We’ve all had them – those mornings when time seems to be against us, as we rush around trying to get ourselves and our kids ready. Recently I learned about one thing that makes it all MUCH easier…
I attended a training session by Brisbane-based parenting expert Justin Coulson earlier this year and was struck by his description of how he and his wife established calmer mornings in their household. Considering they have six daughters, aged I think between 3-18, this is quite an achievement!
He discussed the importance of connecting with your kids, even for a few minutes, in that mid morning rush.
Imagine from the minute you wake up, someone is rushing and hustling you to get ready, barking orders and instructions. Combine that with the time pressure most families are under in the morning and it’s a recipe for disaster. Tempers get frayed and kids dig their heels in just when you need them to really speed it up.
Back to Coulson, he talked about how he and his wife give their girls a short massage on awakening, sort of easing them into their day. Doesn’t that sound amazing? (I am quite impressed with how they manage that with six kids, they must have to get up at least half an hour earlier?!)
Anyway, I decided to try it for myself. I went in a few minutes earlier to my daughter and son and sat down, asked them how they slept and listened to what they said, with eye contact – instead of my usual quick, distracted greeting followed by “Please get dressed/have your shower/eat your breakfast/brush your teeth/we really do need to get moving, we’re late”).
It worked. And it continues to work. As Coulson points out, “Just as dollars are the currency of our economy, attention is the currency of our relationships.”
And if that isn’t enough, it’s also science backed. Renowned US child psychiatrist Daniel Siegel wrote about how pausing to establish a connection with your child both strengthens the bond between you and them, and also helps promote optimal brain development in children.
Try it, even for a few minutes, if that’s all you have. You might be pleasantly surprised.