Yesterday, I overheard my daughter, who is five, talking to her friend that I babysit, who is also 5. They were talking about the normal things that kids talk about, ya know, superheroes, “rainbow power beams”, that kind of thing. Then, my daughter proudly proclaimed, “Did you read my shirt?!” She proceeded to point to the words and say them from memory, “I can save myself!” Her friend giggled and without pause, my kid continues on “I’m a special kind of girl. I’m brave and strong and confident!”
Honestly, I think her friend just kind of said, “Okay!” and then they were back to their imaginative games or running outside to swing. In that moment though, I beamed. Sometimes when they don’t realize you’re looking, they show you that they really do watch and listen as a parent. And this was proof that the tactics I’ve tried to take for last few years to teach her to think positively and confidently were working. I honestly couldn’t be more proud. (T-shirt, in case you're wondering, is from one of my favorite positivity and social change shops, Wire and Honey)
Is this a post just to talk about how proud I am of my kid? I mean, maybe a little? Don’t get me wrong, she has her moments. She is five after all. But, I truly believe the power of positive thinking that I’ve harnessed in her has paid off and hopefully, this confident little girl will be as equipped as possible to handle the trials of elementary school transitions. So, after talking a bit about my own morning routine recently, I decided this might be a good time to also visit the morning routine that I’ve been trying with my daughter and how we incorporate affirmations and positivity to jumpstart our day.
If you haven't yet, be sure to drop by the Crooks + Coffee Facebook page to check out the Mindfulness Monday post that Dianna posted this week. She talked about planting the seed of mindfulness into your daily routines. There's no reason this needs to be hard to add to your life and it's a big part of the changes we've made to my household's routines too. I've put together a small list of some of the impactful changes we've made to our mornings that include my daughter, just in case you're struggling to add mindfulness to your day too.
- Give yourself (and in turn, them) time to wake up before school or activities. This is very similar to my first tips on your own daily routines too, but I have personally seen a huge improvement in moods both before and after school since I started training my daughter to get up earlier. I don’t set an alarm, she just fairly quickly knew that I was up early, so she gets up a little early too. Thankfully I still get up early enough to get “me time” and when she wakes up, I am ready for her to join my routine. If you don’t all have enough time to have a morning routine before having to get out the door, then the rest of these tips are moot.
- No isolating technology. I used to let her watch TV while we woke up and she ate breakfast. I realized quickly it made her more demanding, slower to actually get ready and it just wasn’t doing us any favors. Similar to my tips for not using your own tech too early, this is definitely the same effects on our kids. Now we use our mornings to talk, connect and try to start off on the right foot together as much as possible. I won't lie, sometimes she might still watch My Little Pony if it's just a rough morning, but we really try to not lean on that in the morning anymore.
Maximize breakfast time. Here's where we are going to really take a minute to add mindfulness to our kid's day. When my daughter gets up, she immediately asks for something to eat. I get her to the table, get her some breakfast rolling and am usually grabbing my second cup of coffee. Then I try to do something engaging and positive with her. A couple of new things I’ve been trying are reading her affirmations from the Crooks and Coffee bags or listening to a learning or inspiring podcast. For the affirmations, I’ve tried reading one, having her repeat it and then asking her what it means to her. Sometimes, she’s clueless and I explain it in her language more and then we re-word it to apply to 5-year-old life. Sometimes she learns a new word from it or we can at least talk about why it’s important to think positively about the topic of the affirmation. She's learned what "grateful" and "naturally" mean from this activity, as well as had discussions with me about the differences between negative and positive thoughts.
Another option I’ve tried is playing a podcast on the Alexa in our kitchen. I searched and have found a few kid-friendly podcasts that are either storytelling or educational in some form. She’s really enjoyed a few of them and we can talk while they play, if we want, or just listen. It’s been a different way to engage in the morning while still taking our time to get ready for the day. Some of the podcasts we have tried so far: Dream Big and Brains On!
- If they’re old enough, let them make some decisions. As parents, when we are rushed, we get frustrated. It can’t just be me, right? If I’m running late to get her out the door, I just want to pick out her clothes for her, help her put them on and go. She hates that and it makes her overly dependent on me. So, when we have and give ourselves time to get ready, I can encourage independence for her to find clothes (then find replacements cause "no, you cannot wear snow pants to school, it’s 75 degrees"). She can take her time moving like molasses to get dressed and even when she fights me on it, she can get her own shoes and backpack and head out.
I will be the first one to say that this list includes things that happen on “perfect mornings”. We don’t often have perfect mornings, so sometimes just a couple of these things come together with any ease. Sometimes we are still fighting to get out the door. But, in moments when she thinks I’m not listening, I can tell that taking time to talk about positive thinking is truly making an impact on her day and her confidence. I’m calling that a win, even if we still had trivial arguments today like why rolling the window up and down repeatedly was not okay. Kids, am I right?
Do you have struggling mornings with the kids? By commenting below, you'll also be entered to win a BRAND NEW mug from the shop to celebrate mindful mornings! One winner will win an 11oz mug (or you can snag this brand new one first here and save with code COFFEEBLOG). To enter, comment on this post with how you plan to or already do add mindfulness to your day. Then you can head over to the Crooks + Coffee VIP group to learn how to gain extra entries!
Winner of mug will be announced next Tuesday, May 15, 2018!