Good morning! Make the most of the start of your day!
Even if you and your children are inherently morning people — energetic and bouncy in the early hours while some of us have to fight cobwebs — you may recognize that mornings can be a stressful, often exhausting race against time, moodiness, forgetfulness and, sometimes, traffic.
"Good morning" is defined as “a conventional expression at meeting or parting in the morning.” Too often, we become more preoccupied in getting out of the house, leaving little, if any, time to express gratitude. By organizing our routines and home, the said expression “good morning” can live up to its expectations.
Suggestions from the wise are many: Pack lunches and have outfits for everybody ready the night before; keep quick but nutritious food options in the pantry; make sure transportation is reliable (check bus schedules, fill the gas tank) in advance. Have a time buffer: Things always take more time, and one always overestimates the speed at which a child is able to get dressed and ready and out of the house. These time-management strategies will help things run smoothly in the morning.
How do we set such a precedent? Research shows that reflecting on gratitude or making positive statements increase overall happiness. So why not try to make things happy for your little ones by promoting a good start for a serene and joyous day? Some of us may be guilty of loud broadcasts that “Breakfast is reaaady,” but it may be a gentler to wake them up with a kiss and a hug and a simple “good morning.”
During breakfast, try to open their minds to the positive aspects of the day to come. Ask your kids what they most look forward to and provide an example yourself. For a preschooler you may want to say: "Today, I most look forward to our chat in the car on our way to school and to going to the library with you after school. What are you most excited about?” Starting this exercise early makes this nice morning ritual less phony when approaching the tween and teen years.
Music also has a proven effect of increasing well-being and elevating mood. How about making it a habit to pick a happy song that brings a message about the upcoming day? With many around the breakfast table, it can also be a fun thing to take turns picking the “song of the day.”
For some, this may all be a little “too much conversation and not enough action” toward actually getting out the door. So how about a simple chant of your favorite melody while singing the words "good morning"? Children (and grownups) learn and feel comfortable with repetition and certain rituals, so why not make it a ritual to greet each other with the same co-created good morning jingle on a daily basis? Or simply just say it: Good morning!
Cris and Lou are Philly-based kids' musicians. Learn more about their music and message at CrisandLou.com.