Early Childhood Mental Health Project WIN

Tips and Pyramid Model strategies from the Technical Assistance Center on Social Emotional Intervention for Young Children (TACSEI)
Do you want to have a successful morning with your Preschooler?

Here are tips for a successful morning.
Do you struggle with stressful mornings when you want tolay your head down and cry before 8:00 a.m.? Do you oftenleave the house in an angry, frantic rush? Mornings can be aparticularly challenging time for parents. Getting your entire family upand out the door is no easy task! It is important to understand that yourmorning routine serves as the foundation for your family’s entire day. Youcan create a morning routine that not only helps your day to begin moresmoothly, but also teaches your child important skills that he needs tobecome more independent and confident. A morning routine can alsoreduce challenging behavior such as crying, whining and tantrums. 
1. Use a visual schedule with items such asphotos, clipart, or objects that shows yourchild the steps in his morning routine. This visual schedule can help him to understandthe expectations of the morning routine.To learn more about how to create a visual schedule, go to challengingbehavior.org and search the site for “visual schedules” in thesearch box located in the upper right-handcorner of the screen.

2. If your child has trouble waking up in the morning, it might be because he isnot getting enough sleep at night. Set a consistent bedtime and stick with it. Whena child’s bedtime changes it can make it harder for him to wake up in the morning. For more information on bedtime routines,go to challengingbehavior.org and searchthe site for “bedtime routines” in the searchbox located in the upper right-hand cornerof the screen. 

3.Plan Ahead. Use your bedtime routine toplan for the next day together.
  1. Lay out the clothes your child will wear.
  2. Pack his backpack.
  3. Discuss the morning routine, show himpictures and talk about the day ahead.

4.Give your child some power over hismorning routine by offering reasonablechoices. For example, “First, get dressed.Then, you get a choice! Would you like to have cereal or pancakes for breakfast?”

5.Include bonding time in your morningroutine. Time to read, bathe or snuggle willhelp your child feel loved and calm as hebegins his tasks for the day. Encourage your child. When your childcompletes a task and follows the routine,provide positive and specific encouragement. For example, say “Wow! You got up and gotdressed all by yourself! Now we will have afew extra minutes to play with trains. What a great way to start the day!”
Teachers use routines to provide a predictablestructure to your child’s day. When a childunderstands what she should be doing andwhat will come next, she feels less anxiety andmore excited to participate. While the specificactivities in the classroom might change, theroutine does not. For example, while 10:00 mayalways be art time, the specific craft (painting,cutting, gluing) may vary from day to day.Children become eager to try new activitiesbecause they are confident and comfortablewith the routine.
A morning routine is a daily opportunity foryou to build and nurture a positive relationshipwith your child. When you follow a repetitivemorning routine you allow your child to gainpractice with important skills such as dressing,bathing and grooming and give him a feeling ofconfidence and success. A calm, loving morningroutine at home sets the tone for the entire dayfor both you and your child.

How to Help Your Child Have a Successful MorningBy Brooke Brogle,
Alyson Jiron & Jill Giacomini