I know you’ve been there – the morning begins to slip away, no one is cooperating, breakfast is not getting eaten, no one has brushed their teeth and you need to get out the door! The dilly-dallying is non-stop and will bring any mom to the brink of BLOWING! Yep, I get it. But you know what? I have discovered that normally I am 98% at fault. I am the one that ends up playing the game with my son, who is five – who loves to take his time – unless there is a reason to hurry. I end of falling into this pattern of begging, pestering and escalating my voice thinking that will help things along, but it ends up only making it worse. Until, I remembered my PIG timer! Several years ago I ordered this cute pig timer to have on the counter to use to help me stay on task. It does work well and one morning it came to me, why not use this timer to help my son? Brilliant! So we began using the Pig timer in the morning and the challenge was for my son to BEAT THE PIG! We need to be out the door on most mornings by 8:45 AM. So when we first began using this tool (the pig timer) he would have a set amount of time to eat his breakfast before the pig timer went off. Once the timer went off, he was done. No second chances…. but I would leave his breakfast out for him, so if he completed the other tasks before time, then he could come use his extra time to eat his breakfast. Normally for us, this is not an issue. At 8:00 AM I set the timer for 30 minutes…. so he has that time period to get dressed, make his bed and brush his teeth. These tasks are all ones that he can complete on his own, except for brushing his teeth. When he is ready to brush his teeth, he lets me know and I will help. When we first began this challenge, I wanted him to succeed, so made sure to offer as much time as possible for him to complete his tasks, even if he chose to dilly-dally. He loved the challenge to, “Beat the Pig!”. If he “Beats the Pig” then we have extra time to do something fun – either read a book, watch a TV show or even play a game on my iPad. I cannot even tell you how easier my morning is when I remember my trusty friend the Pig. When we get out of our routine though, I will sink back into my old habits of raising my voice, making demands, saying things I really don’t mean and cannot realistically even do and just create a frustrating and terrible start to our morning. I know you can relate, many of you have shared with me the frustrations of getting toddlers ready in the morning. I urge you to spend the $6 and grab a Pig for your own smooth mornings. Have a Beat The Pig jar of fun activities that the child or children can do if they beat the pig. If they don’t beat the Pig, you have to have a consequence too…… often times it is that they are late to school – which at our house means that there is not fun extras after school – like TV time or iPad time. But I will say, those days are very few, the excitement to Beat the Pig and not hear his timer go off is such a great challenge that he meets it with gusto! Sometimes we also have a contest between h and I to see who can beat each other first before the Pig with our morning tasks too! (A secret, I almost always let him win those challenges – I am a big softy sometimes!) If you are looking for other tips on creating a smooth morning routine for kids, you might check this article out I shared previously.