The 4 Ds Of The Morning In The Zoot House

Getting two kids ready for school is like carrying a stack of dishes across a busy intersection, one wrong move and you’re dead. If everyone wakes up easily, is in a good mood, and is focused – the morning goes FINE and we’re off to school without one dose of yelling or griping.

That never happens.

Having TWO kids to get ready this year has made mornings even more challenging. But I think I finally have the hang of it.

(Let’s not discuss that it’s MARCH.)

I used to give the kids 30 minutes to eat/get ready because they really need their sleep and I wanted them to sleep as long as possible. HOWEVER, this was only enough time if everything went smoothly in the morning.

That never happened.

So! I started giving them 45 minutes to eat/get ready. This seems to be working much better.

The other thing is, with two kids especially, they get very distracted in the mornings. I’ve seen Nikki actually sit down and rainbow loom for 15 minutes, not even realizing she was still in her pajamas. Or, they’ll start goofing off and playing and next thing you know I’m at the door waiting for them and they’re still brushing their teeth. A lot of mornings they got in the van with dishes still out and dirty clothes still on the floor and this would just piss me off because I wanted them to leave on time but I also wanted them to be responsible clean up after themselves.

That never happens.

It seems I only ever got one or the other. On time? Or chores done. Even though I knew we had PLENTY of time because I could hear them playing or goofing off or something, I never seemed to manage to get them OUT the door with everything done in the house.

Also – I want the kids to be self-sufficient because I work in the mornings before they wake up and sometimes I’m in the middle of something and I can not follow them around, putting on their clothes for them or cleaning up their breakfast dishes. I make them breakfast, I get out Wes’s clothes, and I pack lunches. They have to do the rest so that I can still use some of that time for working if I need to.

SO! I came up with a system. I don’t have to chase them around like babies, doing stuff for them. We leave on time. And there’s only minimal nagging. WIN/WIN/WIN/WIN!


Now if I hear them talking/playing or if I see they left their dishes out I just have to remind them, “No playing until you’ve done the 4 Ds.” Or I’ll say, “Are the 4Ds done?”

This has gotten them almost trained. It has simplified the mornings so that all they have to do is remember “Do the 4 Ds!” which is much easier than remembering it all separately sans mnemonic device. We leave the house on time and I don’t have to clean up their messes for them. Dirty clothes are where they belong and dishes are in the sink. (Our dishwasher door is broken so they’re not really strong enough to put dishes in the dishwasher without dropping the door on their own legs.) I don’t yell anymore, I just periodically remind them, “Have you done the 4 Ds?” throughout the morning. Especially if they’ve stopped moving (Nikki could stare in the mirror for 3 days) or if they’ve started playing. We are on time most mornings now (and even “late” for me is still on time as far as the school is concerned) and I don’t start my day screaming, “OH MY GOD. HOW IS IT TIME TO LEAVE AND YOU ARE STILL IN YOUR PAJAMAS?”

I don’t know what’s on your checklist in the morning, but if it’s similar to mine I thought you could use the help too! Is there anything missing from our list that needs to be on yours? DOES IT START WITH A D?

4 thoughts on “The 4 Ds Of The Morning In The Zoot House”

  1. Delurking to say OH MY GOD. This is everymoring with my seven year old. If I have to ask “do you have your shoes on?” eight times in the morning, something is not right. What’s even more frustrating is that my five year old will race to get everything done in 15 minutes flat (but only because then he knows I’ll let him play wii before his school starts at nine).

    The only think I might add in in something about making the bed. “Da Bed?”

  2. that’s brilliant! I’m totally stealing it. 🙂 Right now I have 4 kids to get ready, and three different departure times. That’s going to slow down to only two again, but I am still certain it will be chaos. I love the gentle reminder of the Four Ds.

  3. This is genius! I have a 7 y.o., a 4 y.o., and a 11 month old that I have to get out the door by 6:30 every morning. And each morning I promise myself that I will use my “kind” voice and not lose my temper. Most mornings I fail. I am totally going to start the 4 D’s!

  4. Love it, but mine are older so we need to add a 5th D-deodorant. We will start our D list on Monday.

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