Seriously - can mornings really be magical?

harmony at home managing mornings. Sep 06, 2021

Do you consider yourself a morning person?

When my kids were little, all I longed for is a lie in as they frequently woke too early.

Now they are older, I have to drag them out of bed and I wake up much earlier than I used to.

Ironic isn’t it?!

My eldest daughter – she’s number 3 after my two boys – started a job this week. She’s taking a year out between school and university and is working in a primary school. I know it’s such a cliché but honestly it doesn’t seem long ago when she was starting nursery.

She asked me to drive her there.

My first reaction was to think that she’s perfectly capable of getting there herself as it isn’t too far away and what does she need me for?

Luckily I kept that thought to myself and instead I pressed pause and thought about how I might phrase the question.

“Just wondering if there’s a reason you’d like me to drive you instead of going on your bike?”

“Because having you there before I go in on my first day will be comforting”

Wow!

Hearing that made me so happy to make her porridge for breakfast and to jump in the car and chat to her along the way.

My children are capable of saying the most cutting things to me. Not outright rude because we’ve managed to minimise that, but short and sharp.

And then they’ll surprise me.

It was my birthday last week and I got cards from them that said things like ‘You are the most caring, loving and understanding mother I could wish for’ and ‘Thank you for being so patient. You are the best mother in the world’

I’m really not telling you this because I want to brag.

I’ve had mornings with them when I’ve lost my temper, threatened to leave them at home, shoved their shoes on their feet in an aggressive way and worse.

The reason I am so passionate about the work I do is that if I can give you a little bit of inspiration or a tip or strategy to follow that can inject some magic into your mornings, then I know that my mistakes were worth it!

So this week I’ve drawn up 6 top tips for making mornings go more smoothly.

 And if you do these things already, then great! Carry on.

I advise you take one at a time and see if it makes a difference. So often it will save you time. 

Don’t overwhelm yourself and try to be perfect though.

So here’s what I suggest.

Remember, adults think ahead. Children live in the moment.  The more we can prepare them the better. Think of preparation as physical, mental and emotional. So below are a few different ways to cover all those bases.

Physical prep

  • Show them the bag that they will take to school or nursery and get them to help you pack it the night before. As you pack, mention what they need things for. ‘A drink of water is good as you’ll get thirsty running around’. ‘A change of clothes as you might forget to go to the toilet – that’s totally normal’. ‘Here’s your comfort cloth in case you want to hold it’
  • Lay the breakfast things together. Let them choose the cup they want and discuss what options there are for breakfast. Keep choices to a minimum.  Lay out clothes on their bedroom floor in the shape of a body.

 

Mental prep.

  • Discuss the routine in the morning. ‘When you wake up, what do you need to do first?’  I always recommend kids get dressed before anything else happens. (if you are worried about breakfast spills then use a bib). Talk about the whole process in sequence. After breakfast we brush our teeth, then we put on our shoes, get in the car/buggy, drive to school.  You can show this in a simple drawn picture sequence if you like.
  • Explain or ask questions about what happens when you say goodbye. ‘I’ll give you a big hug and then your teacher takes your hand’

 

Emotional prep

Some kids are really excited about going to school and others are very nervous and emotional.  Children all have different temperaments and characteristics which will have an impact on their response.  They pick up on our feelings, so the calmer and more confident we can be about it the better.

Talk over their feelings:

  • You might not feel like leaving the house. You prefer to stay at home and play.  Just validating this feeling will help them know you understand and make them less likely to resist it.
  • When I say goodbye, you might feel sad. Your teacher will let you know when it is time for me to leave. Let’s make sure I give you exactly the right goodbye. What would you like me to say? Explain that school will feel strange at first. "All new things feel strange.  It’s exciting too as there will be new children to meet and make friends with.  If you feel a bit sad during the day, that’s normal.  I’ll be so happy to see you at the end of the day. Shall we practice our ‘hello again hug?"

For those of you with younger children, you might think it isn’t worth having these conversations as they won’t understand.  You’d be amazed by how much children can understand things. You can change some of the examples I’ve given and adapt the language, but the principle of preparation remains the same and so useful.

 Finally, one of the nicest things to do in the morning is talk about what you are grateful for and tell your child the reasons you love them.  It really can make those mornings magical

 

 

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