How Aware Parenting helps children get ready in the morning

If your children are not meeting your need for cooperation, or are reluctant to go to school in the morning, there may be other reasons: they are needing more connection with you; they have upset feelings which need to be expressed and heard; or they are worried about something at school that day.  To help meet those needs, and for more harmony and ease on school mornings, I suggest addressing these issues in the afternoons and evenings after school, and at weekends.  

To ensure connection, aim to spend some one-on-one time with each child each day after school – even if it is only 10 minutes.  Ask them about their day, what they enjoyed and didn’t enjoy.  This small chunk of time will probably be enough to fill their need for connection.  Each day at school, children can experience many hurtful events – being talked to in a way they don’t enjoy by teachers or other children, having a toy pulled away from them, not being included in a game, friendships being lost, not having choices about what they do, etc.  Children need to release these stresses and hurts otherwise they accumulate.  Children with accumulated stress do not sleep well, and children who are tired are less able to repress upset feelings, leading to behaviours such as not listening, not cooperating, whining, etc.  

There are several ways you can help your child heal from these hurts.  The first is listening.  Then there is play – for example you role play the child and they play the teacher.  You pretend in mock voices to be scared or powerless.  The more a child laughs during these power reversal games, the more they are releasing the feelings of powerlessness and fear that have built up.  With older children, you could also role play different responses and strategies that they could use if the event occurs again.  In this way they can also explore what the other person might have been feeling and needing.  

Children of all ages also release hurts and frustrations through crying and raging. 

These feelings might come out when you are role playing or after you have had some one-on-one time, when they are sure you are listening. 

Or they might be released after some wrestling and running around before bed. 

Or they might be stimulated by something you say which reminds the child of a hurtful event, or by a limit that you set. 

Instead of fixing, rewarding, punishing, or ignoring, just be present with your child as she cries and rages, for as long as it takes.  Her siblings might even join in too.  Welcome this, knowing that once they have cried all they need to, they will be calm and refreshed, ready for a restful sleep that night and a new day at school.

First published in byron child magazine www.kindredmedia.com.au in 2005