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The nag-free morning routine

Give your kids a to do list

by Shannon Hutton, M.Ed., M.P.A.  |  11869 views  |  6 comments  |        Rate this now! 

Well the first day of school has come and gone. And with that went all the excitement that caused my daughters to be up and ready for school without any prompting. While they still enjoy going to school, getting them out the door started taking some combination of nagging, scolding, reminding, and of course rushing. It got to the point where even I was sick of listening to myself ask the same questions every day.

“Did you brush your teeth?”

“Did you make your bed?”

“Did you put your lunch in your backpack?”


I had to find a way to dial down my nag-o-meter! While I know that we all need to remind our kids to do things, too much nagging is just background noise. So being the Type A mommy that I am (for those of you Type B’s who go with the flow, that means I’m excessively organized and desperately rely on lists to get things done!) I decided to make my kids a morning “To Do” list. Yes, I even typed it. Okay, okay . . . in the interest of full disclosure, I even made two lists. An upstairs list and a downstairs list. (Can you say Type A+? Unfortunately, this is one time when an A+ isn’t such a good thing! But hey, it’s who I am and I’m trying to use it to my advantage to stop nagging.)

I put the upstairs list on their bulletin boards and the downstairs list on the fridge. Now they read what they need to do and my only question is “Did you do your list?” I guess technically, I should ask “Did you do your LISTS?” but you get the idea! Either way, I’m nagging, scolding, reminding and even rushing less. And that’s a good thing.

Such a good thing that, as a school counselor, I advise my parents to do something similar when they come to me saying their mornings are so stressful because they can’t get their kids in gear. For parents of children who aren’t reading yet, I provide a morning list with pictures. For parents who think I’m an organizational freak, you’re right, but it works!






About the Author

Shannon Hutton is a certified School Counselor who counsels students on anger management, social skills, anxiety, divorce, self-esteem, study skills, impulsivity and bullying. She also shares fun kids crafts, coloring pages, easy recipes and simple project ideas at Seasonal Kids Activities and does cool giveaways at Momsational.

Read more by Shannon Hutton, M.Ed., M.P.A.

6 comments so far...

  • Can you provide some example of the morning list, especially the one with pictures, for young kids? I have 3 very young kids (6,4 and 2) and our mornings are absolutely crazy!!!
    Thank you.

    Flag as inappropriate Posted by Miha Cruceana on 1st November 2012

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    Reported Posted by ndks eihds on 17th June 2011

  • Hi Lorna,

    We meet again! I love lists, I couldn't live without them! The best part of the morning list is that I don't have to keep saying the same things over and over again!

    Flag as inappropriate Posted by Shannon Hutton, M.Ed., M.P.A. on 5th October 2007

  • I am a list maker extraordinaire, so I could get on board with this quite easily. I love the fact that it can take some of the negativity out of your day, as well as your kids' by cutting out some of the nagging.

    Flag as inappropriate Posted by Lorna Doone Brewer on 4th October 2007

  • Thanks for the endorsement! It really does work!

    Flag as inappropriate Posted by Shannon Hutton, M.Ed., M.P.A. on 26th September 2007

  • Hey, it works! My husband used to have morning and evening lists for his kids. We may need to think about starting them up again.

    Flag as inappropriate Posted by Florinda Pendley Vasquez on 18th September 2007