruit to yogurt to a cereal bar.

    He actually prefers to eat something small when he wakes up, even on the weekends when we all have breakfast together.  He'll eat scrambled eggs or pancakes later on in the morning (eight or nine o'clock) after his snack.  We even call it his snack because he doesn't think of it as breakfast.

  7. You have chosen to ignore posts from kargiver. Show kargiver's posts

    Re: Morning routines?

    Med, I obviously don't have personal experience, but I do know that routine, generally speaking, is proven to reduce anxiety, a big cause of crankiness in humans of all ages.  So, I think your instinct is spot on, that establishing a routine regardless of the daily itinerary should help a LOT.

  8. You have chosen to ignore posts from medfordcc. Show medfordcc's posts

    Re: Morning routines?

    Kar, so true.  And she's really proud of her bedtime routine and explains it to babysitters so they'll do everything in the "right" order.  I think we got extra out of whack during the holidays because no daycare and we were all home for a week - she would ask to go look at the tree, and those PJ-holiday-lights-snuggles were hard for me to resist!

    Rama - ha ha about the no sharp edges!  When she first discovered cereal bars a couple of months ago, she would definitely go for those, but unfortunately now she's uninterested again.  She found out about the premade yogurt smoothies this weekend and LOVED them, but I'm a little hesitant she might chug the whole thing in the car and then throw THAT up!  :)

  9. You have chosen to ignore posts from kargiver. Show kargiver's posts

    Re: Morning routines?

    I'm sure you'll have mornings under control in no time. :)

    Oh, and I just read your carsick breakfast quandary.  I have suffered from extreme motion sickness since I was born.  My mom used to have to give me 1/2 a Dramamine for a ride to the store.  Anyway, here's a solution, I think - get her to have as little as a saltine or two before she gets in the car - even if she's not hungry yet for a full breakfast if you tell her that little bit will keep her from throwing up in the car she'll probably go for it.  If I ate in the car as a toddler it didn't help and, in fact, made it more likely that I'd get sick fast because I had to take my eyes off the road to focus on what I was eating, and looking out the window for 100% of the ride helped a lot.  

    ETA: In fact, if she has anything in the car that distracts her from looking outside, I'd take that away and, if she objects, make a game of something that forces her to look outside the whole time, never down in her lap.

  10. You have chosen to ignore posts from KAM2007. Show KAM2007's posts

    Re: Morning routines?

    I wish I had some suggestions! DS is a totall wreck in the AMs-and we have a routine. At age 4 things have gotten a little bit better with getting him dressed & out of the house. Did have to threaten that he would go to school in his PJs twice...and had most of us walking to the car before he stepped too and got dressed. His issue is he is completely capable of getting himself dressed, but won't always wants us to help him. grrr. A habit I must break, but don't have the energy right now.

    The KAM cafe serves up those organic Kids Cliff bars in the car with some milk. We would never get anywhere if I had to feed the kids at the table in the AM. or I'd have to start to get everyone up at 4am... But most AMs DS will grab some fruit from the fruit bowl-sometimes just for a bite then will put it back (lovely).

    And we do not stick to our "routine" on the weekends. If I'm going no where why have the struggle...

    One thing that does help with a grumpy preschooler is humor. DS refused to go to the bathroom yesterday AM, so I sat on the comode until his cries went from "I don't want to pee" to "I have to pee." And I've been known to put his clothes on myself.

  11. You have chosen to ignore posts from misslily. Show misslily's posts

    Re: Morning routines?

    Medford - I probably didn't give them anything to eat in the car until they were 3 years old. And even then DH freaked out. Now I always have some goldfish in the glove box. DD gets car sick too. I got her the children's sea bands:

    They work great for us. We call them her special bracelets.Thankfully I got a few pair because the other day we had to go to Stoneham (25 miles for us) for hearing aid stuff and DS wanted to wear a pair too! She, of course, didn't, so I had to put mine on too! Thankfully I still had the ones I wore when I was pregnant - they really helped with the morning sickness. :)

    And when I can't get my son to eat I offer Stonyfield Super Smoothies ( the regular adult kind) in a sippy cup. He LOVES them.

    I'm going to work on my morning routine too - except weekends when we love to lounge in our PJ's and send Dada out for donuts!

  12. You have chosen to ignore posts from kargiver. Show kargiver's posts

    Re: Morning routines?

    KAM, the anxiety relief that comes from having a daily routine that never changes comes from the child always knowing what to expect.  If you have a 5 day on, 2 day off "routine" a toddler can't know what any particular morning will bring.  This can feel chaotic to them and that, in turn, gets translated to morning stress.

  13. You have chosen to ignore posts from medfordcc. Show medfordcc's posts

    Re: Morning routines?

    Kar, I think it might depend somewhat on what your kid is having trouble with, though.  My DD seems to be getting cranky as a result of not having a routine, as you describe.  Sounds like KAM's 4 yo might just object to the getting ready in and of itself, so might be okay with the break on the weekends.

    So funny about the carsick / sea bands / dramamine.  Misslily, I bought the kid sea bands on your recommendation!  We had a 2.5 hour each way car trip last weekend (ridiculous) and it was the first time she wore them.  She really liked wearing them, and she didn't get sick.  However, we also had well timed trips, plus we gave her some meds!  I was totally prepared to give her Dramamine and even bought the kids' chewables.  Then I decided to just check with her pediatrician about it.  He recommended that we start with a small amount of benadryl instead!  I was pretty surprised, but he said it has many of the same properties, plus she had taken it in the past so we knew how she would tolerate it.  So we did it, and she slept the first two hours, even though it was early for her nap time, and thankfully when we stopped to wake her up, she was not groggy or disoriented.  Personally, I love taking Dramamine for flights and whatnot, but I am a bit stupid when I wake up.

  14. You have chosen to ignore posts from kargiver. Show kargiver's posts

    Re: Morning routines?

    Absolutely, there are many factors in what is being experienced.  My only point is that if a routine is going to have any anxiety reducing power it has to be a real routine meaning it's the same every day and, as inconvenient and unnecessary as it might seem, that includes weekends.  I didn't mean to imply that if you have a real routine all will be perfectly calm.  She seemed to be saying, "We have a routine, but it doesn't help," and I was offering a reason as to why what they are doing is not a true routine in the strictest sense and therefore shouldn't be expected to help.

    ETA: I'm not even implying one shouldn't have relaxed, pjs, cuddly mornings on the weekends, per se, just that if you choose to do that you can't concurrently expect your 5/2 "routine" to have an effect.

  15. You have chosen to ignore posts from KAM2007. Show KAM2007's posts

    Re: Morning routines?

    Kar-yes, routines help. But for us, the routine is 5 days on 2 days off. And who doesn't love to lounge on the weekend in their jammies? He knows the days of the week, and what to expect and when to expect it.

    I'm sure Med will find that with age, things do get better, though not fully resolved. But it sounds like for her a routine will help. And a solution for the car sickenss-sorry to hear about that!

  16. You have chosen to ignore posts from kargiver. Show kargiver's posts

    Re: Morning routines?

    I'm not judging slower paced jammie weekends, for sure. There's nothing wrong with what you're doing with respect to weekdays v weekends.  Everything has pros and cons, of course.  I just wanted to clarify that the benefits you hear about having a routine apply best to routines that are maintained over the weekends even if he knows the difference. That's not to imply that's what I think you should be doing.

  17. You have chosen to ignore posts from misslily. Show misslily's posts

    Re: Morning routines?

    A morning routine is pretty easy to keep on the weekends if necessary. kids wake up early anyway so if the routine is wake, potty, brush teeth, get dressed, downstairs for breakfast and play- there is no reason to change on Sat. and Sun. Mom and Dad can have bedhead and jammies though! :)

    My weird morning routine evolved when my kids were 2 and we started going to Music Together and EI playgroup. If  got them dressed too soon, they stood at the door ready to go, so I moved the dressing part to the end of the morning. It also means no breakfasts stains on clothes which eliminates a last minute change in the morning.

    Sometimes just remembering to tell your kids what is going on is all that is needed. A simple "today is playgroup - we're going to get dressed and go out." or "Today is an at home day - Daddy has gone for coffee and donuts and we're going to have a treat when he gets home." is all that is necessary. And give warnings - kids can't tell time, so break it up - five more minutes playing and then we need to get dressed. Then you can play some more before we get into the car.

    Good luck!

  18. You have chosen to ignore posts from CT-DC. Show CT-DC's posts

    Re: Morning routines?


    other than what you're already doing (humor works wonders and usually also keeps you from wringing his neck), can I suggest two things:

    1. get him up 15 minutes earlier, so that mornings aren't too hectic and you have more time to manage him to success.

    2. create a list of "things he does in the morning" that has about 3 or 4 things on it.  write it together, using symbols as well as words. something like:

    1.  Pee in the toilet (picture of toilet)

    2.  Have breakfast (picture of food)

    3.  Get dressed (picture of socks, pants, shirt, shoes)

    4.  Get in car (pic of car)

    then you give him a tiny (cool) clipboard and pen and hand him a new checklist every morning on this clipboard.  he does the thing, then crosses it off, then moves on to the next thing.  The idea is that YOU aren't the one managing/telling/reminding/arguing/yelling/cajoling, etc him to do the next thing and the LIST is the BOSS vs. Mom and Dad being the boss.

    Sometimes this works on kids who get off purpose and are dawdling over in the corner, sans clothing, breakfast, etc.  I used this with a child in preschool - it was a constant battle to do the after lunch/before nap routine of clean up lunch box, brush teeth, put blanket on mat, get book, get onto mat.  So all I had to say was "Daniel, check your list, what's next?" when he was off purpose, and he'd get right back on task.  Otherwise, you have to ask a zillion questions to find out where he is in the routine (did you put your lunchbox away? have you brushed your teeth and used the potty?  where is your blanket, on your mat?  blah blah.  Given we had 21 preschoolers, I could tell when someone was off purpose, but not necessarily know what they needed to be doing.  Other kids you could say "what do you need to do?" and they'd know, but he needed more direction. (funny, he's graduated from college by now, I wonder what he's doing?)

  19. You have chosen to ignore posts from medfordcc. Show medfordcc's posts

    Re: Morning routines?

    Oooh, my DD would love the clipboard plan.  They have clipboards at daycare (for the kids' daily sheets) and she's always pretending to have a clipboard at home.

    For me personally, I'm already seeing an improvement just from doing diaper/daytime clothes immediately after getting her.  Breakfast is ongoing!  I did let her sit in a "big grown up chair" instead of her booster this morning, and that may have helped.  One thing that did work well a couple of weeks ago was when she helped me make pancake batter.  She worked on the task and then was really ready to sit at the table as the next step.  She really likes to help, so I'm hopeful that things will continue to improve as there are more things she can actually do, like pour milk or cereal.  (I'm definitely not whipping up pancakes on work days!)

  20. You have chosen to ignore posts from lissafro. Show lissafro's posts

    Re: Morning routines?

    Part of our routine has always revolved around picking clothes.  DD has always cared about her outfits.  She's been pretty insistent on what she wants to wear since she was 18 months old.  We let her wear what she wants, as long as it makes sense for the weather (if she wants to wear her rainbow tank top she's got to pick a thermal shirt to go under it, for example). Anyway, it takes forever and takes even longer if she senses you're trying to rush her because she's stubborn.  So part of our routine starts the night before.  She picks out her clothes and lays them out in the same spot.  She takes this routine very seriously.

    In the morning I help her get dressed under the covers.  I say "feet!" and she sticks her feet out and I put on her socks, underwear, and pants.  I say "Arms!" and she sticks her hands out for her shirt, etc.  It's like a game.  Also, on cold winter mornings it's a luxury I'd appreciate. 

    We also pick her morning food the night before and her after school snack the night before.  Also, part of her bedtime routine is to talk about the next day.  On the weekends we play with her duplo blocks right before bed, after she's in pajamas.  Usually DH builds a new castle-type edifice and then she gets in bed.  In the morning she wakes up and plays with it for 40 minutes or so before coming in to get us. 

  21. You have chosen to ignore posts from CT-DC. Show CT-DC's posts

    Re: Morning routines?

    Oh, man, I'd love to be able to play with a duplo castle early in the morning!  I just grab my kindle (what did I do before my wonderful kindle?) and read in bed and don't disturb DH, who can actually sleep late on weekends. Me? I'm up at 8am if not earlier, so frustrating.