The Power of Morning Routines

In October, we had a family home evening on self mastery (the family value of that month). I came up with a lesson that I thought the kids could participate well in, but they were really off the wall (sigh). I started out by showing them a picture of Heavenly Father and us listening to Him in the pre-earth life. I said, “This is Heavenly Father and we lived with him before we were born. We loved Him and wanted to become just like Him so He told us about His plan of happiness. He had Christ create the Earth so we could live on it and He gave us a body (I had Daniel and Caleb do different things with their body – jump, do somersaults, etc). The plan really consists of two things: a physical body and self control. We have our agency and we must CHOOSE to become like Heavenly Father.

Heavenly Father wants us to remember Him and His plan. What are some things that help us remember Heavenly Father and Jesus? (prayer, scriptures, temple, prophets, service, talking nice, etc). Satan wants us to forget about Heavenly Father, His plan, and who we really are, and why we’re down on Earth. What things make us forget Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ? (bad movies, anger, being impatient, not going to bed so we are tired and cranky, etc).

Then we got to the most important part of the lesson: application! This was the ENTIRE reason I’d done the lesson. Here’s the most important question of the night:

How can we make sure we are doing what Heavenly Father wants and remember Him?

We listed some things (hanging up pictures of Christ, reading scriptures, etc), but what I wanted to focus on as a family was SCHEDULES. If we make sure to SCHEDULE in morning prayers, scripture study, service, etc then we MAKE SURE they get done and it becomes a habit. So often we miss our scripture study or don’t serve because we are busy and simply forget to take the time to do it. At this point, I pulled out morning routines for Caleb and Daniel and helped them see how their morning routine would help them remember Jesus.

CALEB’S MORNING SCHEDULE (age 4)

Potty

Uplifting Music

Prayer

Read Scriptures/Testimony

(I bear my testimony to Caleb about what we’ve read)

Breakfast

Brush Teeth

Comb Hair

Get Dressed

Morning Job

Help Others

I originally got the idea for this morning routine chart from my friend, Christy. My goal with Caleb is to teach him to form HABITS of taking care of himself spiritually in the morning (pray, read his scriptures, serve) and temporally (eating, brushing his teeth, etc. When we take care of our bodies we show Heavenly Father how grateful we are for His marvelous gift). Daniel is only 2, but his schedule is identical – the only thing that’s different is that I have to do most of the work.

When Caleb turned 3, we put him in charge of cleaning his own room. I go in to help him, but I don’t clean it for him anymore. We also gave him his first chore when he turned 3 – unloading and loading the dishwasher at least once a day. We made a game out of it and Caleb and I have a blast every time we unload it. I have the dishes talk to him – sometimes they need to get to a safe spot (i.e. the cupboard) to avoid a dinosaur and sometimes they want to go to a party to be with their friends. Whenever the dishes ask for help, Caleb rescues them. He’s such a sweetheart.

When Caleb turned 4, we gave him a new job. He’s in charge of folding his own clothes and putting them away. It took a few training sessions with lots of stickers and praise, but he is getting faster and neater every time he does it!

I made the following list for me to check off every day:

 DAILY TESTIMONY BUILDERS

Morning Prayers

Scripture/Testimony

Chores

(Chores are ESSENTIAL for their character. Living the gospel requires hard work)

Read Books

(this isn’t necessarily spiritual books, but I feel like the gateway to all learning is through books. Plus, better they are at reading, the more successful their scripture study will be)

Uplifting Music

Service

Monthly Theme

Family Scriptures/Prayer

Evening Prayers

I made this last list because this is my #1 responsibility as a mom. I don’t care as much if my kids learn their ABCs and numbers. School can teach them that, but school can’t give them a testimony. Heavenly Father is counting on ME to make sure my kids know Him and WANT to become like Him and return to Him. Kids don’t just magically learn the gospel. They have to be carefully taught and create holy habits that they will carry with them throughout their entire lives. If I don’t do anything else the entire day, I am going to do these 9 things with my kids. They are top priority.

Most of these things get done automatically during the morning routine.That is why I absolutely LOVE our morning routines. Even if we don’t get anything else done the rest of the day, my kids have read scriptures, said their prayers, gotten dressed, done some chores, and helped somebody – all before 9 AM! It helps me feel more successful as a mother. Plus, it will be a huge blessing once my kids start school. My goal is to have them get so good at the morning routine that they automatically do all these things when they get up and I will have to do very little to help them get ready for school.

OUR NIGHTLY ROUTINE

  1. Eat dinner
  2. Family Scripture Study
  3. Family prayer and then a family cheer (I got this idea from my friend, Michelle. After the prayer, we form a huddle, put our hands on top of each other and yell, “Families can be together forever! Forever!” The kids LOVE it)
  4. Review the monthly theme & goals
  5. Get the kids ready for bed (we help the kids say their prayers before they go to sleep).

THE IMPORTANCE OF SELF-MASTERY

I concluded family home evening with these 3 quotes:

The greatest battles of life are fought out daily in the silent chambers of the soul (David O. McKay)

Self-mastery is a challenge for every individual.  Only we can control our appetites and passions.  Self-mastery cannot be bought by money or fame.  It is the ultimate test of our character.  It requires climbing out of the deep valleys of our lives and scaling our own Mount Everests (James E. Faust, in Conference Report, Apr. 2000).

You will never have a greater or lesser dominion than that over yourself. The height of a man’s success is gauged by his self-mastery; the depths of his failure by his self-abandonment. He who cannot establish dominion over himself will have no dominion over others (Leonardo da Vinci).

I think self mastery is important because if we lose control of ourselves in one area, (money, physical health, being lazy, etc) then every other aspect of our lives can easily start falling apart. If you are the master of yourself, however, then Satan has very little power over you. You aren’t tempted by as many things. YOU are in control. It is easier to keep all of the commandments. That is the true test of this life – to become self disciplined.

If you are not the master of yourself, other people will be your masters. They will tell you how to think, what to say, how to dress, what to do, etc. If you don’t get a backbone, the world will push you around. You need to have solid boundaries and stick to them no matter what.

The only person you will ever be in control of is yourself and what a tragedy it would be if you lost control of that! You can’t lead others if you can’t control your own actions. You will be doomed to be a follower and we were born to BE different – to LEAD out in righteousness and NOT TO FOLLOW the ways of the world. I once saw a quote that said, “Stop trying so hard to fit in when you were born to stand out!”

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One thought on “The Power of Morning Routines

  1. I like that you said we need to schedule in spiritual and service time. Otherwise it’s not necessarily that we forget, we just get to the end of the day and suddenly don’t have time to do it.

    I also liked that you said that taking care of your body shows God you are grateful for that gift. Too true.

    Thanks for the insights sista! 😉 xx

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