5:00 a.m. That’s when I wake up.
Before I was a parent, I thought I was a morning person. I love to get up early. I have my best ideas in the morning. It feels great to start my day while everyone else is still sleeping. And yes, before kids, when I enjoyed eight uninterrupted hours of sleep a night and early meant 6:30 a.m., I was a morning person.
After kids, I can’t remember the last time I woke up feeling refreshed. My big dude was a terrible sleeper. No really. I realize that a lot of parents say that their kid was a terrible sleeper because the baby woke up twice a night. And that does suck. My oldest woke up about six times a night until he was over a year old and his first four-hour stretch of sleep was the day after his first birthday. With the birth of our second, we felt more prepared having read pretty much every sleep book on the market. This time we would have a decent sleeper. We were positive.
Let’s just say that my two boys are very much alike. Their biggest sleep difference is that my little dude has an internal clock that starts his day at 5:00 a.m. Since we have a small house, big dude also starts his day at 5:00 a.m. (white noise machines can only do so much). That means that for the last 3.5 years either my husband or I have been up at 5:00 a.m.
The challenge of starting the day at 5:00 a.m. is that by 8:00 a.m. both my dudes are antsy and ready for action. Breakfast, playtime and snack had already passed us by and the fighting and whining has begun in earnest.
In the summer we have an easy solution, head outside to a park or go exploring. The other ten months of the year, rainy days and chilly mornings are a bit more of a challenge. Below are my favorite options to occupy your early morning risers.
- Telus World of Science. Unlike a lot of attractions, Telus World of Science opens at 9:00 a.m. year round. With a great kid’s area and the new Science Garage, this is an attraction that we splurge for an annual pass. We are often the first ones in the door and usually enjoy a quiet hour before school groups start to arrive.
- Edmonton Valley Zoo. Once summer hours start the zoo also opens at 9:00 a.m. with both indoor and outdoor exhibits this is an awesome choice for those cooler mornings. The play area with the beaver lodge, rocks for climbing and water for splashing means that often we don’t see any animals but my boys don’t mind.
- Visit a City of Edmonton Indoor Play Ground. O’Leary Leisure Centre, Clareview, Terwilligar and The Meadows all open at 8 a.m. and have great indoor play areas. Keep in mind that the O’Leary play ground is best suited for younger kids (0-6) while the other locations are best for kids (2-12). Or head into St. Albert to visit Servus Place which also opens early. We would often be in the pool at 7:00 a.m. and then head to the indoor playground before grabbing a treat at Starbucks on the way out the door.
- West Edmonton Mall. This can seem like a strange choice since nothing is open until later in the morning but with the different fountains, the open windows to the Water Park and the pirate ship to admire, my boys were often happy to jump and spin and explore the empty mall while I strolled behind window shopping (this was also very good for my budget since I can’t actually buy anything).
- Find a McDonald’s with an indoor playground. This is a perfect option when you can’t bring yourself to make coffee at home but also can’t imagine getting though the morning without a little caffeinated help.
At 3.5 my little dude is still an early riser and nothing seems to help. I’m always on the look-out of great early morning options so if I’m missing any good spots please let me know.
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