Wednesday, March 9, 2016


Are your mornings chaotic? If you have kids, you are probably throwing up both hands and yelling, "YES!!" You can help calm that chaos and have a GOOD MORNING! Here's our low-cost plan... (And remember, you can't put a price on your sanity!)

Let's face it: 

Mornings are madness! 

There's getting the kids up and dressed, cooking and eating breakfast, washing faces, brushing teeth, lunch money or packing lunches, signing papers, doing hair, etc. And then, there's getting yourself ready: packing backpacks, lunches, and brief cases, shower and make-up, etc. And what if you have babies? There's bottles, baby food, diapers, etc. The list goes on...and on...and on...

After one especially bad morning (resulting in a migraine for me), I decided that something had to be done! So, before the grand-kids (ages 4, 6, and 10) left for school, I told them that we would be having a Family Meeting that evening.

Step 1: Family Meeting

Here we go again - another Family Meeting!  We have Family Meetings periodically at out home when we need to discuss a problem that we are having. I always hold the clip board and take notes, and everyone can give suggestions.

I started this Family Meeting by saying, "Okay, kids, what is good with our mornings?" There was silence. When I asked, "What is going badly with our mornings?", everyone wanted to talk! They love to "tell on" each other and blame each other for everything that is going wrong. 

Finally, everyone agreed that we needed A Plan.

Step 2: A Plan

During the day, I had googled "Morning Charts" and clicked "images" to look over possible solutions. I especially liked the interactive morning chart with flaps that could be flipped up when each task was completed. I gathered the kids around the computer and showed them this idea. They thought the interactive morning chart looked like fun, so we decided to make similar charts. We were off to a good start! 

We then came up with a total of 8 tasks for the mornings:
  • Get up on time! (with no fussing)
  • Make your bed.
  • Potty and get dressed.
  • Eat breakfast on time!
  • Take dishes to kitchen.
  • Brush teeth. Comb hair.
  • Off to school on time!
  • Manners and Respect  *No whining, growling, or name-calling!
Of course, Mia asked, "What happens if we do everything?" I asked them what they thought. Mia said, "Give us money!" I told them I didn't want to pay them for what they should be doing anyway. Noah suggested a "Store", and we all liked that idea.

Step 3: Make the Charts!

I thought a piece of poster-board would work well for the Morning Charts, so I divided a sheet into 3 equal parts, with each part being 22" by about 9-3/8".  I drew a line and folded each part slightly off center, and I then drew lines for the 8 tasks. I made the Manners and Respect flap larger because Mommy Heejin said that task was very important!

Note: Please see diagram below for measurements for folding and cutting.

Morning Chart Diagram

I asked if they wanted to draw pictures for each task, but they thought I would do a better job. With that compliment, off course, I agreed to draw the pictures, providing that they did the coloring. Some of the drawings are a little funny, but the kids like them! This drawing activity took a couple of days, but it was worth it!

Next was the coloring...

Mia's Chart pictures

Alex's Chart pictures

...and the cutting and gluing...

Finally, the charts were ready!!

I originally planned to use magnet tape on the Morning Charts, but I couldn't find mine. I told the kids we could use "clip-on" clothespins temporarily, and I would buy more magnet tape. They loved the clothespins, so we just stuck with that idea! 

Mia wrote "done" on the 8 flaps on the outside of her Morning Chart. Since Alex loves Mario, Mia drew Mario pictures on Alex's chart. Noah left his plain.

Each morning, a clothespin is added when each task is completed.

Alex's chart, designed by Mia

Great job! Mia did every task!

Step 4: Chart the Progress!

I record the points earned each morning on a small clipboard that I keep in the kitchen. 

The points are then transferred to a larger chart. I bought this chart and stickers at a nearby educational supply store. Total cost = $4.21

For our Morning Chart, there are 8 tasks. The kids can earn a "Smiley Sticker" for 7 or 8 points each morning. They add their own stickers to the large chart. On weekends we open "Mamaw's Store"

I already had some potential store items leftover from parties, etc., so the kids and I gave them a value: 5 stickers, 10 stickers, and 15 stickers. I asked the kids for suggestions, and I bought some other small items to add to the inventory. (Think Dollar Tree and Clearance!)

5 stickers

10 stickers
15 stickers

When not being used, Mamaw's Store is presently located in Ziploc and zippered bags in my closet. But who knows? Eventually it might be moved to a better location!

How it works: The kids decide what they want, and I use a black Sharpie marker to mark through the number of stickers required to "purchase" that item.

For our our first "Store Opening", Noah and Mia each "purchased" Pokemon Cards. Alex decided to "buy" 2 packs of Gummies! They also planned what they would get next time!

This is what a GOOD MORNING looks like!!

Thumbs up for a GOOD MORNING!

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