4 Tips for a More Positive Morning
Written by: Melissa Pinn, LMFT
The start of the school year usually means rushed and chaotic mornings.
Most of us are focused on making sure our child gets dressed, fed, and out of the door on time which is no small task. What if there was a way to meet our child's emotional needs in the morning as well as their physical needs. What if we were able to connect with our kids and help them feel encouraged and loved rather than rushing them to get up and out the door.
Practicing these 4 strategies will help your family to have better mornings.
Morning is a time to reestablish a bond after a long night. When we take time to connect in meaningful ways with our kids they are more willing to listen to us and comply with our directives.
Some simple ideas for connection:
Spend 5 minutes rubbing their back
Share some positive affirmations or gratitude moments
Bring them a drink of water or a morning smoothie
Play a quick game
Put on some music and listen together
Quick Tip: Make sure you have time to connect. Getting yourself up and ready before your child is ideal. Once your kids are awake, the focus can be on being present and connected with them. You’ll be less stressed, which they will notice and may even mirror your calm behavior.
2. Create a Routine
A structured morning routine can be helpful to establish expectations and habits and transition from rest to the busy day ahead.
One way to establish a routine is by creating a visual schedule on paper, or on your child’s personal white board in their room. Simply create a checklist of your child’s morning responsibilities such as brush teeth, get dressed, eat breakfast. Have your child refer their visual schedule when their attention wanders in the morning.
The checklist allows your child to take ownership of their mornings and have some control (make sure you ask them for their input on the order they would like to complete their responsibilities).
Quick Tip: Have them prepare all their supplies for the school day the night before. Their backpacks should be packed with all the materials they need for the next day at school and put in the same spot each evening. In the morning all they need to do is grab their backpack and go.
3. Practice Positive Affirmations
Harness the power of positive thinking by starting the day speaking positively about ourselves. Positive affirmations are statements designed to build self-esteem through changing negative self-talk. These affirmations make children feel good about themselves and help them embrace their positive qualities.
Brain science tells us that the more we say or think something, the more likely it is to become a hardwired belief. If we can get our children to focus on their positive traits, then they are less likely to define themselves based on their negative self-talk.
Steps to creating affirmations:
Keep affirmations positive – “I am kind, I am a good friend”
Write affirmations in the present tense. Everything happens in the present moment for the brain – “I am getting a lot of work done today”
Quick Tip: If you’re crunched for time, incorporate affirmations into other tasks, such as while eating breakfast or driving to school.
4. Practice Practice Practice
As with learning any new behavior, practice when the pressure is off is key. IF you have young kids, practice the morning routine during evenings or weekends using lego figures or stuffed animals.
If you have older kids engage them in conversations about what is going well and what could be improved. Discuss the challenging moments and if any or what changes need to be made to make for a smoother morning.
Quick Tip: As you practice the new routine, remember to notice your child’s efforts in overcoming their early morning challenges. Praise your child for their hard work at facing challenges. Praise yourself too!