It’s summertime! A time of slower days, calmer schedules, simpler meals and mornings spent sleeping in…or not if you have kids. I’ve started to realize now that it really doesn’t matter how late my kids go to bed. They will still bounce out of bed at 6:30 or 7 (if I’m lucky) each morning. There are plenty of days in the summer where we wake up slow, snuggled in the big bed watching a show. I also want our summers to be purposeful and meaningful in other ways. With young kids, sleeping in just does not happen right now. I decided to take control of our mornings this summer and not let them be a source of frustration when my kids are ready to start the day but I may not be.
Try out these ideas for purposeful (although early) mornings:
- Set up “centers” for independent play. This could take as little as one minute the night before. My daughter lived for the centers they had in kindergarten. So I adapted it to our playroom and some of their independent play is more structured into centers. The night before, set up some blocks in one corner, get out puzzles for another corner, books for another and dress up or kitchen play in another. Or you can set up a doctor station and catch a few more zzz’s while your kids check up on your health.
- Make a fun breakfast. Why not start the day out in a fun way? An easy way to shake off the early morning sleepiness is to make a fun breakfast. Crepes, pancakes, muffins, waffles. Get in the kitchen and have some fun!
- Read. If you’re not quite ready to leave your bed, but don’t want to turn on the TV, keep a basket by your bed with a few favorite books (or new ones from the library). When the kids come running in at that early hour, snuggle up and read some books until you are all ready to get up for the day.
- Play! One of the best things we have done this summer is to get outside early before the heat sets in. Many days we finish our breakfast, get dressed quickly and head outside. We get out the scooters, the sidewalk chalk and the bubble machine, the kids play and sometimes I even get to read a little of my book! The other day it was cloudy and breezy and we ended up outside for an hour and a half!
- Head to the pool or splashpad. Yes, it’s 8 am. But I’ve found this is one of the best times of day to hit the pool or splashpad (the other being between 3 and 5, to avoid the witching hour). Often times, there is no one there. The kids have free reign of the pool and splashpad and there are less people for you to have to sort through to find your own little ones. A slow quiet morning at the pool is sometimes just what we need!
- Donuts aren’t just for Saturdays! Surprise your kids by loading them up in the car early on a weekday and grabbing a donut or two and stopping at the park for a “donut picnic”. Any other fun outing will do, too!
Someday in the future, summer days with kids may include sleeping in past 7 am, but if those days are not today for you, try a few of these ideas. With just a little planning and effort, mornings can be purposeful and set the tone for a great day!