The Morning High-Five
I have a love/hate relationship with summer. I love that we’re free to do what we want, but I strongly dislike that we always end up sitting around doing nothing. And there’s nothing more annoying to me than looking at a group of children, lounging in their pajamas, watching TV late in the morning.
In an attempt to get all of us off on the right foot in the morning over the last couple of summers, I’ve halfheartedly used a simple system called The Morning High Five. I first read about it over at Life as Mom, and have expanded it a bit to work for older kids.
I have renewed vigor right now as I am looking at 14 (long) weeks of summer on the schedule and I need to train these people to get themselves ready for the day without my involvement.
The Morning High Five
The Morning High Five is a list of five tasks your children need to accomplish before a certain time in the morning. Ideally, these are tasks the child can do without your direction or assistance. The goal with the Morning High-Five is that after completion, the kids and the house is ready for whatever is on the schedule for the day.
Here’s what is on our family’s Morning High Five for this summer:
- Make your bed
- Get dressed and put your clothes away
- Brush your teeth
- Do your morning job (see below)
- Eat breakfast
The Morning High 5 tasks must be completed in this order, mostly so the dishwasher is emptied before the breakfast dishes are dirtied.
My kids need to complete their Morning High Five before 8:30 am or within 15 minutes of getting up if they wake up late. This gives everyone a bit of time to lay around and watch TV but gets the basics finished before I come unhinged at the sight of their lazy butts. Most likely, I’ll have to remind everyone to do their Morning High Five around 8:15, but that’s WAY better than giving seven children individual instructions to get out of their pajamas and actually contribute something to this stinking household.
You could get all crafty and trace each kid’s hand and have them write out their Morning High Five’s on the paper, or make one master Morning High Five chart that works for whole family and stick it somewhere prominent so no one can miss it. If you like my chart, you can download and print it HERE or you can print a blank chart HERE.
I love morning jobs with all my heart. Morning jobs are more simple chores that can be completed without adult assistance or supervision (obviously after you’ve trained them on how to do the job correctly). They are also the things that keep your home running and dishes, garbage, and stuff from piling up.
A quick side note to parents of toddlers and preschoolers: Your children are close to useless at this point. Jobs at this young age serve to teach responsibility and work ethic, but do very little actually to lighten your load because the child requires constant supervision to complete the task. Morning Jobs start making your life easier when a child reaches 6-8 years old. If you have preschoolers, replace “morning job” with another bodily maintenance task, like “go potty” or “take your night diaper off” or “brush your hair.”
Morning Jobs for my family this summer will rotate by day and child. Here’s a list of what will be assigned throughout the week:
- Empty the dishwasher (no matter what, I start the dishwasher before I go to bed)
- Empty recycle bin
- Pick up pit and vacuum
- Sweep kitchen and dining room
- Refill toilet paper and wipes
- Empty bathroom garbages
- Start your room’s laundry
- Do outside clothes sweep (get clothes from clothes line and put them away)
- Pick up living room
- Switch out bathroom towels
Your Morning Jobs will be different than mine, mostly because I have six kids to keep busy, so our list is fairly long. If you have 2-3 kids, your list will probably have 3-5 jobs (remember, only one morning job per day).
Ready to make your list? Make a list of chores that meet these conditions:
- Can be completed in 5-10 minutes
- Do not need your supervision
- Address areas in your home that require consistent upkeep
- Make your life more awesome
Remember, you’re only giving each child one morning job a day (and it can even be the same job every day) and it needs to be one they can finish quickly. Yes, they will do other jobs, but this is the one they will do in the morning before your day really starts.
Once you create your list, then make a weekly schedule based on how often the task needs to be completed (daily or a couple of times a week). You can see my weekly schedule HERE. I just used a Microsoft Word doc and inserted a table.
During the first week of summer (or before summer starts if you have your act together), your kids will have to go through training on how to do each job well and to completion. You could even write out a step-by-step process for each job so your child can refer to it, because you KNOW they are going to say “I forgot how to empty the recycle.”
One important thing I’ve learned from experience: Your kids will be gone some mornings at camp or a sleepover or they leave early for an activity, so schedule morning jobs more often than you think they need to be completed. For instance, we probably only need bathroom garbages to be emptied once a week, but what if the assigned person is gone that day? I don’t want the hassle of remembering to make them do it later on or making someone else to do it, so it’s on my schedule twice. And if someone is gone in the morning, they are off the hook.
If you train them well at the beginning of the summer to do their Morning High Five every single day, you get the ultimate reward: Time to yourself to do what you want because your children are managing themselves! Glory!
More fun summer survival ideas from Frugal Living NW:
- Summer Activity Bags
- Summer Car Kit from Simply Kierste Designs
- Simple routines to make your life easier
- Self-directed activities for kids
Looking for more summer fun inspiration? Get our Summer Sanity Series newsletter sent to you by email! We’re sharing all of our favorite activities, tips, and ideas to make your summer fun and intentional.
Want to learn a little more about the Summer Sanity Series? Check out the Facebook Live video below that talks about three things I’m doing to finish the school off well and start the summer fun!
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