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For working parents, the mornings with their kids are especially precious. Those stolen moments in the AM are when your baby is most alert, awake, and engaged. How can you make the most of them (while also making sure you’re out the door in time for drop off). Kelly Ho, Wunder’s curriculum developer and an accomplished speech therapist, offers some early-to-rise ways to maximize your mornings.
Before you read this: specific activities don’t matter.
Every family’s routine, dynamic, and schedule is their own. Instead of focusing on adding anything specific (which will only slow you down) try to better utilize the time you have.
Trying to add 30-minutes of schedule play here won’t help anybody. Instead, mix and match these as they fit into your own lifestyle!
1. Put down the device
Give your kiddo your undivided attention. No iPhones, computers, or tablets (you’ll have plenty of that at the office). He or she will recognize and appreciate that this time with you is truly special. They know when they have your attention.
2. Make breakfast an event
Resist the urge to shovel food in as quickly as possible and take a moment to eat the “most important meal of the day” together. Serve a well-balanced breakfast, and then tell your child all about it. Describe the food on the plate—the colors, shapes, textures, and all the healthy nutrients inside. For older kiddos, talk about how nutritious food helps our bodies grow and fight against germs.
Want extra credit? Involve your little one in making the meal, even if it’s just pulling them over to watch you chop up the strawberries. It’ll give them a better understanding of what food is and how it gets to them.
3. Build a morning routine chart
This helps your child identify exactly what’s going on in that morning rush. You’ll want to include pictures and all the things that need to be done to get out the door—teeth brushing, hair combing, face washing, getting dressed, eating breakfast, putting shoes on, grabbing your backpack and lunchbox, kissing goodbye, leaving the house.
As you go through the steps, talk through them with your child:
For example: “First, we wake up. We go to the bathroom and get our teeth brushed. This keeps our teeth clean, shiny and healthy!” “We give each other a kiss and hug to show that we love each other. This makes us happy.”
As your child becomes more familiar with the routine, encourage your child to take ownership of some of these tasks (e.g. squeezing toothpaste, putting the plate away, pouring juice into a cup). It is important for your child to learn to be self-sufficient. Routines will help them manage their behaviors.
4. Amp up the affection
Start their day on the right foot. Hugs and kisses when they wake up. Tell them “Good morning!” and “I missed you while you were sleeping.” Saying things like “Have a good day,” “I love you,” and “I am proud of you” teach them about kindness and give them an extra boost to face the day without you. These displays of affection will make your child very happy and help them like mornings down the line.
5. Have a daily “connect” time with your child
Ok, we are adding one thing to the routine. Think of this as one little special moment that you guys share. It’s not much, just something as simple as giving each other a hug before leaving the door, placing a sticker on the calendar, or a fist bump at drop-off teaches them to expect a certain part of the routine and helps build on your already very special bond.