Morning Routine for A Preschooler

Mornings are hit or miss at our house. Either our daughter wakes up and is happy and ready to tackle the day or she wakes up and NOTHING goes right and everyone is against her. There’s typically not a middle ground here. Establishing a morning routine from birth was imperative for our sanity as new parents and we’ve adapted that routine as she grows and with our family’s needs.

Today is, thankfully, both a Monday and a happy morning routine day. One of those RARE unicorn mornings especially for a Monday. Thank the Lord.

Neil’s and my morning routine rarely changes. He typically wakes up first, conquers the bathroom routine and then I wake up and wrangle Kaya/get breakfast going and get her ready for school and then myself. Again, today is a unicorn day. Today, I woke up first and then Kaya shortly after me.

The Intrusion

Do your three year olds just bust in the bathroom while you’re “contemplating World Affairs” in the mornings too?

She was already upset because she wanted to open the door all by herself (which she did, btw). I have no idea what she was talking about but I put my newfound toddler handling knowledge (from Dr. Aliza and the “Raising Good Humans” Podcast link below) to the test and instead of trying to reason with her with a “You DID open the door all by yourself!” retort, I went with acknowledging her upset and validating her feelings and rolling along from there. “OMGosh! I know, right?! I can tell you’re so upset by that!” (all from the porcelain throne, mind you) She needed a hug and we went on about our morning instead of fielding argument after argument.

The Blessings

Next we head to the kitchen where our dogs had “blessed” our house with their “gifts” the night before (another struggle for another post). So while I was cleaning up, Kaya grabs a bowl from her cabinet and starts getting everything out for her favorite weekday breakfast of PBJ Yogurt Bowl (recipe below).

To my surprise when we were done putting together her yogurt bowl, she told me she wanted to sit at the table in her “cow chair” instead of watching morning cartoons. JUST Fine by me! I poured her a glass of orange juice and we sat down and chatted about the what she was looking forward to most today.

The Norm

On a normal Monday, she’s quite hesitant about going to school after coming off of a fun weekend. We’re typically met with tantrums and resistance. This has, unfortunately, become the “norm”. Today, she talked about her teacher and the centers at school that she was most looking forward to playing in and all about her friends. Then she brought up Halloween and the parties her class was going to have and the pumpkin she was going to paint (thanks for the reminder for me to pick up a small pumpkin today to paint). Everything was so happy and joyful, to be honest, I was waiting for the shoe to drop and everything to switch to the Monday tantrum Kaya.

The main reason I’m writing this blog post today is not necessarily share the minor nuances of a three year old’s morning, but in an effort for me to dissect what exactly went RIGHT!? Can this be repeated?!

This kid even let me know when she was full, when she had to go to the bathroom, when it was time to brush her teeth and get dressed. She’s been resisting getting dressed DAILY, on both good and bad days so this was especially pleasant. She cooperated with my brushing of her hair, which never happens!

The Change-Up

Neil walked into the kitchen and offered to take Kaya to school so I could be here for a dishwasher repair guy to come (crap, I need to finish those dishes) and he had some work to do at a site near her school. I almost panicked. Another trigger of Kaya’s meltdown mornings are if the morning routine changes. Today, mommy wasn’t taking her to school. Ok, here we go. After two very long hugs and a slurry of kisses, Kaya easily went with Daddy to the car and hopped right in. She did ask me to walk with them through the garage and I happily obliged.

Bullmastiff tucked under pink blanket
There was even time to tuck in her Nanny Dog, Balu!

So, what in the world happened today? The only thing different that I did this morning happened in the first five minutes of me waking up. When I acknowledged her frustration and validated her. That is THE ONLY THING I DID DIFFERENTLY. It’s almost silly to think that such a small (seemingly insignificant) change could practically “tantrum proof” our mornings, but here we are. We also didn’t have screen time per her request.

The Revelation

Just proves, kids no matter what age, just need to be heard. They need to know that their thoughts and feelings are just as significant and worthy of your time as a grown ups. Kids need to feel validated and if their requests are reasonable, like no screen time, try to honor them! You will start to build the base for trust that you will need for the rest of their lives.

The Morning Routine

As promised. Here is what you can find the Rentfro family doing every weekday morning:

  1. Wake Up and Go Potty
  2. Wash Hands
  3. Make Breakfast with Mommy or Daddy
  4. Eat Breakfast
  5. Change PJs/Put in Laundry and Get Dressed
  6. Brush Teeth
  7. Put on Shoes
  8. Get in the Car
Preschooler Morning Routine Printable

The Bonus Recipe!

This is one of Kaya’s FAVORITE breakfast recipes. I’m pretty sure this is because she can make it by herself. Mom and Dad help just slightly by getting the hard to reach ingredients. She is able to slice the banana with a non serrated knife, so this really helps build knife skills and general sharp object awareness while also improving her sense of independence. Give it a try with your kiddo and let us know how it goes!

Easy PB&J Yogurt Bowl

for Pre-Schoolers learning to make breakfast

Easy PB&J Yogurt Bowl

We're firm believers in our kitchen to have kids learn to cook at a very young age. Here's the simplest recipe for your toddler or preschooler to make all by themselves in the morning.
Course Breakfast
Cuisine American
Keyword breakfast
Prep Time 5 minutes
Servings 1 serving


  • 1 child size bowl
  • 1 spoon


  • 1 cup Greek Yogurt
  • 1 tbsp creamy peanut butter
  • 1 tbsp sugar-free strawberry preserves
  • 1 half banana, sliced optional
  • 1 tsp mini chocolate chips optional


  • Ask your child to get a bowl, spoon and their stepstool.
  • Hand fridge and pantry ingredients to your child to put on the counter by themselves.
  • Add greek yogurt, peanut butter and preserves to bowl and stir until well mixed.
  • Top yogurt bowl with bananas and chocolate chips if desired.
Child holding Kirkland Greek Yogurt tub
Kaya was about two here when she started learning how to make her PBJ Yogurt Bowls. One of her most requested breakfasts!

For More Parenting blog posts by Raising Up Rentfros, check out:

Lice, What’s the Truth!?

Rub-A-Dub-Dub, Edible Bathtub Paint


Raising Good Humans Podcast with Dr. Aliza – itunes Podcast

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