Updated: May 17, 2020
The hardest part of my day is by far the morning time. Waking up and getting myself and two young boys ready to head out the door for school and work. Quite often these mornings set the tone for my day. If it’s a bad morning there is sinking pit of guilt in my stomach, so my focus is not where it needs to be. If it’s a good morning, it’s usually because I did everything for them to help us get out the door easily. Really, that’s not good for anyone. If your a parent of young children you know exactly what I’m talking about, the morning grind! Wake up, make breakfast, eat breakfast, pack lunches, get changed, brush teeth, pack bags, jackets on, and put your shoes on, put your shoes on, PUT YOUR SHOES ON!!!!!
We’ve all been there at some point. The constant reminders, the running around acting crazy, the toothpaste on the mirror, the unwillingness to wear weather appropriate clothes, and the lack of urgency to be somewhere on time. It’s frustrating and disappointing, but it’s my reality. My wife and I are always talking and comeseearting about our morning. We are fortunate enough to be at home in the morning to have this time with our boys before they go to school, and we want to enjoy it. But it’s just so hard to when the morning gets as hectic as they can. Every morning we wake up ready to face the new day and try to make the morning better, but it always ends up in the same result.
The other day my wife post this great internet meme on her Instagram.
It sums things up perfectly. We want to be better, we try to be better, but the constant barrage of repetitive behaviours is the straw that breaks the proverbial back. So in my journey of self betterment I decided to take some steps of winning back my morning. So I turned to Tim Ferriss’s podcast, specifically episode #105, “5 Morning Rituals That Help Me Win The Day”. Sounds pretty awesome right? Don’t you want to win your day? I sure do! Well, Tim, your awesome, but your 5 morning rituals clearly are not meant for parents with young children. Unless we wake up at 4:30 or 5:00am to start our rituals! But who’s going to do that? Especially after you were woken up at 3:30am by a toilet flushing or scary dream. The reality is, you are waking up when they wake up!
If you haven’t listen to this podcast before, you should. It’s only about 25 minutes long and it has some great self care ideas to “Win the morning, win your day”. There are some aspects you could probably use in your morning routine, but with kids it needs to be adjusted. The 5 rituals are as follows; 1 - Make your bed. 2 - Mediate for 20 minutes. 3 - Hang, yes you heard me right, hang. He hangs on something either upside down with gravity boots or by his hands to decompress his spine. 4 - Drink a cup of tea. 5 - Journal, just a simple 5 minute journal of what you want to do for the day and some gratitude. Sounds lovely doesn’t it? I would love to just sit around after making my bed and have a cup of tea while journaling, sounds wonderful. Mediate! even better, 20 minutes of peace and serenity by myself. Sign me up! And I can tell you one thing if I accomplished those four in the morning. I would be able to hang, because my wife would string me up and hang me herself. But it won’t be by my hands or gravity boots.
Since these 5 specific rituals are not overly realistic for parents with young kids. I have decided to create 5 rituals for parents, realistic and helpful ones. If you can accomplish these 5 rituals, and win your morning with kids, you will be the champion of your day. So here are 5 rituals I will be adopting for the mornings to be the champion of my day.
1 - Pack lunch the night before.
So technically not part of the morning. But if you can accomplish this task the night before, then you free up a ton of time during the hectic morning rush. It will instantly decrease your stress because it will be one less thing you need to multi-task. It will also keep you less distracted during the morning, and believe me when I tell you this, they look for those moments you are distracted and take full advantage of it! If your kids are capable, have them get involved with pack their lunch the night before, it will teach them some great time management skills in the process. Champions are well prepared for the challenges they will face along their journey. This is a small task that will allow you to be prepared for morning success.
2 - Make your bed.
This one is on Tim’s list, and I think it should be on your list with the kids as well. I really like his reasons for making your bed first thing in the morning. He states that making your bed is completing your first task of the day, and if you can accomplish this you are ready for the next task. It also give you control over the day. Because no matter how crazy things are in the morning or in your day, you can always make your bed. Also in the first ritual I mentioned the word distraction, a messy bed can create external distraction that will cause internal chaos. So the more organized your environment is, the more organized your day is. Also at the end of the day you go back to that bed, and that one task can give you a sense of accomplishment. So first thing in the morning before you and your kids leave your room, make those beds!
3 - Leave your phone alone.
When we are on our phone what does that lead to? Distraction! Are you sensing a common theme. My wife actually pointed this out to me the other day. I like to get e-mails sent right away, because I hate having piles of e-mails to catch up on. But the moment you go on your phone those little eyes spot the distraction, and you will go from winning the morning to being mercy ruled into a loss. If you are going to take them to school or daycare you will have plenty of time to send those emails or post that Instagram picture. I try and keep my phone in my room now to avoid the temptation.
4 - Breakfast should consist of fat and high protein.
This should be the case for you and your kids. Breakfast stands for breaking your fast. Your kids last calories consumed was probably dinner. Lets say you finish that dinner at 6pm, and are feeding them breakfast the next morning at 7am. That is 13 hours between meals, they have basically gone through intermittent fasting. When we give them a breakfast full of carbohydrates, we are going to see blood glucose levels raise and insulin spike because of it. So what is that going to mean for your morning? Craziness and meltdowns! Because they will have glucose rushes and sugar crashes. So it’s better to get some fat and protein in all of you in the morning. This will help regulate blood glucose levels, keep you from fatiguing quickly, provide your brain with some oxidation and nutrients to help you focus better, and most importantly keep everyone calm.
5 - Walk to school.
I realize that not everyone as the luxury to walk to school. But if you can, do it! Walking to school has tremendous benefits for you and your kids. Stats from the Public Health Agency of Canada are showing that 30% of of children ages 5-17 are overweight or obese. It also says that kids ages 5-11 are spending 7.6 hours per day being totally sedentary. These numbers are scary. Walking stimulates the releases of endorphins, which is a mood altering hormone that mental health experts are suggesting can help with mental health related illness. These endorphins calm the mind and give you a sense of positivity. Such a great way to start a kids day at school, and starting your day away from the kids! It will make them more receptive to learn and you more productive in your busy day ahead.
Tim’s advises to try and accomplish 3 of his rituals a day, for a dude without kids this is fair enough. But champions don’t just hit 3 out of 5. If you want to win your morning with kids, and be a champion of your day, you need to go 5 for 5.
Real Kinetic Fitness