Since our whole preschool fiasco I’ve been really trying to create a healthy structure to our mornings at home. This, of course, doesn’t replace the social element to school we were hoping to experience (I’m planning on writing another post on how we’re tackling that), but I’ve found our days move so much smoother when I’m more intentional with how our mornings begin.
Maybe it’s just me, but with daylight savings this past week and earlier wake ups than usual, it’s taken everything in me not to lean on shows or independent play first thing in the morning. That being said, I’ve stuck to our healthy routine and in return we’ve had happier days because of it. Or that’s at least what I’m going to keep telling myself! I really notice a difference when I’m present and engaged with him first thing in the morning. Which sounds like a no-brainer, but when you’re tired and moving slow I feel like it’s that much more challenging to slip into unhealthy habits.
Make a healthy breakfast. I’m not sure about your kids, but Owen certainly has a breakfast routine. He has yogurt, berries and either toast or cereal almost every single day, ha! He always wakes up hungry whether he starts asking for food right away or not and I believe making sure his belly is full is the first step to a happier day with less meltdowns.
Read together. There are plenty of mornings where Owen starts with asking to watch something and as tempting as it sounds to drink my coffee quietly, I know I will pay for it when I inevitably have to turn it off. Giving him the choice to read with me instead usually works and he loves getting to pick out his books. Sometimes we just read one book together other times we will do this for an hour.
Make something creative. Ever since Owen’s birthday this September he has been all about playing with play-doh, painting and drawing on his Jarvis Standing Desk from Fully (you might have seen his this little corner on my Instagram, I hosted a giveaway with them last month). It has truly transformed his room and how we spend our mornings together. His desk is the perfect size for all of his arts and crafts supplies, gives both of us plenty of space to work and is his go to surface for playing with cars and legos too! I love seeing him use his imagination while we’re drawing or painting together and it’s a nice way for us to connect and work together on something in the morning.
Work on a puzzle. Owen’s obsession with letters and numbers started early so it’s no surprise that those puzzles are still some of his favorite activities to do at home. He’s recently got into a matching game that we spread out over his desk that’s super fun (so helpful that it’s super deep to make space for all the pieces). He’s been all about these pouch puzzles which are also amazing if you’re out and about at a restaurant or coffee shop. It’s so fun to see his brain working, learning and putting things together like this and he’s always so proud of himself after. I also loved reading this article that really helped me understand the child development benefits to puzzles and similar games.
Move, move, move. This kid is constantly on the move! It’s rare that he wants to sit down while we’re playing at home, but if he does I love that Fully has a whole line of chairs that instill movement, or what they call active sitting. They say it best on their site when they say, “Kids not only have a very real physical need to move, but there is growing evidence that kids focus longer, process faster, and learn better when they are given the freedom to move.” So we fully encourage it (no pun intended!). We are certainly working on our clean up skills at home, but when I know that it’s likely that he will want to bounce around between these few activities we try to keep them set up so that he can do that.
How do you guys start your day with your toddlers? Do you stick to a set routine or does it change every day? What do you notice really helps your days get off on the right foot?