For years I bought into the limiting belief that I’m not a morning person, my old night shift working self loved spending all day in bed and having breakfast at 4pm. Now fast-forward to having two toddlers. Sleeping in all day just isn’t a possibility anymore. But I also quickly learned that mornings where I got up a 15-30 minutes before my kids I was suddenly more patient, calm, I felt like the morning started on my terms instead of whatever meltdown my three year was gonna choose to have at 7am. If you’ve tried waking up early and are in a constant standoff between you and the snooze button here are some tips that have helped me skip the snooze and get my mornings off to a more peaceful, intentional start!
Lay your clothes out – have your clothes for the morning already set out. Whether you’re headed to work or working out, having your clothes picked out the night before makes getting dressed something you can do while still half asleep. There’s no riffling for that pair of legging you swore was clean. Have everything you need right there so you can shut your alarm off and start changing!
Charge your phone across the room – This is the change that has helped me the MOST when it comes to getting up early… Having to physically get out of bed to shut your alarm off means your feet are on the ground and you’re physically “up”. You have to then make a decision of if you want to get back in bed. The snooze button and I have our battles but I know that button would be undefeated if I it was directly next to my bed. Bonus about charing your phone across the room is you cut down on mindless scrolling in bed, which gets me to sleep faster at night!
Have a plan – Take a few minutes the night before and know what your plan is in the morning. Will you be working out, will you be taking your dog for a walk, getting some work tasks off your list? Reading? Our brains will look for any excuse or reason to push snooze. By taking a few minutes to plan ahead, having your laptop charged and set up so you can start on your list, knowing exactly what workout or where you’ll walk your dog, keeps us from having to make these decisions in the moment when we’re struggling to wake up already!
Go to bed early – The best way to ensure you wake up earlier is to get more sleep!! Waking up earlier actually starts the night before. If i’m in bed after 11 the chances of my morning ritual happening are low!! Stop sacrificing tomorrow by staying up late the night before.
Look forward to something – this can be a hot shower after your workout, your cup of coffee, getting to read uninterrupted, a delicious breakfast, enjoying the silence before your kids wake up. Having something you look forward to in the morning helps your brain remember why we’re dragging ourselves out of bed!
This summer we chose Arches for our National Park in Utah to explore with the boys! Today I’m sharing our overall experience, the hikes we managed, gluten free food we found & the accommodations so you can make the most of your trip! We have made it a goal to take them to one park a year if possible. You can see our winter trip to Yosemite last year here .
I found Arches to be very family friendly and very manageable when it came to a National Park. It’s a fairly small park only about 1/10 the size of Yosemite so driving through the park, hiking and exploring felt less daunting! There was no shortage of short easy hikes some that were even stroller friendly. We saw tons of families enjoying the park & would say it’s toddler approved!
The Windows: This was the longest hike we did with the boys! But it was definitely one of the most beautiful! This hike definitely has some incline & lots of steps, but is 1 mile round trip with phenomenal views at the top!
Balanced Rock: Stroller Friendly 0.3 mile loop hike with tons of photo ops! This is a great one to save as a second activity of the day! You can see balanced rock from the road but the loop trail has next to no elevation gain and is mostly paved making it super accessible for kids!
Double Arch: Take this 0.6 mile hike to see the tallest arch in the park! This relatively flat packed gravel hike leads to 2 gorgeous arches. You could easily take a stroller right up to the base of the arch!
Delicate Arch Viewpoint: Lower viewpoint is stroller friendly – we didn’t use the stroller but wish we had! By the time we did this one the boys were pooped, it was peak heat in the day so needless to say we didn’t stay long. This viewpoint is wheelchair accessible and only about 200ft, but for a tired, overheated toddler you might opt for the stroller!
Sand Dune Arch: This was on our list but we didn’t get to hike this. This 0.4 mile hike is listed as a popular hike for kiddos! But as the name eludes to there’s lots of sand so plan accordingly!
*If you’re planning a trip in the summer I can’t recommend these cooling towels enough! They’re ultra light weight and you simply pour water on them when you’re ready to cool off! We used these everyday we were out in the park & they’ll definitely be a summer staple!
Accommodations: We stayed at Springhill Suites in Moab & LOVED it! If you’re visiting in the Summer this resort is amazing. They have two pools, a splashpad & 4 hot tubs including one that is considered a “warming tub” that is significantly less hot & geared towards littles! One of the pools is super shallow which was perfect for toddlers who are still getting the hang of swimming! They also have family suites that include bunk beds and a great free breakfast that starts at 6am which I never truly valued until I started traveling with kids!
Things to consider:
Time of year – the weather can certainly be a factor so if your trip is lined up for mid summer be sure to plan accordingly. The actual park does not have any food inside and you’re encouraged to bring a LOT of water with you inside the park. We went ahead and booked tickets for early morning entry & spent the morning in the park and left by noon when the temperatures were reaching their highest for the day!
Plan your days – My advice is to plan to do about 2 hikes or sights in the park per day if you have young kiddos, especially in the summer when the heat is no joke. We found it was to start with the longer hike & save something that is stroller friendly or shorter for the second half!
Expect / plan breaks – Toddlers are more than capable of enjoying and participating in hikes and national parks but planning in breaks is KEY. I recommend bringing some small toy for the halfway point of the hike. When we hiked The Windows hike I knew we’d want to stop at the top, rest, hydrate and admire the sights. Toddlers are less into pausing and soaking in the vastness… So I brought the boys little toy dinosaurs to play with at the top. I kept them in my backpack so there wasn’t any temptation beforehand and then it was a little surprise. Then I told them we had to pack them away so they could get down the hike safely again! This seriously bought us 20-30 min at the top, which allowed for both Chris and I to go see the views at the very top, and allowed for everyone to feel rested for the walk back!
Keep it fun – hiking in the heat, even short distances can be a lot for little kids. So keeping it fun and lighthearted is the best way to keep your toddler moving forward. We play red light / green light. Chase / stomp on each others shadows, play ispy, and look for little creatures and of course racing each other! These little distractions helped a ton with our kids and kept the carrying them to a minimum!
Food – Downtown Moab has a ton of options all within a 5 block radius. There was no shortage of gluten free options available.
Pasta Jays – gluten free pastas, garlic bread, huge portions and large outdoor patio!
Miguels Baja Cafe – Nearly everything here is gluten free unless otherwise noted! Super cute colorful outdoor area to eat!
Moab coffee roasters – affogatos to die for here.
Food Truck Park – A ton of food truck and a nice shaded square to enjoy your food!
Moab Giants: If you extra time this Dinosaur park is the best add on for your toddlers. It’s a few minutes from the park entrance and you can explore these life size replicas of Dinosaurs. They also have an air conditioned museum. We did this one morning instead of the National Park & the boys loved it!
All in all we had a great time at Arches, I think the boys were at a great age to experience this park & I didn’t feel like we missed out on much! Obviously the older your kids are the more they can hike and explore but I think for toddlers this park is perfect. There’s short hikes, minimal cliffs and plenty of beauty and nature to be appreciated!
I’d love to hear about other National Parks you think are great for kids! Every time we finish one of these trips it gets me so excited to research and plan our next park so I’m open to any and all suggestions!!