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Are Empowered Morning Routines The Key To Thriving Children?

Cassidy Leggett stands out as a foundational sleep expert with a robust foundation in sleep consulting, newborn care, child behavior, and family child development. Grounded in science-based practices, Cassidy empowers families with an array of tools, enriching their parenting journey and optimizing sleep for holistic child development.

 
Executive Contributor Cassidy Leggett

Discover the transformative power of morning routines for children. From fostering stability and structure that contribute to their mental and physical well-being to creating smoother mornings and dissolving conflicts, these simple rituals lay the foundation for a positive start to each day.

 

 Young mother with a child brushing teeth in the morning

The power of morning routines: Exploring the science behind success

One of the most significant benefits of morning routines is their ability to awaken your child's brain gently. By incorporating simple yet impactful actions such as opening blinds to invite in natural sunlight and offering a cheerful "good morning!" A cheerful wake-up call jolts them into action and sets the tone for the day ahead, helping regulate their internal clock and ensuring a smoother, more productive day.

 

Why morning predictability is the secret sauce for children's growth

Morning routines offer a crucial dose of predictability and stability; in a world full of surprises and changes, knowing what to expect each morning can be an invaluable gift for young minds. Establishing consistent routines provides a comforting anchor that mitigates anxiety, stress, and uncertainty, empowering your child to approach each day with confidence and optimism. This streamlined approach smooths out school mornings and maintains a sense of structure during vacations and even when the kids are out of school, ensuring consistency and ease regardless of the day's agenda.

 

Understanding the psychology behind predictable mornings

Incorporating the insights from the American Academy of Pediatrics, it becomes evident that children flourish when exposed to regular, predictable, and consistent routines. These routines are the backbone of a child's day, providing stability and structure that contribute to their mental well-being and overall development. Moreover, by integrating healthy habits into daily activities, such as getting dressed before breakfast or preparing for the day ahead, these routines also promote positive effects on physical health. As parents, by prioritizing the establishment of morning routines, we set our children up for success in the present and lay the foundation for a healthier and happier future.


Challenging the status quo: Morning routines for all ages

Morning routines hold a universal appeal, transcending age and neurodiversity to resonate with children of all backgrounds and abilities. From the earliest stages of infancy to the challenging landscape of adolescence, these routines serve as pillars of stability, security, and empowerment, nurturing resilience in the next generation. Embedded within the structure of the morning routine is an opportunity for parents to instill a sense of agency, independence, and ownership in their children. By offering age-appropriate choices, such as selecting clothes or deciding where to lay them out, parents foster a spirit of cooperation and collaboration extending beyond the morning hours, shaping positive daily interactions.

 

Additionally, studies affirm that irrespective of a child's circumstances, there are proven methods to facilitate smoother mornings and mitigate conflicts. According to research, proactive planning is paramount. Engaging in preparatory activities the evening prior, such as packing lunches, showering, and laying out clothing, substantially diminishes morning stress and time constraints. These simple yet effective strategies empower parents and children to navigate mornings easily.

 

Why morning legos can wait: Prioritizing responsibilities for kids

Furthermore, prioritizing non-fun tasks before breakfast—such as brushing teeth or tidying up—instills invaluable lessons in accountability, responsibility, and time management. Ensuring that children are dressed before breakfast is crucial. If a child struggles to transition from playing with toys to eating breakfast or brushing teeth, it's best to avoid including toys as a morning activity altogether. For example, it can be challenging for a child to finish their morning routine before diving into something enjoyable, like playing with Legos. Children need to fulfill all responsibilities before engaging in other activities. By infusing these activities with purpose and significance, you equip your child with the tools to navigate the mornings.

 

Debunking myths: Why reward charts may not be the answer

Some parents inquire about the effectiveness of reward charts in maintaining consistency with routines and serving as visual reminders for tasks. While reward charts offer initial guidance, the enduring success of establishing routines hinges on the consistency and structure parents provide. It's essential to emphasize that parents must clearly define their expectations before teaching children what is expected of them. For children who are visual learners, a step-by-step morning routine poster board adorned with images is more helpful; however, it's important not to rely solely on it. Instead, engaging children with curiosity questions fosters critical thinking and cooperation. For instance, rather than simply instructing a child to brush their teeth, asking them, "How do we take care of our teeth?" encourages active participation in the routine and promotes a sense of ownership.


Morning empathy: How understanding builds stronger bonds with children

Morning routines play a vital role in fostering empathy and communication between parents and children. By acknowledging feelings, setting clear expectations, and enforcing boundaries with compassion and consistency, you create a nurturing environment that promotes emotional intelligence, resilience, and enduring bonds of trust and affection. Incorporating empathy, validation, and clear instructions is crucial.

 

To foster empathy, demonstrate to your child how their actions impact the world around them. However, it's important to avoid blame and choose your words wisely. If you feel triggered, take a moment to collect yourself before responding. For instance, you might say, "Look at my face; I'm so happy you knew what was next in the morning routine," or "My ears hurt when you screamed in my face."

 

Validating your child's feelings can help reduce anger and strengthen your connection. Letting them know you understand and are on their side fosters a sense of being heard and accepted. Remember, the goal isn't always to solve their problems but to create a space where they feel comfortable expressing themselves. For example, you might say, "I know you want to stay; I love staying home and cuddling with you, too. I can't wait for family day this weekend."

 

Offering alternatives is also essential in guiding your child's behavior. Instead of simply telling them what they can't do, provide options for what they can do instead. This helps them understand what behaviors are acceptable and gives them the tools to succeed. For instance, you could say, "You can play with Lego after breakfast but not before."

 

Lastly, remember to focus on the positive and celebrate the little victories along the way. By incorporating these elements into your morning routine, you create a supportive and nurturing environment that strengthens the parent-child bond.

 

In summary

In essence, the art of crafting a morning routine is a testament to the profound impact that small, intentional actions can have on the trajectory of a child's day and, by extension, their life.


Whether it's the gentle warmth of sunlight streaming through the window or the reassuring embrace of a familiar routine, every element of the morning ritual plays a vital role in shaping your child's journey toward success, fulfillment, and flourishing in an ever-evolving world.


Read more from Cassidy Leggett

 

Cassidy Leggett, Sleep Consultant

During her family and child development studies, Cassidy Leggett noticed the gap between theory, practical support, and community for families, inspiring her to provide transformative guidance. Specializing in child sleep, newborn care, and child behavior, she offers science-based tools attuned to each family's unique dynamics, emphasizing the critical role of sleep in promoting optimal brain health. Her approach aligns behavior with temperament for holistic child growth. With her expertise, Cassidy empowers families to navigate challenges confidently, fostering deeply enriching home environments for maximum growth.

 

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