How I got my kids to stop driving me crazy in the mornings. A routine that actually works for us!
If you want to live intentionally, you have to be willing to change what isn’t working.
A few weeks ago I diligently wrote out our daily routine (and shared it with you) in hopes of bringing more calm and normalcy to our days. For several weeks, it worked really well.
But there was always this gnawing feeling that it was going to implode soon.
Because I knew there were some parts of our routine that I didn’t like. Parts of our routine that if I allowed myself to think about it for long would make me anxious and upset.
Our bedtime routine for our kids has been the same for nearly four years! It works. Every point of it makes sense. Every bit of the order has a purpose and a reason, and we all thrive on it. All of us! Even if it does get monotonous always being the one to give the bath (hubby) or wash the dishes (me).
But our mornings. Oh, our mornings! They have been so frustrating!
I’ve tried preparing more the night before. I’ve tried waking up earlier. I’ve tried going to bed earlier. I’ve tried videos for the kids. I’ve tried busy boxes. I’ve tried coloring books. I’ve tried to give up coffee (to skip a step). We’ve tried sooooooo many things, but we never could find a system that worked for everyone. It either worked really well for the kids or worked really well for one of the adults. Never all of us together!
Until now that is.
The last couple of weeks have been filled with more prayer than I’ve ever prayed over a routine. In my moments alone, I prayed for wisdom on how to train my children’s mornings in a way that would bring God glory and not just myself. I prayed for Him to help me lead my kids into their day and allow me some time to wake up and meet with Him (even if the time is distracted a bit).
And He answered!
I want to share with you our new routine because it’s going really well, and I know I’m not alone in the struggle. The best part? We don’t have to get up earlier for it to work.
Our New Morning Routine
We usually wake up to one of the children staring at us from beside the bed. The other is usually already running up and down the halls or asking for a snack. They wake up anywhere from 6:30 to 7:30 in the morning.
We all give morning hugs, change the little one’s diaper, let the oldest go to the bathroom, and then we send the boys promptly back to their room.
They do room time for 15-30 minutes.
They have toys that are just for room time, and the only rule is don’t come out!
Somewhere in all the hugs and hellos and get your hineys to your room, someone starts the coffee. So, by the time we close the door to their room, the coffee is ready and we can pour our first cup in peace.
My husband and I usually go sit on the porch, keeping the door cracked so we can hear the boys, and just sip our coffee peacefully … without incessant talking and begging for food. Glorious!
Adult Quiet Time
If all sounds well inside, we’ll open our Bibles and begin to read quietly, rocking side by side, and occasionally watching the birds flock to the feeder for their breakfast.
Update: It’s wintertime now so the porch isn’t our spot. The adults now have their respective time indoors in a comfy chair, but the routine is still the same. I just watch the birds from my rocking chair. 🙂
Gather Boys’ Quiet Time Materials
After we’ve woken up enough to make sentences and have met with the Lord in relative peace for a few moments, we’ll get the boys’ quiet time materials ready.
Their quiet time materials consist of a:
- cup of milk
- snack (usually fresh or dried fruit or nuts)
- storybook Bible
- book on a Christian topic
We set this all out for them on the porch (or living room floor if we need to be inside), making sure to have PLENTY of space between them.
Family Quiet Time
Once everything is set up, we call the boys out of their room, and they join us for a family quiet time.
Note: By the time they join us it has been anywhere from 15-30 minutes. Our goal is 30 minutes, but sometimes the boys just can’t be shut in a room together for that long. We take it day by day. After all, they are only four and two years old.
They are required to be quiet and still during this time. They can eat their snack and drink their milk and read their own books quietly. We tell them this is their time to meet with Jesus and pray quietly to Him.
Mommy and Daddy drink their second cup of coffee and continue reading their Bibles or journaling while overseeing the boys together.
We think it’s important that the boys see Mommy and Daddy reading their Bibles. Even if we finished our morning study before the boys come out (and this is our goal by the way), we still keep our Bibles open.
Sometimes I’ll use this time to make my to-do list for the day. We use the time before the boys get up for our undistracted time with the Lord. This way we’re free to train while the boys are with us.
THIS is why my kids stopped driving me crazy in the morning. By having the boys go to their room first, I can get a few moments alone with the Lord before diving right into the day.
We don’t skip the room time and jump right into family quiet time. The boys room time is essential to this routine working!
The thing is that it’s rarely completely quiet during family quiet time. The two year old likes to sing to the birds or tell the dog next door to stop barking. He doesn’t always like to sit still and some days one or both of the boys neglect to open their books at all. Sometimes they complain about the snack in their cup or whine that the other person’s blanket is bigger.
But that is completely okay!
We have no qualms with making them sit still for 10-15 minutes because 1) they’ve already had free reign in their room to get wiggles out, and 2) it’s good training for Sunday mornings.
It’s the habit we are building, not necessarily the perfect silence. Again, my husband and I have already had our time in the word. We’ve woken up to the day, and now we are free to train with patience and perseverance because we put the big rocks in first.
What do you think? Would a morning room time be a good solution for your children? What solutions have you found to making your mornings a little easier?
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