Want a Happier Morning with Your Kids? Get a Birdfeeder.

Watching the birds enjoy their breakfast.

I don’t know about you, but mornings can be tough in my house. For some bizarre reason, my little guy wakes up promptly with the sound of birds chirping at 6:30 every Saturday and Sunday morning but on weekdays, he’s still sound asleep at 7am (the time I need him to get up to get ready for school).  Irony, right?

Every morning, I drag his tired little body out of bed, sit him on the couch and tell him he needs to eat,  brush his teeth and get ready for school. Throw in a lot of “c’mon”, “let’s move it”, and “we have to go now” and that’s how our morning sounds. I began to think one morning how I sounded to my son during that morning hour before school. My voice was raised and a little squeely. I sounded panicked, annoyed and frustrated. Not how I wanted to be with my son.

Then one morning, I woke up my little man and said “listen”. He sat in bed and looked up.  “What mommy?” he whispered, still half asleep. “Listen to the birds,” I replied. Through his window that faces our backyard, we could hear the faint chirps of our backyard birds. I peeked out his window and saw there were about eight tiny birds nestled around our birdfeeder enjoying their breakfast. “Do you want to go watch the birds eat their breakfast?” I asked.

In about half a second, I went from that annoyed, anxious mom to cool, fun, spontaneous mom. We went downstairs and into the sunroom where we sat watching the birds eat their breakfast and got a special treat of seeing a bunny rabbit hop through the backyard and a chipmunk eating the seeds that had fallen from the birdfeeder. We ate our breakfast in the sunroom to the soundtrack of the chirping of our new friends.

A bunny and chipmunk pick up the fallen seed. 

That morning of “c’mon, let’s go, eat up, go, go, go” became a morning of conversation about birds and nature. We sat in silence for a few seconds (about the entire length of a preschooler’s attention span) listening and trying to count how many birds we could hear.

When it was time to go to school, rather than the usual “c’mon, hurry up, let’s go, move it Mister”, I simply said “let’s see if the birds will follow us all the way to school” and we were out the door. When we got to school, we stepped out of the car and listened carefully to see if we could hear the birds chirping. There’s nothing like a little mindfulness practice to start the day.

The result?

I was calmer. My son was happier. Our school drop off went smoother and the whole day started on a more positive note thanks to a few little chickadees, a bunny rabbit, a chipmunk and a bird feeder.

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