“It’s a Beautiful Morning”- Oh you know the song. You can envision a sunny day with a smiling girl or boy running with arms outstretched through a flowery meadow. Well, that is not me when it is time to get up. I am a night owl. When I hear the alarm go off, I hit the ten minute button at least 3 times before I rise. When I finally pull my body out of bed everyone knows not to talk to me for a while. This trait has even been passed down to one of my sons, as well. It’s not that I like being a night owl, but I have never been a morning person, even when my life was forced into that mold. My husband is just the opposite of me. He is the early bird. So, we have found different patterns of doing things. Because I am a night owl and don’t function as well when I first get up, I do my planning for the next day the night before. I pack my lunch and lay out all of my clothes and have whatever items I will need for the morning close at hand. For my husband, since he is a morning person, he does all of his planning and getting ready for his day in the morning.
Now, some of you may have found that you have children who are morning people and some kids who don’t function very well in the wee hours after dawn. You may find that you get frustrated with your little ones who are slow moving and can’t seem to get ready for school. It may be that they are on a different clock than you. There are strategies that you can use to help ease their morning time. For those children who have trouble getting up in the morning, it is easy to use anger or punishment as a tool to get the kids moving. Nevertheless, I have found that positive reinforcers work much more effectively.
There are many positive reinforcers that you can use. I have seen silly alarm clocks that make crazy noises or play babbling songs. I saw one today that shoots out three different shapes of blocks and the child has to put the blocks in the correct puzzle space to make the alarm go off. That may be positive or negative depending on your child. There are moms who plan the outfits with their kids for the entire week and then label their closet or dressers with the days of the week and place the clothes accordingly with their correct label. This not only has the child’s clothes ready in the morning, but helps teach the child the days of the week. There are also a variety of charts that many moms use to show their children the jobs that they need to do each morning in the order that they need to be done. These picture charts are in their rooms, with pictures of the bed for the child to make his bed. Then a picture of clothes to symbolize putting on clothes. The next picture is a cereal bowl for breakfast and finally a toothbrush for brushing teeth. Another strategy for auditory learners, was for a mom to put some of her kids favorite songs on a playlist on her phone. Then she would play the music in the morning. The kids would know the order of the songs, and would realize if they were falling behind by where they were on the playlist.
All of these strategies are incorporating the parent putting forth effort up front by planning the strategy, but then the kids are learning to do the work themselves without the parents being that involved. The parents may give some moral support and help as it is needed, such as tying shoes or fixing hair, etc. But, basically the kids are independently learning the skills of getting themselves ready in the morning and doing morning chores. They are learning to be responsible, and can be proud of their accomplishments. This is when you can award them with positive praise or some kind of reward, such as doughnuts for breakfast on Friday, extra screen time on the t.v. or the i-pads or their toy devices, or going to get snow cones. I have attached some articles that you may like to read about these ideas.
On the other hand, you may have kids who are the early birds. Kids who wake up at the first ray of dawn, before you have even thought of getting up. They are tugging at your pillow saying “Mommy it’s time to get up.” You thought that you just closed your eyes for a good night’s rest. All you want to do is pull the covers over your head and pretend that you didn’t hear their call. Well, I have been told that parents who have had this kind of situation have given their kids special fluffy blankets to snuggle up in and told them to go back to bed with their snuggly blanket and read some of their books until mommy and daddy get up. There are some parents who have installed a timer in their children’s room and have told them that they need to stay in their room and play quietly until the timer goes off. This is when it does come in handy to have sound machines in place. If you have other children, and they each have a sound machine in their room, then the early risers won’t wake the others up. This thing called sleep can be a very important commodity in the household of a young family.
I will end with a funny story. When my younger son was in kindergarten his class had a little “store” where the students could purchase items when they had good behavior. Well, one day my little tyke came running into the house all excited. He came running up to me with a flushed face and a huge smile across his sweet little face. “Mommy”, he uttered. “I have something special that I got just for you today”. He looked so proud of himself, as if he had just made the greatest accomplishment. I couldn’t wait to see what small treasure that he had grasped in his hands. Suddenly he pushed into my lap a yellow cow’s bell! I was startled! I began thinking – “Where in the world did he get this?” and “Why is it so precious to him?” and “Why does he want to give it to me?” Then he quickly answered all of my questions. He began his story by telling me that he had gotten enough good behavior points to buy something from the store at school today. I told him how proud I was of him. Then he continued by saying that he bought the yellow cow bell because he wanted to ring it as an alarm clock to wake me up in the mornings!!
I still have that yellow bell. When I went back into teaching I used it as a bell in the classroom. I always loved telling the story to my students. They thoroughly enjoyed hearing any story that I told about my boys. Funny thing though, the son who gave me the bell, is the son who inherited the same sleep disposition as his mother!! So, I guess I will need to give the bell back to him!
God has given us every day that we have as His gift to us. Every moment is precious, and we cannot live a moment again. Psalm 31: 15 states “My times are in your hands.” God has given us every moment and He has already planned our day. He desires for us to begin our days with joy, not discord. One of my favorite passages is Zephaniah 3:17 “For the Lord your God is living among you. He is a mighty Savior. He will take delight in you with gladness. With his love, he will calm all your fears. He will rejoice over you with joyful songs.” God desires to give us joy, but we must turn to Him at the beginning of each day and give our day to Him. So, let’s pray with our kids, have a devotional with them before they leave for school. That is a great way to start off the day on the right foot. Then it can really be a beautiful morning!
Here are some of the strategies that I mentioned above that you can read and find out more information.
May the Lord keep you in the palm of his hand,