Practical Advice for a Stellar Tween Morning Routine + FREE Checklist

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Seems like every morning it’s a flat out battle to get kids up and ready ON TIME for school. Continued reminders about what they need to be sure to do….. even though they do it EVERY SINGLE MORNING so you’d think they’d have it down packed by now. I was just thinking as I was having my daily battle this morning, there has to be an easier way. Just recently, there were plans to go hang out with friends, my son scurried to get ready like a “bobcat with a bird under his tail”..... Who can guess where that quote came from??

How is it, they can quickly eat, shower and be ready to go when the destination is somewhere they’re anxious to go but, the regular shmegular everyday takes so much hand holding?! I’ve had enough, I gave my son forewarning this morning that this daily battle is no more and things were going to change.

I’ve come up with 4 strategies to implement for a stellar tween morning routine.

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1. CHECK THE LIST. What us moms consider dressed and ready to go is not always what our kids consider dressed and ready to go. They’ll look at us dumbfounded when we ask “Did you remember to brush your teeth and put on deodorant?” As if it’s optional. Having a checklist of things that need to get done to TRULY be ready to go is a must. I have to get super specific with my checklist because my son often “forgets” to do things.

These are some things I put on my checklist:

  • lotion

  • deodorant

  • brush your tongue

  • gargle

They can check it off as they go or at the end after everything is done. Here’s my checklist just to give you an example. You can download this customizable template below for FREE. 

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2.  BLOCK THEIR TIME. As adults, we know the benefit of time blocking and working on 1 and only 1 particular task for a specified amount of time. Let’s face it, our kids don’t really have a good grasp on the concept of managing time. They just hear us saying hurry and do this, hurry and do that while not realizing how much time it actually takes to do certain things. My second tip to getting the youngins on task to get themselves ready is just to block their time for them. Give them a certain amount of time to achieve a, b, c. Be sure to have a clock near that they can see and keep track of the time. I’ve added time blocks to my checklist as you can see above.

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3. REWARDS AND CONSEQUENCES. I feel it's always good to offer an incentive to encourage the improvements you want to see your children. Do this just because I said so may work for a while but, you’ll soon be back to the usual circle of chaos without offering the kiddos something in exchange for their diligence. My son loves to have some screen or video game time after he gets ready in the morning so, that was easily the perfect incentive for me to offer. However, it is important to make your kids understand that the reward can also be taken away as a consequence for not staying on task and getting their list checked off. Your reward and consequences do not have to be the same, just make sure it’s something your kids desire to do and don’t want to have taken away.

4. THE FOLLOW THROUGH. The last and final step to implementing this morning routine is to follow through, Particularly with the rewards and consequences. We’ve all been guilty of not sticking to our guns and letting things slide as far as our kids are concerned. It’s that ooey gooey sticky love we have for them that just makes our stone cold facade melt like ice on a hot summer day. Stick to your guns mamas. Don’t let them get the best of ya.

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BONUS TIP: THE ONCE OVER. Once my son is done with all that he’s supposed to do and before he gets rewarded for his efforts, I like to give him ‘the once over”. This is where I do a quick check to make sure he’s actually done the things on the checklist versus just checking them off in vain. If there’s ash on a knee or crust in an eye, I send him back for a redo. This redo time will “conveniently” cut into his reward time. Perhaps the redos will be few and far between if we’re cutting into the fun time.

It’s time for you to chime in. Let me know any additional tips you have to turn those school morning battles around. I can’t wait to hear your ideas.

Please share below or join the conversation over on Instagram @standardsofsuccess.


Best Sunday Setup Routine to Simplify Your Week

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Your weekend is on the downslope and it’s time to kick this Sunday into high gear. I’ve compiled a few ideas to implement into your Sunday routine for a better week. When you know what needs to be done and you put a system in place to get it done, life just runs smoothly.  Here are some things I like to do.

“BY FAILING TO PREPARE, YOU ARE PREPARING TO FAIL”

― 
Benjamin Franklin

Food On the Brain. The first thing I like to do is get out my recipe binder and see if there’s any “old faithfuls” in there I’d like to make. My “old faithfuls” are tried and true recipes that I know are fan favorites in my household. Usually, I try to pick out 1 recipe that we’ve never had before to see if it can make it to the list of “old faithfuls”. My favorite place to find recipes is Pinterest. Besides family recipes I’ve learned over the years, Pinterest is my number one go to spot to find something new.

PLAN

sunday setup 2.jpg
  • What’s on the calendar this week that might effect dinner time?

  • Do I have any crockpot or freezer meals on deck to go?

  • What ingredients do I have already that need to be used up?

  • How many meals do I need to plan on making?

My main focus when planning is usually on dinners. I sometimes make some things like egg bites for breakfasts to be eaten throughout the week but, I usually have quick breakfast options that I can prepare in the mornings. Lunches usually often consists of salads or leftovers from the night before so not much need for planning there.Once I have my dinner menu lined up, I decide what parts I will prep ahead of time and put any needed ingredients on the grocery list.

Get Your Space In Order. Chores. Yes, chores. This is my necessary evil of every Sunday. Getting started on the things I need to do inside the house first and errands second are how I like to approach this.

  1. Laundry

  2. Cleaning rooms in the house

  3. Clean out the refrigerator

  4. Grocery shop

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A list that seems so short takes up quite a bit of time. This is where my good friend DELEGATE comes in. Let the kids get in on all this fun mom action. I typically start washing the laundry on Saturdays, Sunday is when my son helps with folding. I go through the kitchen with my phone and type up my grocery list.

Organize Your Threads. Take some time to check  the upcoming week’s weather forecast so you can plan your and your little’s (depending on their age) outfits for the week. Getting your clothes laid out and ready for the week saves tons of time in the mornings. Make your you try on your looks just to make sure you like the way you’ve paired everything. I can’t tell you how many times I have an outfit picked out in my head but, I’m not liking how it looks once I put it on.

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Clean Out Your Bag. Raise your hand if your purse is a “catch all”? I’ve literally been told my purse feels like it has bricks in it. My bag can get so loaded with randomness it’s ridiculous. Those receipts, coins, papers, and empty granola bar wrappers can certainly pile up, and that’s the last thing you want to carry with you into a new week. Take a few minutes on Sunday to clean out the inside of your purse and make sure you’re  prepared with the necessities you’ll need for the next day.

Take Some Time to Relax. You’ve just spent most of the day planning for the week. It’s time to concentrate on you. If I can be so lucky, I like to be done with my Sunday routine by 6 pm on Sunday night. After 6 is my time to relax for the evening. I like to have my shower and just enjoy my time before bed.  

Do you have a routine set in place to make your week smoother? Please share some of your tips below.


5 Useful Tips for a Self Sufficient Tween

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“Mom, I can do it by myself.” Imagine the tinge of sadness I felt inside when I first heard this a year ago. I learned my “baby” did not need me to walk him to the entrance for school every morning. I had been doing this since kindergarten. It made me happy but, my little boy could do it by himself from now on. That was one of many occasions where I heard those “dreadful” words “Mom, I can do it by myself.”

As our kids get older and more independent it can sometimes be a struggle where to differentiate between what you can still do for them and what they can do for themselves. Although sometimes saddening, this is a good thing. Self sufficiency should be encouraged.

“IT’S NOT WHAT YOU DO FOR YOUR CHILDREN, BUT WHAT YOU HAVE TAUGHT THEM TO DO FOR THEMSELVES THAT WILL MAKE THEM SUCCESSFUL HUMAN BEINGS”

-ANN LANDERS

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1. Try not to get involved. Watching your child do something the “wrong” way or seeing how long it takes them to do something you could breeze through in much less time is sometimes “difficult” to watch. Sometimes we want to take over. We want to get it done quickly to move on to the next thing. Stop doing this moms (myself included….lol). It’s fine to offer assistance or let them know there’s an easier way to do it but, your kids must be given the opportunity to figure it out on their own.

2. No more mom to the rescue. We learn no lessons without failure. Allow your tween to take responsibility for his actions taking care of his business.

  • forgetting things at home that they need for school

  • not getting assignments done on time

  • behaving in a way that results in the loss of privileges

  • losing things that they need to keep up with

    I had to learn this lesson the hard way, when my now college student was younger, she was notorious for leaving things at home. Time and time again, I would rush things to the school in the mornings on the way to work just to make her life easier. One morning, I get the usual panicked text requesting that I bring something that was forgotten, I responded simply “no”. I explained that was not my responsibility to take care of her business and she would have to suffer the consequences of not being prepared. It took a few more times of suffering those consequences for her to get it but, it happened.

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3. Encourage Self Advocacy. It is important that our children know how to stand up for themselves. Us parents will not and cannot always be there to fight their battles. Encouraging your children to advocate for themselves gives them confidence in their own abilities and character. Of course there are times when as a parent, you will have to become involved in certain situation but, the initial step should be taken by your child. Be sure to let your child know that you support them in their efforts and will be in the background to help them in any way that you can.

4. Provide Age Appropriate Responsibilities. Let the kids get in on all this fun mom action.

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  • folding laundry

  • vacuuming

  • cleaning

  • helping prepare meals

    These are all tasks which could be delegated to your tween. It’s never to early to teach your children life skills they will someday need. The only way they will become proficient is be allowed the opportunity to practice. I’ve recently started doing this with my son and to be perfectly honest, I was surprised how good he was at it. I automatically assumed I would have to go behind him to do touch-ups but, seeing as though I had never given him the opportunity to do it before, I wouldn’t have known. He enjoys helping me prep meals, it’s another opportunity for us to bond. He’s trying to get me to allow him to wash dishes, yes wash dishes….. well load the dishwasher I should say. I don’t know if I’m ready for that yet. Stuck on food really chaps my hide. I simply say to him “The day I start asking you to wash dishes, is the day you won’t want to do it.” LOL. Another tip to remember when starting out giving your kids chores is to give them specific instructions on how to complete the task. Say “put all the laundry in the basket” and “put the toys in the chest” versus “clean your room”.

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5. Don’t lower the boom on ‘em. Let your tweens know ahead of time what is to be expected of them going forward. Let them know you are giving them more responsibility because they are growing up and should no longer be treated as “babies”. My son loves when I acknowledge how “grown up” he is now. Let your child know you will continue to be available for support or to answer any questions but, you are putting them in charge of new things. Having this discussion ahead of time will make for a smoother transition for you and your family.

How are you handling your kids growing up?

Do you have any tips of your own?

How Busy Moms Spend Less Time in the Kitchen

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Does getting a hot meal on the table trigger a pain point for you?

Do you even like cooking?

Not only do you have to cook but, let’s not forget shopping for the groceries to cook said meals, whew!

Let me let you in on a little secret, I DON’T LIKE COOKING. There I said it. I have been down this road before many a time but, it wasn’t until I finally bit the bullet and decided to do something to make this task easier for myself that my outlook changed.

Here are my points of annoyance when it comes to cooking. Let me know if you can relate?

  • What should I cook?

  • Grocery shopping

  • The cutting, chopping and peeling of it all

  • Waiting for the food to get done

 

What should I cook? I’m tired of making the same ol’ things?

If you’re like me, preparing the same things over and over again, don’t give you warm and fuzzy feelings about cooking to begin with. This is when I discovered Pinterest. I had previously only used Pinterest to find a cake design for my kids’ birthday parties or a nail design that I wanted to try. It was purely by chance that I realized that there are loads of recipes on Pinterest. I’ve tried many, some were a hit and some not so much but, thanks to Pinterest I have added quite a few options to my list of family favs. This has really helped me add some variety to my kitchen table.

Do you like going to the grocery store?

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Um, I’m not a fan. Well, that’s not entirely true. If I can get in and out before 9 am then I don’t mind it as much. I want to be there and done before everyone else gets there.  I want the store to myself. I don’t want to have to say “excuse me, can I get by?” or patiently wait for someone else to sift through the tomatoes that I want until it’s my turn. Although I am a morning person and I am up early on the weekends, I don’t always get to go to the store early in the a.m. My son usually sleeps in on the weekend and my husband works on Saturdays. My solution to this problem is online grocery shopping.

I know what you’re saying, doesn’t that cost money? Well yes….sometimes. I feel like the small service fee is worth retaining my sanity. Also,  on the app when you order the groceries there is often a coupon associated with the pickup service fee so sometimes its free. You should definitely give it a try if you haven’t already.

1. It helps you not to overspend since you order only what’s on your list.

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2. Reduces the chance of going to the drive thru because of grocery shopping dread

3. You can reload your cart from previous purchases to make checkout even faster

So now that you’ve got your food, I guess you gotta cook it, right?

Here’s my checklist to get me in and out of the kitchen as quickly as possible.

  • COOK AROUND DINNER TIME. (my favorite tip)

How do you cook around dinner time?

Prepare components which will take the longest to cook ahead of time. I cook in the morning before work and in the evening before bed for a future day’s meal.  Get up about an hour ahead of everyone else during the week. This will give you time to get a few things done including dinner for that night. It’s not unusual for me to get up in the morning and get the chicken in the oven or the ground beef on the stove. Get the things going that will take about an hour or less to prepare then, you can just refrigerate them before you leave the house for the day.

  •  PICK A MEAL PREP DAY.

Do you have a meal prep day?

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For me this is Sunday afternoon. I usually start this after I’ve picked up my online grocery order.When you don’t have to go inside the store and through the aisles, you tend to have more energy, ya know. “Alexa, play 90s hits”… turn on your favorite tunes,  pull out your favorite kitchen knife and some ziplock bags…. time to get started.

1.Wash and cut up your fruit so it’s easy to grab and go

2.Wash and cut any veggies for the upcoming week’s meals

3.Make some snack bags/boxes for on the go snacks

4. Prep your future freezer meals

 

  • PUT ONE DISH MEALS ON YOUR MENU

Can you say quick and easy?

Selecting one dish or dump and go freezer meals are a life saver particularly for weeknight meals. You can put a meal together in half the time and with less the dishes.

 

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  • INVEST IN AN INSTANT POT

This is my newest best friend.

Can you believe I had my Instant Pot for months before I actually used it? Now I rarely cook a meal without it. The speed at which I get dinner done when using it is so worth it. I oftentimes find myself looking for ways to turn stove top recipes into Instant Pot recipes.

 

Alrighty! Did we miss anything? Do you have some tips of your own to share?