One of my go-to ways for connecting daily with my kids is adding some playfulness to our daily routines. Like you, I am a busy parent who often gets tied-up with to-do lists and laundry and meal prep. So, I find that anchoring playfulness to daily routines serves two purposes:
1. It reminds me to be present and intentional during daily interactions with my girls. Since we spend time every day getting ready, eating meals, picking up toys, and getting ready for bed, I know I can always find time to be playful with my girls.
2. It makes routine (sometimes tedious) tasks more enjoyable for all of us. If we’re playing while we get dressed or do chores, there’s less time for things like whining or nagging.
When I talk about playful routine ideas with preschool groups, I often get asked if I do something playful or silly during every routine or transition every single day. Of course not! However, I love having ideas like these in my back pocket for cranky days, times when we could use a little reconnection, or just out-of-the-blue as a surprise.
So, first up are some ideas for adding playfulness to the morning getting ready routine. The intention of these ideas is not to spend more time during an already-hurried time of day. Rather, giving 5 minutes of fully-present, playful attention to your child while she gets ready might just make the morning go a whole lot smoother.
Tell your child that as soon as she is dressed, she can walk down the “runway” while you announce her outfit. Add music and a play microphone, if you like, and describe the outfit in great detail.
My girls loved doing this when they were preschool-age. I would even invent crazy names for them as they walked out, like Rainbow Dazzle or Cupcake Sunshine. So fun!
Dress a Stuffed Animal
If your child is dawdling or resisting getting dressed, offer to dress a favorite stuffed animal while he gets dressed. No peeking at each others’ outfits until you both say “Ready!”
Doll or teddy bear clothes work great, of course, but your child’s own clothes will work fine, too. The sillier the better for the animal friend – mismatched socks, swimsuit with winter hat, undies on the head, etc. Giggles are a great way to start the day!
Race to the Finish
Have a kid that enjoys a little competition? Try racing each other to get dressed first, or let your child race against a timer. My girls were never big on being timed (too much pressure!), but they do enjoy listening to a favorite song and hurrying to get dressed before the song ends.
How do you help mornings go smoothly at your house? Any playful ideas to share?