Do you have a hard time getting your kiddos motivated to follow their morning or bedtime routine? Check out these unique apps to help keep kids interested in following their routines and responsibilities.
Mornings are stressful in the Hoover household. Dad leaves for work early, and I have two toddlers to get out the door to Big Boy’s Preschool. As much as I love my little ones, Big Boy makes things super tricky. Every time we approach the topic of getting ready or going to school, the answer is “no” and I am met with refusal and determined rebellion. I find myself getting frustrated, upset, and raising my voice nearly every morning. One thing he is motivated by is his iPad. He does not get much time on it, but he loves the time he gets. I started searching to see what apps were available that might help. If he understood the routine, and we could do some timers, things could go a little more smoothly. I found the following apps that offer promise for future mornings! Anybody else encountered any apps or best practices getting rebellious kids out the door?
What are mornings like at your house? Maybe you’re running late and the kids are cranky. It seems like the more you nag, the slower they move. Do you feel like you’ve put in a full day’s work before you even sit down at your desk?
There are a couple of things you can do to make mornings easier for you, your kids, and at the end everybody will be happier.
Checklist for Parents
- Assess sleep needs. If you and the rest of your family are tired each morning, you’re probably not getting enough sleep. Try an earlier bedtime.
- Prepare the night before. Accomplish as much as you can the night before so you’re less rushed in the morning. Pack lunches and confirm that homework assignments are completed. Lay out your children’s clothes and shoes.
- Set priorities. Shorten your to-do list. Focus on the essentials and be flexible about the details. Let your kids style their hair their way as long as it’s clean.
- Stay organized. Create systems that keep things running smoothly. Post a central calendar. Put out bins where your kids can deposit backpacks and bike helmets when they come in the door.
- Budget extra time. Plan for delays. Give yourself 15 more minutes than you need so you’ll arrive at work on time even if you have to look for a missing toy.
- Get up first. Enjoy a few minutes of peace before the rest of the family gets up. Taking care of yourself first will make it easier to deal with anything that comes up.
- Stay calm. Your children will follow the example you set. Take a deep breath and keep smiling.
Brili claims happiness via routines! Yes, bring some satisfaction to my morning! Brili is the first app that I downloaded. Brili does a great job of helping you get set up and even offers “simple” or “advanced” example routines to copy. Morning routines, bedtime, and afternoon routines are some habits that they include. Brili claims to bring “Routine Happiness for Parents and Children.”
The pricing is a little high but not impossible. Brili offers 30 days free and then flexible options for its premium version. Either $7.99 / month or $34.99 / 6-months or $49.99 / year.
Morning Routines for Preschool Kids
2021 Update: Unfortunately it looks like this app has been dated and is no longer being updated on the App Store. It is disappointing that apps with so much potential do not get support to be updated. This company has an excellent suite of apps for kids. Everything from feelings to routines, to chores and responsibilities.
I actually purchased all 4 of them in a bundle for $6.99. The iTouchiLearn company focuses on kids with autism. I think it could also help with toddlers that have issues switching gears. Similar to curb cuts, these apps can be beneficial to many, not just kids that use a wheelchair.
Happy Kids Timer
Happy Kids Timer, is a cute timer that helps kids build routines. Free with an in-app purchase to get premium features for $1.99.
Visual Countdown Timer
We have had the Visual Countdown Timer app for just over a year, and it has helped us so much especially in changing activities. Premium bundles are available for $.99 each and full packages with ads removed for $2.99. The company Fehners Software concentrates on developing useful apps for families.
KazuTime is unique from the others because it focuses on caring for, and following a puppy while they do tasks. For animal lovers or kids with pets, this could be really useful. They have a whole list of ways to use KazuTime at home. This is super innovative and makes activities fun. Who doesn’t want to compete against their virtual pet to clean up the room! This app is available on the App Store, Google Play and Amazon.
Need educational apps for your kiddos? Check out COVID-19 Screen Time Tips!
Wake Up Mo! ~ 3D Interactive Pop-Up Book
The app features a cute book that goes through the morning routine and encourages kiddos to get going. The developers have several apps with interactive stories. We have several and love them. From Duplo interactive games to digital books, coloring, and more. I am excited to get many of them. Why can’t iPad time be story time? This app costs $2.99 and is also available in a bundle.
Steps for the Kids
Steps to Take with Your Children:
- Focus on connecting. Transitions are especially challenging for children. Pay attention to their feelings so you can be encouraging and supportive. Be patient guiding them through tying shoe laces and pouring milk. Hug them and thank them for their efforts.
- Offer choices. Being presented with options is more pleasant than taking orders. Ask your son which shirt he wants to wear. Discuss whether your daughter would rather brush her teeth or comb her hair first.
- Share responsibility. Give each family member a chance to weigh in. Assign tasks based on their age and abilities.
- Create incentives. Show your kids that good behavior pays off. If you manage to leave the house earlier than planned, stop for hot chocolate on the way to school.
- Rehearse your roles. On the other hand, if your system still needs some tweaking, practice your moves at a time when you’re feeling less pressured. Schedule a drill on Saturday afternoon.
- Eat breakfast. A nutritious breakfast gives you energy and helps you to think more clearly. If possible, sit down together to share your meal. If that doesn’t work out, prepare something you can eat in the car, like smoothies or bean burritos.
- Turn off the TV. Minimize distractions. Keep the TV off and check phones or computers only for necessities like urgent emails or the weather report.
- Have fun. While you’re juggling so many different responsibilities, remember to enjoy any hours you spend together as a family. Find something to laugh about or race each other to the car.
Chore Charts + Calendars
We have had mixed success with these. The kids love the idea but keeping up with it as an adult takes commitment. Hubby also thinks they are silly so without buy-in from both parents, they are a little harder to keep motivated. Lots of kids love them though!
Fitness Trackers with Routines Built In
This is a fun way to get kiddos to moving and also help with routines. It is not as direct of a “routine” app as others but there are a variety of alarms that can be set and rewards that can be given in the form of coins to keep track of what has been done. There is a parent app and an optional kids version of the app where they can keep track but not necessary since the info is on the watch as well.
Put an end to morning madness. The way your family spends the early hours sets the tone for the rest of the day. Look for ways to simplify your morning routine and let your children know you appreciate their cooperation in getting up and out the door as smoothly as possible.
Share Your Thoughts!
Your turn! What apps do you like best to help kids get going in the morning and at other times? These apps have been a game changer for many things, and have helped avoid meltdowns, screaming, and fights.