Mornings are hectic for most parents. We are trying to get out the door. We are trying to get kiddos dressed, fed and out the door with minimum amount of drama. On most mornings, yoga, mindfulness and zen seems impossible. When I was working, I used to get up at 5:30 in the morning before my son woke up, so that I could work out, shower and get dressed. Now, I work from home. But, I still have to make sure my son is dressed, fed and ready to be out the door. Most mornings, we have somewhere to be: the library story time, gymnastics, grocery shopping, playroom, museum etc.. One of the best habits that I started with my son when he was just one year old was to instill a bit of mindfulness in our morning routine.
1) Wake Up Slowly
We always set the alarm clock 30 minutes earlier to give ourselves a slow start. Believe it or not, that makes all the difference. We linger in bed for 5 to 10 minutes in the morning. I look at him in the eye, cuddle him and talk to him about our day. It’s just like our bedtime routine but in reverse. Sometimes, he even asks for a book and I take the time to read to him.
2) Morning Sensory in the Bathroom
It’s always good to build in a bit of decompressing activity to help with morning transitions. We brush our teeth, wash our face and put on lotion all in the bathroom. In the process, we play a bit with shaving cream or the lotion. When we have a little time, we even go for a bath without washing with soap. Instead, my son will play with his dolls or animals in the bath tub for 15 minutes. With him engrossed in some kind of sensory activity, I can get dressed, look decent and take care of myself. Here, he is playing with the rainbows that reflected off our walls.
3) Do Yoga While Waiting for Breakfast
My coffee is instant. Breakfast is always ready to a heat up concoction from the freezer. I take five minutes to make green juice with Kefir for both of us. My son likes to watch me make it. We then take our green juices to the living room. I turn on some music that he likes. Then, we do our yoga routine on the mat. It’s just 5 poses and then free style. The time passes by quick. The routine helps us connect as a family. We are usually laughing by the middle of it. By the end, he’s often accomplished some physical fiat that he’s been practicing and we are celebrating. Afterwards, he usually gulps down the green juice.
4) Eat Breakfast Slow
We often share a plate for breakfast. It helps to start the day sharing, caring and just be well connected. Sometimes, he will feed me bites and I will feed him. It’s a great time to eat slow and not worry about time. This is the reason why my son (the picky eater) is often eating at his best in the morning.
5) Morning Activity to Wake Up Creativity
It really helps to have a free style but non messy activity such as drawing, coloring, train table pretend play or doll house pretend play. These activities transition him out the door pretty quickly. I set him up with the activity on the tray. It usually takes him 15 to 20 minutes. I can clean up and wash dishes, make the bed, get our bags and get our shoes.
All in all with mindfulness built in, our morning routine takes about 1 hour and 30 minutes. We take things slow and don’t try to accomplish too much. The night before, we lay out our clothes; make our breakfast and pack our bags. Instead of spending time on these repetitive tasks, we focus ourselves on increasing our mindfulness and increasing our creativity in the morning.
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