Starting a child’s day with JOY

Jump-Start your family's day and spread joy

 Question of the Day: How does your family start its day?

 Waking up this morning, I smile. Twenty-four brand new hours are before me. I vow to live fully in each moment. ~ Thích Nhất Hạnh

Each day at our house begins roughly the same.

We shower and get ready quickly — just moments before we know we’ll hear the foot shuffle of little people walking and stirring awake.

Downstairs, the lunches are made, bags are packed and homework is already tucked into binders.

And the second we see our girls, we stop everything and beam at the sight of them.

We might be really busy, and feeling really rushed but this moment is the only one that counts.

The moment that matters.

This is when we let our children know we really see them.

We’re genuinely excited to talk to them after that nearly 12-hour gap in “Mommy, can you help me” and “Daddy, can we snuggle.”

That quiet during sleep is our time apart. That is our break.

So when we reunite, we have a choice on how we react and respond — with eagerness and joy to start our day, or with dread and the feeling of interruption, disruption and inconvenience.

How do you want to be greeted?

Jump Start your family's day

I choose with joy and light. Gentle and reassuring. Loving but not overkill.

“Good morning, Sunshine,” I belt out, embracing her warm body, bed head and smelly bed breath and all — at a mere 6:05 a.m.

And then I do it all over again when her twin sister wakes a tiny bit later.

This is when we make or break a day — ours and our children’s.

This is when, we the parents, have a choice to set a tone for a day of awesome or a day of dread.

This is when our children can be coached and mentored into demonstrating a good attitude or a bad one — and when we choose our own.

The moment that matters.

“Are you ready to have a great Tuesday?” I ask with a smile in my voice because I mean it and I want those kinds of positive vibes to travel into their amazing minds even though they are tired, even though they are worn out by the school year, and even though they’d rather stay home and play sometimes.

They nod their heads in affirmation.

Smiles form around their lips.

Their eyes start to shine.

They sit up a bit straighter.

They begin to see the opportunity of a Tuesday. They visualize themselves having a fantastic day. They know at this instant that no one can take their joy.

The dreads melt away.

And then they shuffle off, get dressed and start their day.

The moment that matters.

Jump Start your family's day with a dose of joy

At night, after a long day of learning, play and chores, we reunite at bedtime, repeating the same ritual night after night after night.

“I love you to the moon and back. Don’t let the bed bugs bite. See you in the morning. Sweet dreams.”

And then I whisper in their ears …

“Tomorrow’s going to be a great day!”

The moment that matters.

Question of the Day: How does your family start its day?

19 Responses to Starting a child’s day with JOY

  1. nicole says:

    this is beautiful. thank you for reminding me. i can’t wait for tomorrow morning :)

  2. Marilynne says:

    Thank you. I loved this! Going to try to remember this for those cranky mornings!

  3. Cara says:

    Mornings at our house consist of a little tickling (mom cannot be trusted with an open armpit) and singing…lots of singing. The only way to get me to stop is to meet me at the table for breakfast. :)

  4. Carla says:

    What a great reminder!

  5. Sarah says:

    I love mornings with my daughter! My husband wakes up at 6 so usually our daughter does too. He gets her from her bedroom so her can kiss her goodbye and tucks her into bed with me. She snuggles up for a while then we lay in bed, plan the day, and giggle till we absolutely have to get up. We always take our time eating breakfast together and I can’t think of a better way to start the day off.

  6. Shannon says:

    Beautiful. I feel inspired to pay attention tomorrow to our family routine. I think it is ok but there is more I can say and do and radiate to give them strength and hope? Probably.

  7. Sally Esse says:

    What a great post! I’ve been struggling with broken sleep night after night for months now – my 8 month old boy needs wakes so frequently and it’s changed the way my 3 year old boy sleeps, too – everyone is up so early after such a bad night. It feels like my mood affects everyone – lots of shushing and be quiets. I guess I have to accept the situation and hope it won’t last forever – your ideas about being present for your children are so inspirational. I’m sure everyone in the family here will appreciate a smiley, albeit tired mumma who is excited about a day with her beautiful boys and their daddy. Thanks for sharing, I hope I can change for the better.

    • Shawn says:

      I think dreading to start the day can definitely set the tone for the whole day … it’s a matter of perspective. But, easy for me to say because my girls (MOSTLY) sleep all night. Even still, during those crazy days, we tried our best to set a rule of don’t get up before 6 a.m. and start the day with joy.

  8. Wonderful! I’m a night owl, so I wake up SLOWLY! My kids get a much better greeting if I have a few minutes for coffee and quiet before they emerge. :) You are right, though. If mama greets the day happy, the whole family can be happy. I shall try harder!

  9. Cheryl says:

    Thank you for inspiration to greet each day differently than I have been. We are really tired and haven’t had consistent sleep in over 2 years. So when our toddler wakes up at 4:45 and our alarm is set at 5:15, it’s hard to muster up joy. I noticed I was caught up in what I expected my morning to look like and if it didn’t go that way I was not in a good mood. Angry at what I had lost ( peaceful morning routine with a small amount of quiet time to warm up for the day). I’m learning that I need to reevaluate my expectations.

  10. Rebekah says:

    Fantastic post! I just wrote about this very thing. It is really those small moments of connection that mean the most to our children

  11. Erika says:

    Thank you so much for this reminder! I needed to read this :)

  12. Diana says:

    I needed to hear this today! For the most part, I savor every second with my 17 month old son but I have been so very tired the past few mornings. This is the reminder I needed to push through it and be sure to greet my son with smiles and cheerfulness. Thank you.

  13. I think starting and ending my day with Thich Nhat Hanh seems like a great idea. Somehow I found this post buried in my inbox today, so many weeks later, but it is perfect timing since we have had some rough nights here lately, yet starting the day with joy has been my only way to get through it. Monday, I surprised my 3 year-old with cookie making first thing the in morning (I prepped everything the night before) and we had breakfast while the cookies were in the oven, and today he and I went on an early morning walk so that his younger brother (who was awake from 1 am-4:30 am) could get a little more sleep. Big bro loved it! It was a joyous morning indeed.

  14. […] gifts because the real gifts aren’t under the tree. But to feel joy by giving and relishing. To feel joy by living a simple, slow life. No matter what happens if a home has joy it has everything to a […]


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Shawn Fink - Abundant MamaFrom Our Founder

I created The Abundant Mama Project to inspire overwhelmed, busy mothers to slow down and let go of the worries and concerns that are holding them back from experiencing joyful motherhood. Read More »
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