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Mornin' Sunshine!

Mornings are hard around our house!

I am a mom of two boys. The oldest is the most regulated sleeper I have ever met. He is nearly TOO regulated. He insists on going to sleep at 8:00 pm each night (we are working on his rigidity) and he wakes up happily each morning at 6:45 a.m. No fuss, no tears, no problems.

You are probably thinking right about now, "what is this lady talking about? It doesn't sound like mornings are too hard around her house." Remember how I said I had two boys? I do. I have two, angelic, and lovely sons. Well, as angelic as he is during the day, the second, little friend does not wake up happily most days. He wakes up anxious, weepy, and slow-moving. In the biz- we call this dysregulated.

It doesn't help that I, myself, am NOT and have never been a morning person. Add on top of that the eight years of poor sleep as a mom of little humans and it all adds up to waking up IS HARD TO DO!

If any of this sounds familiar, the tips below may be helpful to make your mornings a bit more peaceful-leading to happier days for all. The tips are ones that I have learned throughout the years from therapists and sleep professionals that I have worked with, as well as just plain old mom tips I've learned from fighting the good fight.

Tip 1: Do everything you can to make the morning go smoothly THE NIGHT BEFORE. We take this to an extreme at our house. On Sunday, we pick out all of our outfits for the school week. I am talking underwear, shirt, pants, socks- the whole shebang. We take the entire outfit and slide it into this "days of the week" organizer. This alleviates any arguments over "unapproved" clothing and makes for a quick dressing process. Before going to sleep each night, we make sure our bookbags are filled with all of the things (folders, snacks, agendas. etc.) and we sit them in a row by the door. We line our shoes and coats up by the door, as well, so no one is running around looking for that one stray shoe.

After heading down and eating breakfast, I keep a cup with toothbrushes, toothpaste, and combs easily accessible downstairs. We go potty and head out the door. I know this sounds like so much work on the front end, but I promise that when morning time comes, if there are tears, battles, or relentless anxious questions, having all of this done and ready to go really helps everything to run a bit smoother.

Tip 2: Now this one is downright hard for me to do. I used to relish every last second of sleep that I could get. I would peel my eyes open to a crying child asking me how many hours he had to stay at school and I had barely even put two feet on the floor.

DO NOT SHOOT THE MESSENGER HERE but tip number 2 is to wake up at least 30 minutes before your child.

It gives you a moment of peace before the chaos ensues and allows you time to get ready, eat something yourself, meditate, complete a daily devotional-whatever it is that YOU need to start your day off right. If you are in a calm and unrushed mindset, it will help your child to be so much calmer too!

Tip 3: Ok- after reading this one-you may think that I am downright nuts. BUT, this one comes straight from a long-time pediatric occupational therapist and is directly tied to helping children who wake up dysregulated.

This one does have a caveat. Here it is: if your child does not get good, quality sleep during the night, this tip is not for you because your child likely needs every last minute of sleep he can get.

Caveats aside, tip three is to wake your child up BEFORE his normal body clock wakes itself up. This takes some planning on your part to find a pattern of natural wake-up times for your child and then finding a time to wake him up before that. There is a ton of scientific mumbo-jumbo brain research that justifies this tip, but in laymen's terms, it helps a normally dysregulated child have much calmer and easier wake-ups.

I hope these tips help. I know how hard it is to start your day with arguing, crying, and meltdowns. It will get easier. Keep finding solutions that work for you and your family and lean into trying new things. They just might be the answer to happy mornings.

All my love and support, Anna

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