The Morning Glory February/March Newsletter

Written by Sheila Garczynski

March 3, 2021

Dear Morning Glory Families,

With the sun rising earlier and staying up longer as we move away from winter and through spring, so do the children it seems. At least, in my experience, they try to. Having a set bedtime routine can truly help with balancing the light in the sky with the patterns of the body.

First, rhythm; if you have a predictable routine in the evenings, this tells your child’s body what to expect to happen next without your needing to use a lot of words. My family’s pattern was: dinner, bath, stories, and lights out. We tried to stick to specific times, but even if we started a little late, the pattern remained the same so my children knew what to expect to happen next. Consider what you already do in your family, and then see if you can create a predictable pattern. Making small changes will make creating your family rhythms seem gentle rather than forced.

A few tricks I’ve found for dinner that make it easier on the parents (usually) is to make a side dish you know your child likes in addition to the food the adults prefer. This helps you aim for success, your child will like one bit of food on their plate and will hopefully try nibbles of the other food. Not everyone has a picky eater, but for those who do, this can be helpful.  Here’s a recipe for Homemade Mac-n-Cheese that my family still enjoys, and started out as a side dish I knew my children would enjoy:

Homemade Mac-n-Cheese

  • Elbow macaroni
  • Butter
  • Flour
  • Salt
  • Ground black pepper
  • Milk
  • Half and half
  • Cheddar cheese (grate at home, not pre-shredded)
  • *chopped broccoli and sliced tomato
  • grated parmesan cheese
  1. Preheat the oven. Preheat to 325 degrees and lightly grease a baking dish.
  2. Cook the macaroni. Slightly undercook your noodles (about 1 minute under al-dente). Drain and set aside.
  3. Make the roux.  Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Blend in the flour, salt, and pepper. Cook for 2 minutes.
  4. Add milk and cheese.  Stir in milk and half and half, slowly, stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Add 1 cup shredded cheese to the sauce and stir just until melted. Add the cooked macaroni noodles and toss to coat them in the sauce.
  5. Pour into baking dish.  Pour half or the pasta mixture into the prepared baking dish. Sprinkle 1/2 cup cheese over the top. Pour remaining pasta over it and sprinkle with remaining cheese.
  6. *Option: stir in chopped broccoli before adding toppings. Lay sliced tomatoes over the top. Sprinkle with grated Parmesan.
  7. Bake for 15 minutes to heat the tomatoes and soften the broccoli. 

Certainly substitute for allergies and dietary needs. 

Allowing children to help with the mixing and maybe the grating and chopping can encourage them to enjoy meals a bit more.

Bringing a candle to your dinner (revisit the November newsletter for more on that) or into your bedtime can lend a bit of reverence to the routine. Also, bringing in the storytelling formula (from the January newsletter) can help children feel connected to their family even after the lights have been turned out. Here is a sweet bedtime verse you could say just before the lights go out. 

Bedtime by Thomas Hood (A Child’s Seasonal Treasury by Betty Jones)

The evening is coming, the sun sinks to rest,

The rooks are all flying straight to the nest,

“Caw!” says the rook, as he flies overhead;

“It’s time little people were going to bed!”

The flowers are closing; the daisy’s asleep;

The primrose is buried in slumber so deep.

Shut up for the night is the pimpernel red,

It’s time little people were going to bed.

“Goodnight, little people, goodnight, and goodnight,

Sweet dreams to your eyelids ‘til dawning of light,

The evening has come, there’s no more to be said,

It’s time little people were going to bed!”

The butterfly drowsy, has folded its wing,

The bees are returning, no more the birds sing,

Their labor is over, their nestlings are fed;

It’s time little people were going to bed!

Here comes the pony, his work is all done,

Down through the meadow he takes a good run,

Up go his heels and down goes his head,

It’s time little people were going to bed!

(It is quite long, so just try one or two stanzas for a few weeks.)

Accompany this with a lavender foot rub or a gentle back massage and your child will (ideally) zonk out.

With kindness,

Ms. Helga

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