We had been doing morning time as a family for a couple of years before I ever really heard anyone talk about it. Granted, it wasn't as orderly, structured, or fruitful as it is now, but it existed. Once I started getting ideas for others, I sat down to plan for morning time, and a hot mess resulted. I added so many "wonderful" things to our schedule that we ended up fizzling out because we couldn't sustain the new routine.
It's really easy to get caught up in all of the ideas thrown your way about morning time. If you've been following my 10 days of Morning Time series, all of the options I've given you can easily become overwhelming. My point was not to overwhelm, but to lay out a banquet. The richness of morning time should strengthen your family.
I'm not going to leave you to fend for yourself though! A plan needs to start with a vision. Then you can make the plan to reach the vision. Chances are, if you're working towards the vision you have set, you might just stick with it! (And I have a free printable to guide you through developing it...keep reading)
The Big Picture
It is so easy to get sucked into great ideas that don't resonate with the big picture. Do you even know what you want out of morning time?
Start with 3 Words You Want to Describe Your Morning Time:
It may sound silly, but it is so important to focus in on what really matters so that you can choose materials that fit your purpose.
Do you want your morning time to be restful? joyful? a little of both?
Maybe you want your morning time to be mainly devotional in nature. Or what if you used it like a one room school house to work through your common areas of study.
Each family is going to have a different set of needs for their morning time, so make sure your purpose fits your family.
What 3 Statements Do You Want Your Kids to Say About Your Morning Time?
How do you want your kids to think about morning time? Do you want them to remember it with fondness? Do you want them to look forward to it?
Of course you do! These statements are not meant to be driving forces behind what you choose to include in your morning time, but more like reminders of whom you are serving. If you're considering them while you plan, you might think twice before overbooking your schedule. Your teenager might not appreciate it if you make him join you for an extended morning time, and then still require all of his independent work.
Sometimes we pick things that our kids will not appreciate, and that's okay. Again, if it leads to our vision, then add it in!
Budget Your Time
As your vision for your morning time clears, the great ideas might start flooding in. We have to be careful at every turn to not over complicate what we do in our morning time.
Figure Out Your Budget
How much time to you really have to play with? If your vision is just to meet together each morning for devotional time, you may not want to plan an hour's worth of material.
So calculate your time budget: (How many minutes each day) x (days each week) = Total time
Budget for the Bare Minimum
Now you can go through and time budget your essentials. Each time you add an "essential" item to your list, ask yourself: "How does this item build towards the big picture?" If you can't think of any way that it helps you reach your vision, you might change your mind on including it in your plan for morning time.
When you've finished estimating the time for the essentials, total up the time needed, and subtract that number from the time budget you figured out earlier. Then you will know what you have left to dream with!
Dream a Plan for Morning Time
Now you can go through and dream about lovely pursuits that you'd also like to include in your morning time. Each time you write something down, continue to ask how it fits your vision. Even the dreamy items should have a purpose.
As you add an item, continue to check your budget. Will it fit.
One last warning about dreaming - no matter how great of an estimator you are, you'll most likely always need a bit of extra time for rabbit trails, wiggly kids, spilled drinks, or wonder pauses. Don't try to account for each second of morning time that you have available. It won't work.
Now Make Your Practical Plan
Once you've done all of the brain storming, you can sit down and figure out how it's going to play out in your week. Pam Barnhill of edSnapshots has made some wonderful resources for planning your morning time.
Grab your favorite snack and your favorite drink, and take some time to enjoy making a plan for morning time.
Pam also has so many great tips for how to organize your materials once you've got your plan in place. The Big Basket includes a copy of her eBook Your Morning Time Basket, printable planning forms, video tutorials on organizing your binder, and much more. It's a great value.
Get more great Morning Time inspiration from Pam at edSnapshots:
Discover more great resources by reading the full 10 day series:
Day 1: Why Morning Time
Day 10: Morning Time Storage Solutions