Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Tidy Whities #5: Breakfast Club (Getting Good Food & Faith Fast)

T h e    B r e a k f a s t   C l u b 
(Getting Good FOOD & FAITH...FAST!)

What is the busiest time of your day?  For us (and many families) it is definitely the breakfast hour.  Children in various stages of readiness from sleepy-eyed in pajamas to dressed-themselves-in-crazy-outfits storm the castle (ie, dining room) in a throng of hungry warriors.  Queens, Kings of the castle: READY YOURSELVES!

Is it possible to eat a healthy meal, enjoy a bit of conversation and get a delicious dose of faith over the breakfast table in time to get kids to school, go to work, make appointments or (my dream) get out of the house to run errands before midnight?  I believe so.  Here's some little tips to help that dream become a reality:

1.  Prepare the castle!  I mentioned this in an article about Time Organization with KIDS, be a PREPSTER the night before.  I set out on the table whatever paraphernalia will be needed the next morning: bowls, spoons, cups, plates, forks, etc.  My oldest gets to mark a chore if he sets up the table while I'm in the shower before breakfast.  By the time I come downstairs with my two princesses in my Queenly robe (ie, bathrobe), the table is good to go.
*The previous evening is also a good time to set out the crown, special place-mat, etc. for whoever is King/Queen of the day, see "King/Queen" Special Day  for full scoop)

2.  Cereal compromise.  Your child may prefer cereal that turns their milk blue while their choices turns your stomach.  Instead of a teaspoon of sugar with their cereal, would they prefer a teaspoon of cereal on their sugar?  I don't know why SUGAR and KIDS are such a love affair...but it's just life!  Here's my "sugar cereal" compromise: mix it up!  I use cereal containers (purchased at most any store for under $5/each, also great to keep cereal fresh longer) and fill it 3/4 full of a "Mom-Pick" (ie, healthy cereal) such as Rice Krispies (See above pic) then add the final 1/4 with a "Kid-Pick" that "matches", such as Fruity Pebbles.  Other Win-Win combos:   Plain Kix and Fruity Sugar Balls, Fruit Loops and Cherrios, Plain Kix and Captain Crunch, creative!  For small children, I set out just two cereal choices for the day.
*King/Queen of the Day note: they may pick "Special Cereal" for their breakfast, which is a container of Marshmallow Stars Cereal I keep just for that day for them!  They look forward to it all week, it's the little things in life that delight sometimes!

3.  Keep it together... literally.  By grouping as many "breakfast foods" in one area as you can, you won't have to run around the kitchen like a morning mad-woman/man to make everyone's wish your command.  For example, Poptarts, cereals, oatmeal (instant or regular), any dried fruit toppings you may use, special drinks (breakfast mixes for milk, etc.), and (bonus) you could keep a stack of cereal bowls in that area too!

4.  Have a back-up plan ready to go.  This is all best-case-scenario but who doesn't experience WORST-case-scenario now and again; alarm breaks (from being thrown against the wall perhaps?), long line for the showers, hairbrush gets stuck in someone's hair or a baby diaper explosion that makes a nuclear bomb seem harmless.  Keep a jar/box of granola bars, fruit leather, breakfast cookies (Quaker has great ones), juice boxes, etc. (something healthy with fiber for lasting energy) ready to go so they can be grabbed on your way out the door and distributed in the car en route so the children aren't eating off their hand by their first hour of school.

5.  Talk time.  Once the milk has been poured and the Rice Krispies are snap-crackle-poppin', it's a great opportunity to gently lead our children's minds in the direction of God-centered-thinking for the day.  After some small talk to connect (How was everyone's night?  Did you have any funny or scary dreams?), share a Bible verse or story about God and his goodness (Did you notice the beautiful day God made today?  
What does this verse from Proverbs 21:2 mean?
because spiritual food will give their SOUL norishment!  
Ending with specific prayers helps teach them the power of praying for all things: little and big.  For example, "Gideon, how's that arm you hurt yesterday feel?  Can I pray right now that God will continue to heal it?"  or, "Jon, don't you have a test today in Math?  Can we pray that God will give you peace and help you with that?"  The family that plays and PRAYS together stays together!

6.  Teamwork.  Coming home to a messy house is never very fun (nor is having all the kids rush out and being left with a giant mess), teach the kiddos (our 1 year old does this too, they can be taught!) to clear their own dishes and cups.  We have this little rule: don't leave the dining room until the table is cleared.  After they clear their OWN dishes, everyone pitches in and grabs something: milk, juice, syrup, napkins, etc.  My mom always said, "Many hands make light work" and I say AMEN to that!

I truly hope these tips will help your family's breakfast become a peaceful BREAK in the day instead of a FAST blur of chaos...we're a work in progress ourselves!

Would LOVE for you to share ANY tips/ideas you have too...

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