Revamp Your Morning Routine with a Dash of Fun and the Power of When…Then

Peace at Home October 18, 2023 | Ruth Freeman

We all want to start our day with a sweet family connection before going our separate ways. But for many families, the day begins with reminding, nagging, coaxing and worse. Here’s a better option. Think of a brief, enjoyable activity that your child really likes (that doesn’t involve technology) and use the magic of When…Then…

Arizona based mom Ariel Hill who works at ZipRecruiter shared her magic formula for inspiring her five year old son to dress himself for school. As soon as he gets his morning tasks done, Mom goes outside with her son and his sister to jump on the family trampoline. “When you are all dressed and ready for the day, we’ll go outside and jump on the trampoline together!”

Mom is using two important strategies that work:

  • First, she is moving her children along to a positive end of the morning routine. One of the challenges in the morning is that you are encouraging your child to reach a goal that many children, especially young ones, don’t want to reach – leaving you. All that lingering and procrastination is often about avoiding separation from you.

When the goal is even a brief time of togetherness, kids more independently move through their tasks so they can spend that special time with you. It doesn’t have to be as exciting as a trampoline. It can be a quick story time (buy a book of 5 minute children’s stories), drawing together, playing a quick game, going outdoors to look for bugs or whatever your child enjoys. It’s the connection that kids seek and moving them toward that time together will make all the difference.

  • Second, Mom is using the magic of “When…Then…” In this case it is “When you’re dressed and your backpack is ready, then we can go jump on the trampoline together!” There is actually a consequence here. Parents believe consequences are magic bullets but you’ve done your own research and have likely discovered they don’t create long term change. The consequence is that if you aren’t ready we won’t be able to have our special time together. However the “When…Then…” format is positive and encouraging rather than threatening. And yes, it helps a lot if you have a smile on your face and enjoy your time together!

If you try this tip and have success or meet challenges, please tell us about it by emailing Or jump on our private Facebook group and let us know. We love to hear your stories. It’s how we all learn.

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