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Only 9 Minutes a Day

Research has shown that there are nine minutes a day that are most influential to your child. I did some research on my own after my youngest got a paper sent home. It talks about how the first three minutes after they wake up, the first three minutes after they come home from school, and the last three minutes before bed can have a great impact on your child. From what I found out everything says the same as the paper she brought home.

Waking Up

How your child starts the day can set their mood for the rest of the day.


Now morning times can be crazy and fast-paced to get everyone up and ready to go. Especially if your child likes to sleep in. When I would wake up my youngest, she would ask for more time to sleep. Which, led to a panicked “We don’t have time for that!” Or a “Sure a few minutes.” and then I would get busy and forget to wake her up in a few minutes. Either way, we were always rushed, and yes there would be fighting. 

About a year ago, what I started doing was waking her up ten minutes before I normally would and would ask if she needed more time. She always says yes. And when it is time for her to get up and get ready she gets up easily. Then we spent the next few minutes talking about dreams she had, brushing our teeth together, and picking out her clothes for the day. Since we started doing this she has been calmer in the morning and has time for a few minutes of TV before the bus picks her up.

Before this, she would go to school frazzled and stressed, and now while she hates going to school, she is happy in the mornings. To me, that is a win. 

Coming Home

Reconnecting after a long day.

When you come from work don’t you just want to relax for a few minutes before doing anything? Children are the same when coming home from school. They are happy to be home, their safe spot. They want to see you after their daily struggles at school. I realized to step back and not say “do your homework” as soon as they come home. I had the mentality of “get it done and over with,” which led to fights. (I say fights but more like talking loud to each other because we were both frustrated). 

I started this with my oldest daughter when she was younger, just taking a break when we got home. I do this with my children as it seems effective, and I enjoy this as much as they do. I am now working from home, and my oldest is homeschooled, so things are a little different. However, when my youngest got home, she hugged me and told me how she missed me. Then she tells me about her day as she washes her hands and changes into an oversized t-shirt. (She does this so she doesn’t have to wear pants around the house and she doesn’t like nightgowns.)

With a big smile she then thanks me for listening to her day, she gives me another hug and runs off to play while I get dinner ready. 

(To clarify for those who have asked me why one child is homeschooled and the other one isn’t, my oldest is autistic and was struggling massively in school and I cannot afford a special school for her. My youngest is extroverted and loves being around others and likes going to school to see her friends.)


A calm moment before bed can help them sleep.

Bedtime is the time of the day that can either go smoothly or be a fight in our house. It’s either a peaceful, “brush your teeth and get ready for bed.” or a “BUT I’M STILL PLAYING.” Which is a normal child's response as they want to keep playing. I decided to switch things up and instead of “You have to do this.” To “Let’s brush our teeth together.” We set up each other's toothbrushes with toothpaste and get the cups for mouthwash ready. After that, we read a book or two (depending on how short they are). We say our prayers, and then I hug them and kiss them on the forehead. 

My youngest sometimes gets scared to sleep alone, so I will sit with her and hold her hand until she falls asleep. 

These are just what we do in our household. Each child and household is different, so you need to find a routine that works best for your family. I will say these nine minutes a day do help. Not just with the children but myself as well. I am a single mother and often feel like I'm falling short trying to do everything on my own, but these are the moments my children remind me I am doing a great job. 

If you don’t do all nine minutes every day does that mean you fail as a parent? Absolutely not. We are human and have bad days, or things happen outside of our control. Maybe you slept through the alarms and now everyone has to hurry and get themselves ready because you have to leave the house in five minutes to be on time. (I have had that happen before.)

We also need to remember children are humans too, and they also have bad days. As parents, let’s make sure we are there for them and let them know they are heard and loved. 


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