How is the the morning rush in your family?
There is something about this window of time, with its multiple transitions from getting-up-to-getting-teeth-brushed-to-getting-dressed-to-having-breakfast-to-getting-coats-on-to-getting-out-of-the-door-to-getting-into-the-car – which can cause more than its fair share of distress.
If this resonates, I’ll hazard a guess that main problem is that your children won’t listen.
They just don’t get the urgency.
They ignore, resist, run off.
Boulders uphill come to mind.
This could be a hour or two of precious time with your children.
But it’s not.
It’s a nightmare.
You can feel yourself getting edgy, raising your voice.
You may even be shouting, because it’s only when you shout that the children start taking what you’re saying seriously.
They’re daydreaming at the breakfast table.
How can you impress upon your children that they need to eat, without saying hurry up the whole time?
Then it’s coats – car seats – and someone is crying. They don’t want to go to school/nursery.
By the time you’ve dropped them off, you’re wrung out, although the day has barely begun.
Recently a dad I spoke to confessed that he wished he just didn’t have to be there.
And I don’t think he’s the only one. By a long way.
In this blog I’d like to outline three steps that will help you and your children have an easier – and much happier – time of it.
Young children learn to do things for themselves by by having us with them as they learn. They benefit from having us with them until they’re older than we parents tend to think.
Accompanying your child through their morning routine is a lovely opportunity to show them you care, even if your child can already physically do the job of, say, brushing their teeth or getting dressed, for themselves.
And the big difference is that when children feel our kindness and presence, they’re much more likely to listen and do what we’ve asked.
If you don’t have the luxury of being able to be 100% with your child because of other jobs that need to be done, such as getting yourself ready, you can still be the companion your child needs by popping in with a smile, offering your support, then letting them know when you have to go and do something else, and, importantly, letting them know when you’ll be back.
“It’s so much more friendly with two.”
A.A. Milne, from Winnie the Pooh.
Children tend to zone us out when they feel we’re not listening to them. They literally pay us back in kind, by not listening to us. This is what’s happening when your child doesn’t do as you ask.
The way to remedy this is to acknowledge everything your child does or says, so that they feel heard.
Here are some examples of the type of thing you could say:
- If your son doesn’t want to get out of bed: “It’s so lovely and snuggly in your bed.”
- If your daughter is running round giggling, instead of getting dressed: “I’m with you… I wish we could run around having fun too…!”
- If one of them is saying they don’t want to go to school: “Sounds like you’d rather stay at home today, especially as you know I’ll be working from home.”
Acknowledging your child in this way will help them feel connected to you and much more open to listening to your wishes.
Even if it feels counter-intuitive at first, why not try it out? In my experience with hundreds of families, acknowledging is a game-changer.
And don’t worry, in the next step you’ll get to talk about whatever your child has to do next.
Once you’ve acknowledged your child’s wish to stay in bed / run around / not got to school, invite them to do whatever’s next on the agenda:
- “Would you like to get yourself out of bed or shall I pick you up?”
- “Here’s your sock. Shall I help you put it on?”
- “Here, let me make you really cosy in your coat.”
Inviting is very different to giving your child instructions, telling them to hurry up or threatening them with counting to 3.
It’s much softer.
And it makes things pleasant – for you, too.
Don’t you love getting invitations?
Accompany – Acknowledge – Invite
So, next time, take a deep breath and accompany, acknowledge and invite your child through their morning routine.
You may need to slow down. In fact, slowing down would be a great idea. But you’ll get to the destination with more ease and grace.
You’ll notice your children won’t resist or drag their feet in the same way.
They’ll feel good – and do the things you want them to do much more willingly.
And you’ll feel better about it too.
Take a look at the dad in the photograph.
He’s a great example, with his open stance, being there for his son.
When you do these things, you’ll notice the mood in the morning change. Your children will have smiles on their faces.
You’ll feel as if you’re all pulling together more.
How would it actually feel, if you could achieve this?
You can discover more easy and loving ways to solve things with your children by downloading my guide, Solve the Struggle with Your Kids, below.
Solve the Struggle with Your Kids
The 6 Wise Parenting Powers
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