Morning Rhythms to Help Small Kids Thrive

Children are naturally morning people. Some of them are incredibly early risers.
My kids had periods of waking up at 5:30 AM (mostly during vacations or weekends) or periods where I opened blinds, doors, put music on and scratched their backs and they were still snoring at 8 AM (mostly during school days).
I have figured out after all these years of parenting that routines are essential for everyone in the family. I can get impatient, unkind and borderline scary mommy when I feel pressured by time or circumstances.
For many years I was focused on perfecting a good evening routine that supported my kids into a smooth transition to sleep and my transition from snot-wiper to independent human who can focus on reading two pages of a book without interruptions. I am not willing (nor able) to parent anyone past 7 PM, so early and smooth bedtime is essential for me.
More recently, after my morning routine became such a cherished and necessary part of my daily self-love, I realized that it is equally important to offer my small kids predictable rhythms to help them start the day in the right way.

Before I get into what my kids do in the morning, I want to mention that everything starts the night before.
I do many things in the night to make my life easy in the morning, and some of these things are for the kids:

  • pick up their clothes in the evening and lay it down for them to get dressed
  • pack up lunchboxes
  • prepare backpacks
  • put all bags in the car before the kids are awake
  • Most importantly, I put up the intention to tend to my soul before I attend to theirs.

    Start the day with joy

    Kindness, relaxation, smooth transitions from sleep to awake are so necessary! Reconnect with a cuddle, a kiss, or a hug. Scratch their backs or gently pull on their toes, massage their feet with some essential oils, or play with their hair. I tell them every morning how happy I am to see them and how excited I am for the day ahead.

    Use simple words.

    I would ideally present only one sentence when giving directions to my kids.
    get dressed can be too broad. Say take out your PJ or put your shirt on or tie your shoes.

    Serve a simple breakfast that kids love.

    I use breakfast experimentation if I want to introduce a new food only in the weekend when we have more time to sit around the table.

    Here is how it goes in our house:
    Because of the sacredness of my morning practice, the kids know that if they wake up early, they have to stay in their room and play or read. They have their bathroom which they can use, and I leave a bottle of water inside. I enter their room around 7. Sometimes they are already awake, other times they are still sleeping.
    I gently come in and start singing Good morning sunshine! They love that.
    We hug and kiss, and we are delighted to see each other.
    They get out of their PJ and into the clothes that I have placed ready for them. I usually leave the articles of clothing in the same order they must put them on – underwear at the top, shirt, and pants at the bottom.
    We brush teeth and go downstairs to have breakfast.
    This is usually a quick meal and a smoothie. I have five breakfast options, one for each day of the week.
    While they are eating, I brush their hair, drink my tea and we talk.
    When they finish eating, everybody places their bowl and cup in the dishwasher and heads straight in the car or in the garage to take out our bikes.
    The simpler you keep it, the easier it will be for them to remember and follow these routines without complaining.

    So, for today, I would like to invite you to ask yourself:

    How would my mornings look like if they were easy?

    Once you visualize, start tweaking, change or ruthlessly banish what’s not serving your joy and peace.

    Join the discussion!

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