Around a year ago, I started morning time in our home. Morning time is this sacred time spent connecting, reading books, poetry, and learning new things. This was all done from the warmth and comfort of our dining room table. It’s a habit I see us continuing for years to come. Keep reading for concrete tips on how to establish a morning time routine with your young children.
How to Establish Simple A Morning Time Routine
When I had the urge to start a morning time, I wasn’t really sure where to begin. It all stemmed from my three-year-old’s desire to know what day it was each morning at breakfast. She started to notice certain patterns. We went grocery shopping on a specific day, had ballet class on a specific day, etc.. So she picked up on it, and wanted to talk about it. I knew it was time to start implementing some sort of calendar system for her, so she could see each day/week/month planned out.
I didn’t want to replicate a classroom setting in any way, but I did want to establish routine for my girls. Plus, it was an easy way to add some beauty to our mornings through poetry, and some fun, light-hearted educational activities. (Like learning the days of the week.)
Now that we are homeschooling our morning time routine looks a little different, but this is an amazing routine for children from around 18 months to age 5! The best part? Once you’ve gathered the 3-4 materials you’ll need, there’s no prep necessary! And I think this goes without saying, but this is an amazing routine for homeschool moms and NON-homeschool moms alike! If you have young toddlers at home with you… try this!
My Pre-Morning Time Routine
Note: I realize this will look differently if you aren’t home with your kids every morning, but weekends are a great time to implement family breakfast/morning time routines too! This is just what we do since I am home with my young children every morning.
01. Set the stage.
My first few moments when I head downstairs are spent getting the house ready for the day. I open the blinds, light a candle, or put some oils in my diffuser. I make my coffee. (My husband typically brews the espresso, and I add the cream.) Then I start on breakfast for us.
02. Make a nutritious breakfast.
This was key to our success with morning time – especially in the beginning. I try to have a whole foods-based breakfast for my girls that includes a fruit of some sort. Sometimes I give them a smoothie and a scone. But either way, something they can sit and eat for quite awhile. Think granola bowls, waffles with peanut butter and fruit, breakfast burritos, etc.. We are a family who loves big breakfasts!
Once You’re Seated At The Table
So now that you’re at the table, ready to eat, take a few moments to have your breakfast. Some days we’d wait until near the end of our meal to start our morning time routine, and other days we start as soon as mom sits down. The girls eventually both started to anticipate it, so I knew I had to start and just eat as I went. I don’t mind it very much, but if it’s something that you don’t want to do (eat while you read/sing) then feel free to set that expectation the first few times you have morning time together.
01. Breakfast Poem
The breakfast poem is so fun! Since we are doing a full-fledged Charlotte Mason-inspired morning time, we start with a song now, but I loved starting our day with our breakfast poem. You can read from any book of poetry, but the one we chose was Sing A Song of Seasons: A Nature Poem for Each Day of the Year. I just go to the date and read the poem for that date. I don’t try to analyze it for them at all. I simply read it, and we enjoy it. Sometimes my 4.5 year old will make connections to other things we’ve read. Sometimes my 22 month old will notice the pictures and talk about them. Sometimes neither of my children won’t say anything. I simply read it and move on to calendar!
I bought the Melissa & Doug My First Daily Calendar because of it’s convenience. It also has most major holidays, and my 4.5 year old lives for holidays. (She’s a huge Veterans Day fan.) Seriously, it made her so happy to talk about different holidays. The calendar prompted us to discuss the following topics:
-days of the week
-months of the year
-moods/feelings (happy, sad, frustrated)
-daily activities (classes/park/playdate, etc.)
You’d think it’s a lot for a little brain, but truly their minds love it. When G was three, she was so into this calendar and all that went into it. It truly helped open up so much discussion for us at the table during breakfast and provided amazing connection between the two of us.
When we were done with our calendar magnets we would sing the “Days of the Week” and “Months of the Year”. Since I taught Kindergarten I have my own way I like to sing them, but Dr. Jean Feldman has a good recording on how they are supposed to sound, if you aren’t familiar. (Pro tip: learn it ahead of time, then teach it to your kids)
This can be as simple as singing the alphabet song together. However, my daughter is a classic auditory learner and wanted to do flashcards. I personally don’t recommend doing this if your child isn’t interested in it. Some mornings she wouldn’t want to do it and other mornings she would do it twice. She also loved to ask ME the letters. (A fun way for them to turn the tables on mom!) The main takeaway here is, when all else fails… sing the ABC’s. If you have an older child, say, 3+ who is interested in flashcards. By all means, do it! Here are the ones we used.
After this we moved into story time/art. Sometimes this was directly after. Usually if they were done eating so I’d read a book to them while they color, then they would both go off and play for a while. During this time where they either color or play independently after I read them a picture book, I would finish my coffee, do the dishes from breakfast, and/or sit and watch them. Then morning time was officially over until the next day!
Other Helpful Tips
Implement one thing at a time. Implement one thing only! If your child is younger. Read just the poem with them! It will still be meaningful!
Make it your own.
If you aren’t able to be with your child during the mornings, try making this a dinner time routine instead! Modify it to work for you!
Add some art/craft time.
If you find your kids are wanting more, add in a read-aloud! Add in some art/craft time! This can be anything you want it to be!
Morning Time Materials
This does not have to be an expensive endeavor. I spent around $50 on the materials, and we still use them in our homeschool every day. I also use them for multiple kids. While it didn’t cost much, what I did spend on these materials was money well-spent. This time is very special to us now and something both my daughters and I enjoyed very much. Here are the items I mention in the post!
I hope this post on how to establish a morning time routine with your young children.
Thank you so much for reading!