How can I get my child to get ready in the mornings for our day ahead?

We all wake up in different states of alertness, and some of us need more motivation to get moving than others…especially our children. Here are a few tips that might help:

  • Make sure the morning routines are known, understood, shared and agreed on (with children old enough to do so). Children love predictability and respond well to knowing what is expected. 
  • Practise the routines in a non-morning timeframe to reinforce what is expected, and ensure the children are skilled to complete the independent tasks required. You could have some fun with this and turn it into a family game, with the adults making some mistakes or ‘not so good choices’ for the child to notice and correct.
  • Visual schedules, checklists or images in order of what the morning routines are, is a great strategy to keep everyone on track. Some children love to tick these off, or ‘post’ them into a box once done…visibly reducing the list. Creating this visual schedule with your child is key to ensure buy in and engagement. 
  • Everyone likes something to look forward to, so once the jobs are done, and if there is time, what will be the positive consequence for your child? This doesn’t need to be television or screen time…but something that will calm them, feed into their likes and creativity, and could be as simple as playing with lego or other toys, drawing, reading, listening to music, exploring sensory toys…something they enjoy. 
  • Have a transition strategy from the house to the car – The hardest part can often be getting everyone out of the house and into the car! So, have something planned. 
    • A box of small toys or gadgets that they only get to use in the car…they choose something at the door to take with them on the journey. 
    • Having books, drawing etc. already in the car will also work, but some of our kids need to hold something in their hands before leaving the house. 
    • Giving the child a final job to do is often a winner, as it gives them a sense of responsibility as a member of the could be using the remote control to open the garage door, or unlocking the car (with adult supervision of course)

Remember to give positive feedback – Make sure your child knows you are recognising the efforts they are making. Descriptive praise* and non-verbal reinforcement (smile, hug, thumbs up, high five etc) can be motivating for a child, as they feel appreciation from the family and experience personal success.


*Descriptive praiseTriple P describes this as something better than ‘general approval’ for encouraging a certain behaviour. Your words actually describe what you see / hear in the desired behaviours e.g. ‘Thank you for listening and well done on moving straight away to pack up your toys’. You need to be clear and specific, and praise works best when parents are genuine and mean what they say.

Have any questions?

Have questions about the content of this blog post or need further insights? Don’t hesitate to reach out to Chris! Your curiosity and feedback are always welcome.