Making Morning Time Work with Little Ones

Hello again, friends. Last year I first read about the concept of Morning Time over on Farmhouse Schoolhouse and I immediately fell in love. Visions soon filled my head of what our very own Morning Time would look like:

*Everyone in their chairs, gathered peacefully around the table.*

*Delicious muffins and fresh fruit set out in pretty little dishes.*

*A candle flickering peacefully next to a vase of flowers picked from the yard.*

*A feast of beautiful poetry, thought-provoking literature, encouraging scriptures. Hymns. Composer study. Artist study. Shakespeare.*

Any other mamas of littles laughing their heads off right now?

Fast forward to this year and I realized pretty early on that I seriously had to readjust my expectations for what our homeschool day actually looks like. I have 5-year-old and 3-year-old boys. They are capable of focusing and sitting still for about 10 minutes, on a good day. Even then, there is a fair amount of drink spilling and fart noises happening.

I don’t want my kids to look back on their childhood and remember Mom trying to force them full of information and ideas. That is not our vision, nor does it kindle a passion for learning.

A few days ago, I read during my before-the-kids-wake-up-and-the-house-is-quiet time a little verse in Sarah Mackenzie’s Teaching From Rest (an AMAZING book and if you haven’t read it stop what you’re doing and read it right now):

Little drops of water,
Little grains of sand,
Make the mighty ocean
And the pleasant land.

So the little moments,
Humble though they be,
Make the mighty ages
Of Eternity.

Even if I can just pour out one drop of goodness, beauty, or truth into their hearts each morning, even if it’s just one poem or one song or one prayer – those little drops add up. That one thing matters. Those little moments add up into years.

How very encouraging to my mama heart.


Once I accepted our reality and let go of my vision for Morning Time, I scaled way, way back and chose just a couple of simple, quick items. So here’s what Morning Time looks like in our house right now:

  • We gather for breakfast. Usually, we have oatmeal, except for about one day a week when I make something really fancy, like muffins. I find that breakfast time is when the kiddos are most engaged – and it’s harder to make dragon noises with food in your mouth.
  • I put a classical music station on Pandora. Sometime’s I’ll point out – “oh! this is Bach,” but most of the time it just plays in the background.
  • First, we read a poem or two from our all-time favorite book of poetry for kids, A Child’s Book of Poems, by Gyo Fujikawa. (Side note: I never pegged myself as a poetry person. It never made sense to me. This book is filled with the most wonderfully engaging and rhythmic poems and rhymes – many by famous poets – and stunning illustrations. The boys are in love with this book and it has changed me forever!)
  • Some days I will find the same or a similar piece of poetry on The Daily Poem podcast, and we will listen to that. They are usually only about 5 minutes long. This usually doesn’t happen regularly, though.
  • Next, we read our devotional from Indescribable – 100 Devotions about God and Science. Each devotional is two pages, with a scripture verse and a short prayer.
  • Finally, we go around the table and pray – we each thank God for one thing and ask him for one thing. Prayer can be a tricky concept, especially for littles. (Okay, adults too.) My biggest boy said to me once that he didn’t want to pray because there were no instructions on how to do it, which is why we use this little format. It helps to give him a jumping off point. It’s been incredible to see their little requests often get answered throughout the rest of the day – such a trust-building thing.

That’s it. We clean up our breakfast plates and move on to chores.

The reality is, some days Morning Time is just one poem and then we’re off cleaning up a giant glass of spilled milk. Or someone woke up on the wrong side of the bed (ahem) and Morning Time doesn’t go peacefully at all. And that’s okay. Little drops, they add up.

I’m sure our Morning Time routine will change with the years – in fact, I have a whole list of ideas I want to include in the future. But for now, this works for us. Morning Time helps us start our day by feasting on the good and beautiful, and for that I am grateful.

(If you want to learn more about what Morning Time is, hop over to this post.)

“Teaching our children to love which is lovely will go a long way toward shaping our students’ affections and orienting them toward the good, the true, and the beautiful.” -Sarah Mackenzie

What does your morning routine look like with little ones? Do you have any additional resources or recommendations? 




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