i’ve had a lot of requests for some day in the life type of posts, and while each day tends to look different from the next over here (at least the work part for josh and me), our morning routine is very consistent, so i thought i’d start with that!
one of the things josh and i have noticed as a few of our kids have entered the age of school years, is that our kids really thrive on structured consistency. we have a morning routine that rarely budges from the plan, everyone knows their role or what to do, and our mornings tend to run with pretty great ease because of it (can’t necessarily say the same for the bedtime routine, although we’re slowly getting there. it just seems to take much more work and effort.)
we really love our mornings together and i’m excited to share!
unless we’ve had some sort of sickness or sleep issues the night before, everyone tends to rise around this time. eleanor and samson have gotten so great at making their beds usually before they come out of their bedroom, and we usually all meet up in the kitchen.
in addition to making their beds, we have a set morning chore of helping unload the dishwasher from the dishes the night before together. it’s been so rewarding to see the kids really hone in on this chore and make it theirs. we have everyone help set the table for breakfast, or help make breakfast as well. i love when we are all in the kitchen together and everyone is contributing. it definitely creates a wonderful energy in there.
we usually have breakfast together around 7. our meal often consists of eggs of some sort (eleanor likes egg and cheese sandwiches), usually with fruit, toast and fixings. or else oatmeal (or steel cut oats) with a little brown sugar and fruit. our kids are oatmeal monsters and eat so much of it! we also sometimes do a slightly healthier type of waffle or cereal (the kids have a bowl of cheerios or fiber one and then a bowl of raisin bran or granola).
the kids (conrad especially right now) love to help cook in the kitchen and i’m so proud of my tiny helpers. i’ve talked about this before, but i feel it’s so important to allow kids to help and really do things on their own when we’re cooking together. i know it often takes longer and is a little bit messier, but it’s good for all of us, so it’s the norm around here. and it’s actually amazing what they learn at a young age and how helpful they soon become!
as we’re wrapping up breakfast together, we (nearly?!) always have a short scripture study around our kitchen table with the kids. i have to give josh full credit on this one, because he is so on the ball with making it fun, making it happen, and making it a consistent part of our lives together. i love that about him so much. reading just a single short little story together in the morning always leads to a great conversation as we wrap up, and it’s a highlight in our morning. even if it is just for 2 minutes.
i’ve mentioned this before, but we always try to make our time around the table together meaningful. we try to sit and talk when we eat, ask each other questions or talk about our day. we always bless our food through a prayer as we sit down, which we take turns saying. i think meal time is one of the most valuable times we have together as families, and i don’t think dinner time has to take priority. i feel like everyone is extra fresh and happy at breakfast, so that’s when we try to really get in the good stuff and have some wonderful family time.
after cleaning up breakfast, the last half hour of the hour before leaving for school is split between making lunches, finishing any last minute homework we didn’t complete the night before, and getting dressed and cleaned up for school. honestly, we don’t mind and really love when they play in the mornings together, so i think they’ve learned to get ready as fast as they can after breakfast so they can have time to play in the playroom before we leave for school. our kids play so well together lately, and we love seeing them interact like that in the morning, so it’s always a win for everyone when they have time to play.
josh has taken on all the prepping for the kids snacks and lunches each day, while i usually work on getting them all ready to go so we can be leaving out the door between 8 and 8:10 each morning.
as for packing school lunches and their separate school snacks, i feel like i could do an entire post about this! but in short, we pack either a ham and cheese, turkey and cheese, or peanut butter and jelly sandwich (hooray that eleanor finally realized she liked jelly!). and then we pack a couple vegetables and fruits like sliced peppers, tomatoes, cucumbers, blueberries, apples, strawberries, blackberries, mandarin oranges…we’ll add some almonds and occasionally we switch out the sandwich or snack for an individual container of hummus with carrots.
but it’s always a small amount of each, since we’ve found that they can’t finish it all in their short lunch break otherwise (our kids LOVE to chat during lunchtime with their friends, haha!) and it helps things not go to waste. we keep the snacks and packed lunches on the healthier side because we usually have a treat together in the afternoon or after dinner as dessert. we always have a little snack after school pick up before dinner, too.
as for getting dressed and ready for school, eleanor and samson are pretty great at doing it all on their own. brushing their teeth, dressing, using the bathroom, it’s so crazy to see how much they’ve grown into their own person this past year! i’ll help eleanor with her hair, but that’s usually the only thing.
conrad is pretty self sufficient these days too. (i feel like it always happens around the time they get potty trained, which he did rather early at the end of spring last year! having an older brother and sister who he looks up to surely sped that process up!) but he likes trying to get dressed and do things himself as well, which we encourage.
we try to get out the door to head to school around this time. the kids’ coats and shoes are all within reach for them, as are their backpacks so they can put their lunches and snacks inside on their own, and zip them up and grab them when they are ready to go. they refill their water canteens on their own too. only once has someone forgotten their backpack and we had to run back upstairs to grab it! success in my book! :)
side note: we’ve tried hard the past few months to get into the routine when we come home after school of not just hanging up our backpack, but pulling our lunch and snack containers out and bringing them to the kitchen counter beside the sink or in the dishwasher. we’re still practicing this one, but lately both E and S have been on top of it and it’s been really helpful for us.
we absolutely love the school that E and S are attending right now, and it’s a close walk from our apartment. with the morning sickness i’ve been dealt the last few months, josh has taken the lead on walking them to school which i’m so grateful for. when i’m feeling well, i try to make it over with them as well, but i tell you, this morning sickness has been the most frustrating thing lately and i’m so ready for it to be over!!!
i have a few friends who live on our same block that have little ones the same age as conrad, so we’ve made a little preschool coop for them (it’s four little ones) that we take turns hosting in our different homes. they go just two mornings a week for a three hour stretch, and we each host about one week a month. it’s been really fun for him to have a little “school” experience as well (we’re mostly just working on letters and lots of crafts and playtime) but that has been a fun spot in conrad’s mornings. he loves his friends and loves going to “school” like his older siblings. it’s a great time for josh and me get some work done together (since we usually tag team it otherwise because of C.)
and that is how a good part of our early morning looks! i’m still not sure i’m ever going to be a morning person, but i do always feel like it truly benefits both me and my family when i do make the effort of getting up extra early and being as happy as one can before the sun wakes up. our mornings together really do feel so special though and i’m so proud of my kids for really taking charge each day.
this is such an amazing chapter when you get to stand back slightly and watch them do their thing, and while sometimes i wanna step in and be like, “do it this way” or “let me hurry and do that”, it’s been rather rewarding to see them do it on their own and really excel.