I went through a really difficult patch with my eldest daughter recently. Tantrums, tears, defiance, lying are some of the things that have reared their head. Whatever I said she just tuned me out, we were completely disconnected and she felt out of reach. Frankly, I found it quite scary, she’s only just coming up for 4, imagine how it could be in another 10 years?
Whenever I have challenging periods with my kids I literally have to stop everything and look objectively at the situation. What I noticed was I was permanently attached to my laptop and phone or busy washing, cooking and cleaning. At one point she asked me to come and play cafes with her and then said “you can bring your computer with you”. I felt awful, I wasn’t putting in any quality time.
Around the same time I came across a post on Simple Kids, 6 Peaceful solutions for Hitting and Anger. Number 5 talked about Time In as opposed to time out as a reaction to negative behaviour. The idea is that the child sits with a grown-up for some cool down, snuggle, and talk time.
This really got me thinking. When kids act up is it because they’re naughty or because they’re trying to tell you something? I decided on the latter and resolved to create some time for Bella and I to ‘be’ together.
I’ve been doing this for 2 weeks now and the change is incredible. Emotional outbursts are fewer and don’t last as long and our connection is much stronger. She seems much happier and I’m happier to be with her.
1. Spend quality time together once a week, away from the house and your other children if you have them. A trip to the library, down to the shops, the cafe, a museum, a show, the park whatever you feel you’ll both enjoy.
2. Give your quality time a name. As Bella is the oldest I say “Let’s have some big girls time together”. She loves that. Giving it a name enables your child to ask for this time when they need it.
3. Look them in the eyes when they’re talking to you to show you’re really listening.
4. Really involve them by asking their opinion or ideas on things while you’re out. This helps them feel important and that their thoughts matter.
5. Giving your full attention to your child for 10 mins a day goes along way to help them feel accepted and recognized.
What I struggle with most is being consistent. I start off well and then things fall by the way side, until the next episode.