Written by Girl Birthday Gift
I am not what you would call a "morning person." Waking up bright and cheerful with birds singing in the background has never been something I excel at, but now that I have kids, mornings are not negotiable. Even if I idiotically decide to go to bed at 3 am, Luke and Wes will still rise and shine with the morning sun at 6 am on the dot. And that means I have to be bright-eyed and bushy tailed at the crack of dawn as well, to make sure we are planting firm roots for establishing a morning routine.
Fortunately, I have wised up since having kids and get to bed at an incredibly respectable hour. (My mom and dad are extremely proud.) This is essential because as the old saying goes, "If mama ain't happy, ain't nobody happy!" I am the one setting the tone for the day, and I am really trying to be better at being a good example of getting up and being productive, all while maintaining a positive attitude.
Here are some things I have learned along the way:
1. Establishing a set wake up time gives kids stability because we all know little ones like predictability. Obviously, this means they are on a good sleeping schedule, which I have found to be one of the biggest factors in happy kids. Babies and toddlers who aren't sleeping well seem to have all sorts of issues, but as soon as the sleeping is set in stone, all is right with the world.
2. When I am having a calm and easygoing morning, the kids mirror those same emotions. I have learned that my attitude can make or break anything, and I am really working on trying to choose joy and maintaining a positive spirit from the moment I open my eyes. We also give morning cuddles and hugs and always greet each other with a, "Good morning, Luke! Good morning, Wes!" And 99% of the time they are beaming with smiles and happy to be up and at it.
3. Sticking to a specific routine for tasks that need to be done is important. In our home, we wake up, change diapers, get our cuddle on, then run downstairs for breakfast. We try to keep breakfast simple and healthy. My boys love cereal, eggs, toast, breakfast shakes, oatmeal, yogurt, and breakfast bars and snacks. We've recently been trying out the both the chocolate and mixed berry belVita Bites with our yogurt, and Luke and Wes LOVE them. Heck, I love them! (#MorningWin!) It's like eating something fun for breakfast but packed with fiber and nutrients. These help support and sustain our energy for up to a 4-hour period, which are also good for a late morning snack when we are running out the door for play dates or errands. (They are also great for road trips. We took a last minute trip to Utah a couple weeks ago, and the belVita bites were our go-to snacks.) After breakfast, we get ready for the day (which leads me to #4) and then do chores and playtime.
4. We are now in the phase where Luke is dressing himself. I really struggle with being patient enough to let him do it all on his own since it takes approximately three hours to put on a pair of pants, but giving him his independence is teaching him basic life skills in how to take care of his body. This also applies to brushing teeth, combing hair, going potty, etc. It's good to let him feel like he is playing an active part in the morning routine so he can establish good habits.
5. Mornings should be fun! As much as I like to groan and complain ( and quote Brad Pitt in Ocean's Eleven), mornings are a great thing. It's a fresh new day with fresh new opportunities. And I am all about making life as enjoyable as possible. It's about savoring the little things. Playing some upbeat music while cracking eggs over the skillet and listening to them sizzle ... watching the morning rays peek through the window to light the house with an orange glow ... turning on the fire and enjoying a cup of warm tea ... sitting around the table as a family and laughing about nothing in particular but thinking everything is hilarious. It's those types of memories that make mornings full of wins.
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