I consider myself a morning person. But at this point, I’ve been one out of necessity for so long that I’m not really sure if it’s true.
Regardless, the little feet tiptoeing to my side of the bed—and the giant baby blabbering away in her mini-crib—get me up morning after morning.
So I try to make the most of it.
Like a lot of families, our family finds it hard to do full-on family dinners on the weekdays. Lately, though, I’ve been noticing that breakfast can be golden.
No one has conflicts (unless, of course, you count my husband’s love for the bed), and everyone’s gotta eat.
Like I mentioned in my post on alternatives to family dinner, research says families really only get about ten minutes of talk time out of a meal, when you account for all the refilled cups and trips to the kitchen.
I don’t think it’s as much about the number of minutes as it is the quality of your minutes. So even if you only have five minutes before herding everyone to the car, breakfast has potential. :)
That said, breakfast clearly comes with a few challenges, so it’s almost impossible to pull it off without doing these three things:
1. Prep the night before
We all know this is any parent’s secret to successful mornings, but really, it’s worth repeating. :) If you don’t pack lunches and ready the homework folders in advance, the mental rush will prevent you from being present for those few precious minutes at the table.
2. Commit to sitting down
Funny how hard this is, right? Unless you really commit to sitting down with your family, I’m guessing you’ll catch bites of your breakfast in between starting a load of laundry and signing a permission slip.
Fun tip: Serve something for breakfast that you actually like to eat. When I take a few minutes to make scrambled eggs with avocado on top, or a bowl of oatmeal with a splash of whip cream and cinnamon, I’m way more interested in staying still. (Is everyone this motivated by good food?)
3. Come prepared
With groggy parents and kids, conversation can be slow going in the mornings. I try to come armed a couple mornings a week with a quick conversation starter or a story from my life. (Related: What Children Gain When You Open Up)
The simplest and most effective activity at our house is a gratitude practice.
Another is the high and low game, where we share the best and worst thing that happened to us the day before.
If you keep a family memory jar, breakfast is a great time to jot down a couple of family memories to add to the jar (to be opened on New Year’s Day).
And if all else fails, you can always pull up a picture on your phone and reminisce about how funny it was “that one time when…”
For more ideas on what to chat about (including a printable you can tape inside a kitchen cabinet!), click here.
Now—If you’re currently thinking, “Erica. Girl. Really. I can barely get my eyes open every morning, much less initiate some quality conversation…” (You know who you are!) I highly recommend my friend Shawn’s Rise and Shine challenge, a free series of emails to help you use those first minutes as the rudder of your day.
Last week, when I asked y’all on Facebook whether you make breakfast or dinner count, most said dinner. Sleepy family members, busy schedules, different eating times. Yes, yes, yes. I’m with ya. But IF you can rethink your routines a bit or even just squeeze in one “slow” breakfast a week (weekends included), I think you’ll start to catch the magic.
As one breakfast-loving friend said on Facebook, “We take our time connecting to start our day.” That is exactly what it’s about.
Do we have any other family breakfast lovers out there? Feel free to share any tips on when and how you make breakfast count in your home!
Thanks so much for your sweet words about my quotes in a recent Wall Street Journal article, “No Time for Family Dinner? Try Breakfast.” I was
a little a LOT excited to be interviewed, and just as excited to share it with you! So thankful for your support!
Linked up with Works for Me Wednesday.