It’s bad enough that you have to wake up in the morning, but it’s even worse that you have to drag your flesh and blood along for the ride (unless you’re a morning person, in which case, good for you.) Fortunately, there is a way to make everyone’s early routine a little easier — it’s on your phone.
All of these apps are designed to get young children (and kids with Autism or other special needs) to breeze through dressing, eating, and hygiene by using fun characters, countdown clocks, and the promise of pixelated stickers. Because, running after their bus in your underwear may be illegal in your state.
Happy Kids Timer
If you were a kid, you’d be psyched to get up and out the door to spend the day playing, drawing, and taking a much-needed mid-afternoon nap. Kids don’t see it this way. The Happy Kids Timer prompts those time suckers to do activities like make their bed, brush their teeth, and get dressed with the quickness. It also acts like a digital stickers chart — which parenting experts have mixed emotions about — but hey, you’re out the door in 20 minutes flat.
Daniel Tiger Night & Day / Stop & Go Potty
It would be a beautiful day in the neighborhood if someone got their butts in gear and out the door. Your preschooler is already enamored with Daniel, so put that affection to good use. In Day & Night, they’ll learn about some common routine behavior, like putting on their red hoodies and topping pancakes with fresh berries. Damn, that tiger has the life! And, because going to the bathroom is an integral morning step, download the Stop & Go Potty. It will not only help toddlers identify when they have to go, but has the added benefit of teaching them to wipe themselves. That’s worth $3 right there.
Day & Night – $2.99 (iOS)(Android)(Amazon)
Stop & Go Potty – $2.99 (iOS)(Android)(Amazon)
iTouchiLearn Life Skills
Yes, this app looks like it was designed by a preschooler, but that just makes it more relatable to your 4-year-old. The step-by-step instructions for washing hands or brushing teeth won’t impress older kids, but if you have toddlers or kids with special needs, this is a handy reminder tool.
Wake Up Mo
You and the kid probably read books at bedtime, but have you tried a story for wake up time? A little monster named Mo (and his snooty British narrator) walk through a typical morning of waking up, getting dressed, and all of that other get-to-school-on-time goodness. It’s only 8-pages long, so they can whip through it like an instruction manual on how to seize the day.
Another app that sets the final countdown for all those morning activities, this one has a feature where you can customize the routine and length of each task. Just remember, if you think that 10 minutes for breakfast is a reasonable amount of time, you should serve that bowl of cereal with a side of Joey Chestnut videos.
This is a standalone toothbrushing app that turns the most monotonous morning hygiene into something approaching fun. Choose from one of a few customizable monster characters and get set to polish those baby chompers. One of the best features is the ability to add or subtract monster teeth to match your kid’s encounters with that sadistic tooth fairy.
Wonkidos Getting Dressed App
Putting on clothes is hard, and yet you still manage to do it almost every morning (your co-workers were less than supportive of Naked Friday). Get those tiny nudists to conform to social norms by following the example of the Wonkidos. Shirt, pants, shoes … but sadly no cravat for the more sartorial kindergartener.
Free (iOS) (iOS)
Some kids have anxiety issues around change — but then again, so do you. Because we’re a culture that wants to know where, why, and what time, why not give your grade-schooler the same opportunity to organize their day? Choiceworks uses a pictographic calendar to show them what’s coming up next, what they’re doing tomorrow, and even gives countdowns to special days. Flag day, already?