Over the last few weeks we have been having some serious meltdowns in the mornings (I say we because I’ve pretty much ended up melting down just as much as the 3-year-old). These meltdowns eventually culminated in a flat out refusal to leave the house to get to nursery.
I’m not joking. Last week Amelia was so upset leaving for nursery that she pulled away from me, turned around and walked back to the house. She let herself in, closed the front door and sat herself on the sofa. The rest of the day was a write off.
But, once we’d all calmed down, Mr C and I put our parent heads on and came up with some ideas to sort the problem out. It didn’t feel like a one dimensional “this one thing is the problem” kinda issue, so we had to go at it a bit sideways. Eventually, though, we forged some ideas for progress.
Step 1: Establish what the problem is
Most kids, if we give them the time and really listen and watch, will be able to tell you what the problem is. So we watched and listened, no interrupting her, no finishing her sentences, just listening. We heard a lot, and all most things we could definitely fix.
1. Tights are itchy when you’re a kid and spend all your day on the move. This became a huge issue for us, and Amelia was literally yanking them off every morning just as we were about to leave. After a chat, we agreed that leggings are way more comfy. Cool, tights out, leggings in!
2. New shoes fix everything. Ok, all jokes aside; even though we’d had her feet measured and technically she was in the right size shoe, the reality is that different shops come up slightly differently in size. Amelia’s shoes weren’t comfy anymore. Simples! New shoes required!
3. A good breakfast anything isn’t rushed. Rushing in the morning clearly stresses Amelia out as much as it does me. Now this one’s a little harder to fix, mainly because we all like our beds. But I’m the grown up here, so I guess it’s on me. By getting up a little while before the kids, I can now have everything ready for everyone, including breakfast, so that when they all wake up no time is wasted waiting around.
4. Cool kids have lunch bags. Ok I’m gonna restrain myself cos I could go on for ages about how I always secretly wanted a brown paper bag lunch a la the American kids. Once a hipster, always a hipster! Amelia always had a cooked lunch at her old nursery, so I assumed she’d want the same here. Turns out I was totally wrong, and it’s all about the lunch bag. So maybe it’s a bit of extra faffing about making a packed lunch for her, but hey, if a cute princess lunch bag gets her out of the door then I’m in!
5. Ass. U. Me. The biggest mistake we were making was assuming things. A lot of things! She’d always been happy with her toddler ‘uniform’ of cute dress/tights/cardigan combo, and we assumed she still was. Wrong Mama! Her new style involves cute tees and slogan sweats! We assumed she was just acting up, being a toddler, going through (very) delayed terrible two’s. Maybe not. We assumed her favourite shoes were still her faves. How very dare we?! And we assumed that we knew what she was trying to tell us. But actually, when we really listened, and I mean really, it turned out that we were wrong.
Step 2: Slowly slowly, one thing at a time.
You know what they say about Rome. Well kids aren’t built in a day either, and neither are stress free mornings! The key was taking our time and dealing with one thing at a time. Naturally I chose shopping first (I told you, new shoes fix everything), but seriously, finding our fixes didn’t happen overnight. Amelia didn’t even reveal some of these issues straight away. It takes time and patience, and lots of the aforementioned listening.
Slowing down our mornings with me getting up half an hour earlier has made a huge difference. I’d be lying if I said new clothes (and shoes) hadn’t helped too, along with all the other little fixes we have implemented.
We are well on the way to re-forging our stress free mornings, and all through some simple fixes. We reconnected a bit, just by taking the time to listen to what she had to say. Plus we got to go girly shopping and try on some fab cute new outfits! Win win!**We’ll ignore the minor argument over whether the cute gloves are a mouse or a bunny. Definitely mouse, I’m not caving! (I might have caved.)
How about you guys, how do you keep your mornings stress free? Does your toddler have meltdowns over seemingly ridiculous things?
**This is a collaborative post