This popular morning ritual post was also published on Elephant Journal. See the link below.
Since my daughter’s birth, I have been shamelessly focused on creating a bedtime ritual that helps my daughter maximize her sleep.
I do this not only so I can have some time with my hubby in the evenings, but also because brain research tells us that sleep is good for our bodies and brain. For this reason, I’m dedicated to teaching my daughter positive sleep habits that will benefit her for life. This passion led me to write a bedtime yoga book to help her release her extra energy at nighttime. Thanks to a combination of my focus, her temperament, and probably a dose of good luck, she is generally a great sleeper.
However, mornings were not always as blissful as bedtime. It’s no secret that I have struggled as a new mom to our spirited little one. We have very different temperaments, and I have not coped well with her daily screaming tantrums for the past two and a half years. My years of education and child development training seemed to have slipped out of my mind. At times, the tantrums started at 6:30 a.m. and sent us both into a negatively-charged start to the day—not healthy for either of us.
Last September, I went away with some girlfriends for two nights. It was my first social weekend away from my family since giving birth. I woke up in the mornings before the others and lay in bed reading a book. It was such a treat. After that weekend, I knew I had to create a morning ritual at home to help both my daughter and I start the day with calm and peace. My mental health depended on it, and I’m sure hers did, too.
Morning Meditation to Calm my Mind
On the first morning back, I created a little meditation area with a mat, bolster, yoga blocks, Buddha statue, and mala beads. I have wanted to include meditation as a daily habit for years, but I just never got around to it. Here’s what I did to create a morning ritual:
- No iPhone: I now leave my iPhone downstairs and no longer have it charging next to my bed, thus eliminating the temptation to check email first thing in the morning.
- 15 minutes of meditation: I sit silently for 15 minutes, using my mala beads to count my breath. Twice around the beads is 15 minutes, so I don’t need a timer in my bedroom.
- Morning cuddles: When my daughter wakes up, we enjoy a few minutes of morning cuddles and chatter.
- Play calming music: When we come down together for breakfast, I put on a Pandora station (like Kira Willey, Sarah McLachlan, Enya, Wah, or Vivialdi) to create a gentle mood for the day.
During my 15 minutes of morning meditation, my daughter is still sleeping, comes in to sit on my lap, or plays quietly in her room, which she never did before this. Regardless of whether she is actually meditating herself, the effects of my meditation practice seem to be radiating throughout the whole house. It’s hard to believe, but our mornings have shifted dramatically. I feel more emotionally-balanced and can once again enjoy a peaceful start to the day.
Have the tantrums stopped? Well, no. But they start later in the morning, when I am better able to provide her love and support. Creating this morning ritual has been one positive and proactive way that I can make a difference to my daughter’s health.
Create a Morning Ritual to Start your Day Calmly
How about you? What difference could starting a morning ritual in your household make to your family? What activities could you implement right away that would bring a sense of calm to the busyness of getting up, ready for school, and out the door? What can you do in the morning to set the tone for the day?
Ideas for 15-minute morning rituals:
- Practice yoga
- Do vigorous exercise
- Go for a short walk
- Write in your journal
- Have a cup of tea while reading a book
- Read your book in bed
- Listen to uplifting or soothing music
- Make a green smoothie
- Create art
- Sit looking out the window at nature
- Drink water with lemon
- Eat a healthy breakfast together
- Eat breakfast slowly and mindfully
- Take turns making your family breakfast in bed
- Talk about your intention for the day
- Discuss what you are grateful for
- Commit to doing three items on your to-do list that day
Whether you do this morning ritual alone or with your family, the point is to start your day slowly and with intention. Choose one to three things you are committed to doing every single day. Try doing your morning ritual for 40 consecutive days to establish it as a daily habit, so it becomes second nature to you just like brushing your teeth.
Hopefully, this morning ritual will help you and your family to reduce stress and make you all feel happier and healthier.
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Meditation for Kids Giveaway
To inspire mindfulness and meditation practices within your family, I’ve teamed up with several producers of meditation and mindfulness resources to offer you this awesome Meditation for Kids giveaway. Hopefully, these wonderful resources will bring more calm and peace into your home. My reviews of these products can be found on our Meditation for Kids Gift Guide. Amazon affiliate links are below for your convenience.
#1 Winner: Teach Children Meditation Online Course:
#2 Winner: Yoga 4 Classrooms Online Course:
#3 Winner: Book Prizes:
Imaginations 2, by Carolyn Clarke
Sitting Still Like a Frog, by Eline Snel
Peaceful Piggy Meditation, by Kerry Lee MacLean
#4 Winner: CD Prizes:
Rainbow Walk, by Shakta Khalsa & Checka Antifonario
How to be a Cloud, by Kira Willey
Some of the resources above were given to me free for review, but all opinions are my own. Please read the full Contest Rules below for details.
We look forward to your entries. Thank you for taking the time to participate. Please let me know if you have any questions or problems with the Rafflecopter tool below by sending me an e-mail at giselle at kidsyogastories dot com.
Meditation for Kids Giveaway
To enter the contest, sign in using your Facebook or e-mail account and click on the different ways to enter. You can enter every day using this Rafflecopter online giveaway tool.
a Rafflecopter giveaway
1. Entries are open worldwide.
2. You can be any age to enter.
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4. Please enter using the Rafflecopter tool above, obtaining points as follow the different options.
5. You can enter every day.
6. No purchase is necessary.
7. Kids Yoga Stories and the other publishers accept no responsibility or liability for any injuries or losses that may result from practicing the suggested meditation and yoga practices. Please ensure your own safety and the safety of the children.
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Happy New Year, Healthy Kids Series
This post is part of the Happy New Year, Healthy Kids series, with 20 expert bloggers weighing in about their best tips for raising happy, healthy kids in 2015. For the month of January, this series of posts will cover everything from creativity and sleep to social development and nutrition:
Free Play Every Day! The Free Play Toolkit || The Inspired Treehouse
How to Be a Tour Guide for Language Development || The Inspired Treehouse guest contributor: Becky Bowen
The Best Ways to Support Kids in Social Situations || Encourage Play
7 Ways To Encourage Gross Motor Development || Pink Oatmeal
EXPLORE MORE – WORRY LESS: Children depend on it || Timbernook
How to Rotate Toys in 5 Simple Steps || OT Cafe
Weekly Creativity Prompts || Tiny Rotten Peanuts
Everyday Learning in Everyday Life || Your Kids OT
Mindfulness and a Morning Ritual || Kids Yoga Stories
Building Up Your Kids Immune System Through Nutrition || Your Kids Table
Why is Sensory Play so Important for Development? || Golden Reflections Blog
A Moving School Experience: Classroom Ideas for Kids With Sensory Needs ||
The Inspired Treehouse guest contributors: Dr. Jane Humphries and Kari Rains
The Power of Food and How to Expand Your Kids’ Palate || Prescribe Nutrition
Using Sensory Play to Connect With Your Child || Mama OT
Executive Functioning and Cognitive Skills || Tools to Grow
Tips for Maximizing Your Next Visit to the Pediatrician || Seattle Mama Doc
Visual Motor Integration || Sugar Aunts
Calming Strategies for Kids || Yogapeutics
Inspiration for Following Your Child’s Lead || Meri Cherry