The holidays can be a magical time for families. Co-parenting and blended families can add a different dynamic, but even non-blended families can benefit from having a solid morning routine. This keeps anxieties low for the whole family, especially during what might otherwise be a stressful time. Below are some things to keep in mind.
Family Time First
Life in the 21st century is nonstop, and balancing different activities can seem like we are always on the go. However, children need us to be present, especially if this is their first holiday season in a separated household. The morning is the perfect time to check in on how everyone is doing. Over breakfast, make sure all technology is put away so you can really try to engage in conversation. They may be recalcitrant at first, doubly so if they are experiencing lots of change. Yet, by making time for them and demonstrating that you are there to listen, you can get them to talk about how they feel. Ask open, gentle questions to prompt them, and make sure you don’t come across as accusatory. Breakfast really is the perfect time to have heart-to-heart conversations with no distractions, so make it your special time to bond this holiday season.
Keep Your Energy Up
Children seem to have a never-ending supply of energy. To keep up with the growing excitement of the coming holidays, with all its delicious food and potential presents, we need to give ourselves a boost, especially in the morning. Start your day right by not hitting snooze, as this can disrupt your sleep cycle. Instead, immediately get up, and let natural light into your room. This helps your body wake, and it will also help you sleep at night. Working out regularly can also boost energy, even if it’s low-intensity aerobics such as going for a morning walk with the kids. Eating well and throughout the day with healthful snacks can also keep you energized and ready to tackle anything that comes your way. Don’t reach for another cup of coffee if you can avoid it, as this can disrupt sleep and cause you to continue the cycle of exhaustion. Instead, grab a glass of water alongside protein- and fiber-rich snack options.
Family Exercise Routines
There are many benefits to routines, such as having your children make their bed first thing. They may need normalcy now more than ever, so create routines they can easily manage. One such habit to develop is that of exercise. It’s healthy and helps them process some of the excess energy they may have over the excitement of the holidays. Further, this can be an activity you do as a family. Even just 30 minutes a day can reinforce bonds, and if you do it out of doors, can be especially fun for kids. Try a circuit routine, something they can learn through repetition, as this is fast and relatively straightforward. If there is extra stress from a recent divorce or separation, a workout can be just the thing to help process this.
Add Some Flair for Fun
Routines can seem boring, especially to children. It’s our jobs as parents to make sure they’re healthy and happy, so make their mornings fun. One such way is to put on upbeat, age-appropriate music for the whole family to bop to. Create your own playlist with some of their favorites, and introduce them to some of yours as well. Your child’s idea of fun might be turning on a video game or grabbing their phone. However, try to resist the desire to engage in tech first thing in the morning. Instead, focus on each other to help develop a positive mindset for the day and relax our dependencies on technology as entertainment.
The holidays can be just as stressful as they are enjoyable. Separated families can experience this more acutely, but that doesn’t mean we can’t find ways to process that stress healthily as a family. By spending time together and developing a good routine, we can set our kids up for success, as well as give ourselves the boost in energy we need.
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