The Morning Five

I know we need a new habit when we encounter a predictable pain point in our routine. Lately, our mornings have been rough. We’ve already worked hard on the habits that get me up when my husband wakes up at 5:30 a.m. so that I can workout, read the Bible, unload the dishwasher, and start the coffee, all before my kids come downstairs.

It’s when the kids come downstairs that we were having problems. My kids were hangry. They would turn down oranges. They wanted something to do. They would turn down the math worksheets I’d left out. Meanwhile, I would be struggling to get breakfast on the table.

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The solution came from Farmhouse Schoolhouse, via a friend who had tried out the routine.

  1. Decide on the five most important things for each child to do before breakfast.

  2. Trace Daddy’s hand.

  3. Write one of each of those tasks in each finger.

  4. Place this on the back of the child’s bedroom door.

  5. When the child completes the task, he or she gives Daddy a high-five!

I used the general idea, but made the idea my own with icons from Peaceful Press’s Chore Pack because we use and reuse these chores and my kids are familiar with the graphics.

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The first morning, my son didn’t even say, “Good morning.” He just came downstairs, hunting for a dry-erase marker and got right to work. This was a triple solution for us, because not only does this give me time after my workout to make breakfast, it’s also the perfect part of the day to introduce his personal Bible reading and piano practice.

One thing you’ll notice about habits as I write about them: I borrow wisdom from everywhere: books I read, friends I talk to, conversations with my husband. I invested in a printer, laminator, and paper cutter because there’s one thing that’s guaranteed about parenting: it’s always changing. The next time we need to introduce a habit or skill, I’ll be ready.