Since my daughter’s birth, I have been shamelessly focused on creating a bedtime ritual that helps maximize her sleep.
I do this not only so I can have some time with my hubby in the evenings, but also because 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 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 me 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 busy-ness 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 a 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.
Author: Giselle Shardlow
Assistant Editor: Rebecca Lynch / Editor: Cat Beekmans
Image: Author’s Own