Making the most of long mornings

It’s about 9:20 a.m. on the east coast, and I’ve been up since 5:20. Not on purpose. While I love summer, the early rising sun means early rising kids, and my 8-month-old has been greeting the dawn on a regular basis lately. On Thursday mornings, the older two need to be at pre-school by 9 a.m., which means we need to be in the car at 8:45/8:50. So that’s a 3.5 hour block of time between wake-up and departure.

I’d like to use these hours in a way that’s enjoyable for me and my children. After all, 3.5 hours is quite a bit of time! But there are various challenges that I’m trying to work around. I’m often a single parent during the week. The kids get up at varying times, meaning I can’t just load them in the car at 6:30 to go to a playground. The baby tends to get up first, followed by the 5-year-old, then the 2-year-old. They all need to eat and get dressed, but the trouble of having a deadline for getting in the car is that the mind tends to fixate on that. Since there’s a goal (get out the door on time) it’s challenging to create another goal (relaxing and enjoying the time — or doing some activity). 

I’ve been trying a few things. Yesterday we had a breakfast picnic — eating our bagels outside and playing in the not-quite-hot early morning air. Other mornings, I try to make breakfast more of a production: making pancakes or something mildly more elaborate than cereal. If my husband is around, I’ve loaded some combo of the children into the jog stroller (with the sleeping ones left at home). This morning we played spaceship with a big cardboard box in the basement for quite a while, making it all the way to Jupiter. 3.5 hours turns out to be enough time to get there!

And some mornings I’m too tired and I put on Go, Diego, Go while I answer emails or read the newspaper.

Some mornings I do some combination of all of this. I think outdoor time will figure more prominently as summer goes on and the yard becomes less muddy (ah, spring showers). What do you do when you have long mornings?

Photo courtesy flickr user rolfekolbe



7 thoughts on “Making the most of long mornings

  1. I think it depends on how awake we are. Having jetlag after returning from Ireland was great – we were all up early and ready to go so we’d go out to breakfast or head to the dog park, etc.

    In general I’m not a morning person, though so I’m usually the last one to wake up. It’s something I need to work on, but no matter what time I go to bed, it seems difficult 🙁

  2. Ha! My youngest “baby” is waking me up super early too – mine is still in utero. But the combination of baby’s movements, morning low blood sugar and a full bladder are waking me at 4 or 5 and I can’t get back to sleep.

    I’ve been doing more writing, and scheduling blog posts to publish after baby comes. And we play outside too – it’s been hitting 90 here in GA so mornings are where it’s at.

    1. @Carrie- probably my least favorite part of pregnancy — being up to pee all the time and the baby kicking too.

  3. Every morning is an early morning at our house. After 5 years of it, I decided to enroll our future Kindergartener in a school that starts at 7:30am. This is the first summer I’ve had 2 kids staying up past 7pm and its killing me.

    1. @Calee- oh dear. I’m hoping my baby grows out of it. The other two can sleep til 7 fine. During the winter they’ll sleep until the sun comes up (which can be 7:30ish or later). I’m almost giddy at the thought of everyone being in bed from 9pm to 7am. Right now, it’s more like 9 …and sometimes crabby until 10…and then someone up at 5:30. Our kindergarten starts at 12:50 next year (half day, PM)

      1. The only bummer about being a morning person and having early risers is that there is no getting up earlier than the kids to get work done. If I wanted to get a reliable hour of writing in each day, it would have to start at 4:30-4:45. Not going to happen.
        It doesn’t really matter when they go to bed either. Even after a midnight Easter service where the 2 year old was awake the entire time (!) he was still ready to go the next morning at 6.

  4. Most mornings start somewhere between 6 and 6:30 in our house. Our oldest is just a low sleep needs kid. Her younger sister is slightly better, but she still naps, so gets up early. When my 5 yo was a little baby and thought morning started at 5- or earlier!- I’d sometimes go out for an early morning walk with her. And once I started back at work, I used the early start to my advantage and just shifted my schedule, so that I could leave work earlier. On the weekends, my husband gets up with the kids (the low sleep needs is due to his genes, not mine!) and to be honest, I don’t really know what they do.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *