My Secret for a Happy Morning With My Children

MorningWhen my older daughter was in kindergarten, I discovered a delightful tool for parenting and for happiness, by accident.

“What did you do at school today?” I’d asked her.

“Well, we all talked about how our parents wake us up in the morning.”

“What did you say?” I prodded, with curiosity and trepidation.

“With a good-morning song.”

Now, I’m not sure why she said this, because I’d only done that a few times. After hearing her comment, though, I vowed to try to sing a good-morning song every day. What a lovely way to start the morning, to wake up your child with a good-morning song!

One of the most powerful happiness-project lessons, and the Third of my Twelve Commandments, is to “Act the way I want to feel.” We think that actions follow feelings, but often, feelings follow actions. By deliberately starting the day by singing – that is, by acting cheerful, light-hearted, and energetic – I can help generate those feelings in myself. Also, because of the psychological phenomenon of “emotional contagion,” we “catch” the emotions of other people. If I can manage to act light-hearted and energetic, I can infect the other members of my family with good cheer.

The morning sets the tone for the whole day, so I’ve found that it’s worth making a special effort to make mornings run smoothly – whether that means organizing everyone’s stuff the night before, doing the “evening tidy-up” before going to bed so the apartment isn’t too messy when we emerge in the morning, or singing a garbled version of “Let’s Go Fly a Kite.”

Have you found any good ways to start the morning on a more cheerful note?

The days are long, but the years are short.