Beating the Morning Routine with a DIY Clock for Kids


Back to school, back to the morning routine

We were excited to send the kids back to school for first grade! Bitter-sweet as the start of school can be, we were ready for them to learn in person and for them to be out of the house…. but after months at home, we had forgotten about one thing: the morning routine!

As the school year began, we realized it was difficult to tear our kids away from the legos or get them to the breakfast table on time. I felt like they had forgotten how to put on socks. Things began to snowball, and we found ourselves running out the door right when they should have been arriving at school. Sound familiar?

Kids need support to follow a schedule

After a few days of chaos, I realized we needed some time managment tools. Teachers and specialists are always talking about developing kids’ executive functioning, and we were not functioning like executives.

At dinner one evening, we sat down with the kids and talked about what needed to happen for everyone to get to school/work on time. We started by talking about how much they enjoy being ready for morning meeting with all of their friends and teachers. Then we worked backwards from the drive to school, to putting on shoes eating breakfast, and getting dressed. Once they had had a say in how much time they needed for each task, I knew they would need a visual cue to move from one to the next. Experts say children need to “see and feel” the passage of time, and that analog clocks help do this.

Making our own morning routine clock

In our household, both parents work full-time, so getting everyone ready and the kids to school on time is crucial. I don’t think of myself as a DIY mom, but I realized that investing an hour now could save us many hours throughout the school year if it helped our kids get themselves ready on time. Also, I couldn’t find a product online that would meet our needs. I did get a few good ideas from Pinterest. So I decided to make my own version, and it was pretty simple.

  1. I took a clock that the grandparents had recently given our children. It’s easy to remove the cover of clocks like this with few screws in the back.
  2. I cut out a circular piece of paper and rewrote the clock numbers closer to the center. For our family, the critical hour is from 7:00 to 8:00 AM. So I drew lines connecting that hour to the larger circle of minutes.This DIY clock could help with your morning routine
  3. Then I laid out the tasks our kids need to accomplish during that hour. The times are based on the list we had made as a family.Make your morning routine visible for kids with a home made clock
  4. I put it all back together and hung it on the wall near the breakfast table. Tip: It’s easier to slide the paper onto the clock face by cutting a slit to the center, then tape it down.

The final product may not be beautiful, but it definitely helps our kids visualize their morning routine.

How is your morning routine going?

Have you tried something like this? Do you have your own way of visualizing the morning schedule? Let us know in the comments. We’d love to see your own DIY’s!

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Katherine lived on four different continents before settling in Washington, D.C., to raise her family. She works at a global think tank during the day and raises twin boys the rest of the time. When she isn't working on a spreadsheet for work, she loves walking in the forest with her family, which invariably involves stomping in puddles and climbing on logs. Though she is less of a world traveler these days, she continues to seek out adventures, from exploring D.C.'s museums and playgrounds to taking road trips to national parks. When it's time to unwind, she can be found snuggling with her husband on the couch. Likes: adventures, sleeping past 7 a.m., being surrounded by forests, the sound of her boys laughing, and locally made ice cream. Dislikes: whining, the patriarchy, and people who judge parents.