Mornings can be super stressful. In fact, sometimes they are just the worst.
A positive morning can set the tone for the rest of the day. We can leave the house feeling supported, energized, and encouraged or defeated, deflated, and depressed. But here's the thing: With a few simple strategies, we can rock this time of day!
1. Prepare yourself first.
Sleep is a precious commodity in these busy years of parenting, so taking time for yourself in the morning can be a bit tricky. But carving out even ten minutes for personal prayer time in the morning is so worth it. Set your alarm clock for a few minutes earlier than you have been and settle in with your Bible and a hot cup of coffee. Ask God to help you walk in his strength and not your own. Preparing your own heart first will help mornings feel a little less chaotic and you will begin to see the Fruit of the Spirit showing up all over the place.
2. Don't forget about the night before.
After the hustle and bustle of a busy day, the last thing anyone wants is to prepare to do it all over again tomorrow. But whatever task (no matter how small) you can do the evening before will lighten your load and move you toward a tear-free morning. Set out the next day’s clothes to avoid lengthy delays in choosing an outfit; fill water bottles; ensure all homework and special items for the next day have made it into backpacks; and (ugh) pack those lunches. In fact, if you can muster the strength, working in some routine food prep on Sundays can be a game-changer. It doesn’t have to be fancy. Preparing fruits and veggies is a great place to start (pro tip: refrigerating them in mason jars really does make them last longer). Batch-cooking, freezer meals, and instant-pot recipes are also great tactics, but we’ll save those for another blog.
3. Integrate a morning devotion.
There are many ways to fit Bible time into your morning routine. For my family, it has worked best during the drive to school. This isn’t something that requires a lot of planning or preparation; just make sure your children can play an active role. We take turns reading from a daily devotional for kids (don’t worry, I am not reading while driving); then, we have a quick discussion about what we read and wrap up with prayer. We are currently using Hope for Each Day – 365 Devotions for Kids by Billy Graham. Placing our focus on God’s Word encourages positive thoughts and propels us to positive actions.
4. Remain calm.
Despite our best efforts, chaos and the occasional meltdown are bound to happen. If my child is having a particularly unfocused or defiant day, and if I raise my voice or get frazzled, they get more frazzled. Next thing you know the entire family is brewing an emotional avalanche that is threatening to knock us all off course. Our kids will take their lead from us and then amplify it, so no matter how exasperated I am feeling, I aim to remain cheerful and calm and hope my kids adjust their behavior to match it.
5. When all else fails, dance it out.
But what do we do when all the positivity and cheerfulness in the world can’t seem to shake those morning blues?
Sometimes my kids are in such a funk that initially I am the only one participating, but inevitably the temptation to move overcomes them and they join in the fun. We have made a playlist called “Funky Christian Beats,” and by the end of just a song or two we have wiggled out even the foulest of attitudes. What’s even better is that the lyrics are often a topic of discussion later, proving that what we have put into our minds in the morning has stuck with us throughout the day.