How a morning family meeting can set a positive tone for the day.
‘Mommy! It’s time for our meeting!’
I love hearing my 4-year-old say those words. It shows me that he values our special time together as much as I do. Like all moms, I am busy. I am outnumbered during the day and there is just a lot to get done! But I want to make sure to have special moments with each child, so I need a way to get that face time in. Enter the morning family meeting. The best way to make sure I get one on one time with my children is to prioritize and make it something we do first thing every day. There are so many benefits to this morning meeting, the best of which is getting to start the day with my kids on a positive note. Here is how to create a morning family meeting routine to start your children’s day off right.
Why a Morning Family Meeting?
We do our meeting first thing in the morning. As in the kids don’t leave their room before we have had our meeting. By doing it first thing I know that we get this time every day, no excuses. My kids are also really happy when they wake up in the morning, and really excited to see me. It puts a smile on all of our faces to be together and hug. Finally, this morning meeting sets the tone for our day. We start off on a positive note of love.
Morning Meeting Components
Our morning meetings don’t take very long. We can get it done in just a few minutes if we need to or we can linger over some snuggles. However long it goes, I always hit the same main points. I lead the first part of the meeting, then I turn it over to my kids.
Remember Our Behavior Standards
I always review our overall behavior standards. Yeah, that sounds a bit harsh to start the day off with the rules. But it is important for kids to learn that how they behave matters. So I like to start the day with a reminder of what our mindset should be, and that I haven’t lowered my expectations at all. For us, this means we say our behavior mantra: listening ears, gentle hands, obedient feet. Fast and simple, but very effective.
Review Anything We Are Working On
There is usually some sort of attitude or behavioral matter we are working on. My kids are good kids, but they are still kids. So after we mention our all the time expectations we hit the areas of trouble. Sometimes this is a reminder to not mess with their siblings or to work on asking for help instead of having a tantrum. This isn’t a time for a lecture. Again, it is just a reminder of behaviors we are working on. I try to phrase it in the most positive way possible, and we don’t dwell on it. This is the perfect time for an ask and tell method, it gives ownership of behavior to my children.
Schedule for the Day
I like to know what is happening in my day, and I think my kids do too. I know they are better able to cope with what the day throws at them when they at least have an idea of the events. So every morning we review the major parts of the day. Is it a school day? A speech day? Are we going to a library program? Whatever is happening I let my kids know. Yes, even if it is a lazy day. I like for us all to start on the same page and know what we have to look forward to.
After I have gone over all my parts of the morning meeting, I turn it over to my kiddos. Well, at this point I turn it over to Ben. (Ali and Sammy are still a bit young for this part, being only 2.) He gets the chance to talk. Usually, he tells me about his dreams and then wants to run out to breakfast. Sometimes he brings up something from school or tells me about a toy he is into. Typical things that are important to 4-year-olds. It doesn’t matter what he wants to talk about. The important part is to really actively listen. Whatever he wants to say, he has all my attention in those moments.
This is the way my meetings with my 4-year-old go. We’ve been doing them for a long time now and he knows and likes the routine. Ali and Sammy are young toddlers. I still meet with them, but understandably they are a bit shorter. All the mommy-led components are present. I review rules, remind them we don’t have tantrums. (I can try, right? 😉 )I tell them what they are doing that day. The big change is that they aren’t really verbal enough to lead a part of the conversation. So I make sure to look each girl in the eye, tell her I love her, and that we are going to have a good day. Those moments of eye contact are so important, especially with twins. It lets them know that they are really being seen.
Good Mornings, Good Days
This morning routine has served us so well. My children remember the expectations I always have for them, we hit any areas that need extra attention, and we review our schedule for the day. Clear expectations help encourage good behavior. Most importantly, my children get the chance to have my full attention right away. I want them to know that they are important, their feelings matter, and their thoughts and ideas deserve to be heard. We start our days connected and on the same team.
I am a planner, but with three kids ages 4 and under, you never really know what a day is going to bring. But with this morning meeting I know I am focusing on my children’s heart, at least for a few minutes every day. I see them as individuals, as people with valid thoughts and feelings, and as the loves I treasure so much.