Calm Parenting for Grumpy Mornings

wafflesOne morning, my 3-year-old said, “I am my brother, not me,” while I was busy getting my older son ready for school.  Ah, a sign of a storm brewing, I thought.

I squatted at his level to acknowledge him, but could not stop for more than a short minute.

Then, my younger son started complaining, “I don’t want the waffle cut in half!”  Ah, a louder signal.  I still couldn't pay attention to him, though I did make eye contact with him. I was still  busy with my older son.

Then I told him that he needed to change out of his pajamas.  He said, “I don’t want to change!  I want a Batman costume.”  However, he wouldn’t change into the Batman costume which I handed to him.  He threw that away. Then, he sat in front of the clothes drawer, unable to make up his mind what to wear.

He was bouncing around.  A sure sign of disconnection, I thought.

I was busy packing my older son's lunch, and didn't have the time and attention to Staylisten for more than a couple of minutes.

So, when my older son went off to school, I offered my younger son Special Time for half an hour. First, he disappeared for a minute as he sometimes does during Special Time and I begged, “Please don’t go!  Please come back!”

Then he smiled, waved good-bye and left the room.  In a minute, he came back.

Then we covered ourselves under a blanket and played with flashlights.  Lots of laughter.That turned into a physical play.  He wanted to be up side down.  So I held his feet and lifted him up.  A head stand.  He wanted me to tumble over too.  More laughter. When the time was up, he went and changed his clothes before I even noticed.

And then he ate the same waffle he had rejected earlier because I had cut it in half.  I said, just to be sure, “I am sorry I cut it in a way you didn’t like. How is it?”

He was busy eating. “Good!” he said.

From the Hand in Hand Toolbox:

Get help getting out in the mornings with 15 Tips For Getting Out Of The House With Kids

Find out how Special Time can turn your day around. Here's a free checklist on what to do.

Read about why crying can be helpful for your child Listen Launch Post: Staylistening How Does Crying Help You and Your Child?

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