Songs to sing, games to play, learning new things every day!”
What are your rituals for getting the kids to school or childcare? Is it all chaos and confusion? Yelling and pleading? We’ve ALL been there. Now that we’re a couple of weeks into the start of a new school year, I wanted to give us parents a chance to pause and reflect on how we are or are not connecting with our kids each morning in the busy process of getting to school. Let’s look at a few possibilities:
- Do you get the chance for a morning snuggle? Or maybe it’s just a quick lap cuddle in a favorite chair or on the couch? This is a great time to just “be”, to make those physical connections on the outside that make internal neural connections, jumpstarting their brains for the day, helping them to feel the love and security that open up their brains to learning. “I feel, therefore I learn.” It’s a great chance to sing a favorite morning song together, “This is the Day” or “You are my Sunshine”. Remember how I suggested saying “goodnight” to your child’s body parts? see post It’s fun to say “Good morning” to them as well, and help to wake them up!
- Do you sit at the table with them for breakfast – even for just a couple of minutes? It seems like sometimes I am playing short-order cook in the kitchen or packing lunches, but I always feel better about taking a couple of minutes to sit at the table with the kids. They like to have me there for some good “face-time”, and it gives us a chance to sing a blessing or our “family song”. Or start the day off by reading a silly story or poem that goes along with the season or their class’s letter or theme of the week. Take a minute to talk about the day ahead – What are they most looking forward to doing at school today? Who are they most excited to see today?
- Do you encourage a cooperative spirit getting “out the door, and in the car”? Umm, does that mean like threatening them with “time outs”? Yes, sometimes. On my better days, it means we are chanting together, “Out the door and in the car, let’s go team!” (with high fives on the “let’s go team” part). It means we are all sitting together getting our shoes on by the back door, and I’m singing (to the tune of “Mama’s Little Baby Loves Shortnin’ Bread”):”Mama’s smart girl is precious, precious, mama’s smart girl is loved so much. Mama’s smart girl will go to school, mama’s smart girl will ride the Mommy bus. Put on your socks, put on your shoes, goin’ to school is wonderful news! Put on your shirt, put on your pants, Ellie is doing the helpful dance!”
- Do you connect in the car? So, I know, getting everybody into the car with all their stuff is sometimes enough to completely exhaust you, but once you’ve taken a few deep breaths, do you attempt to connect with your kids on the way to school? This is another great chance to sing a song – take requests or ask them their favorite morning tunes. Ask those questions you didn’t get to at breakfast. Play “I spy” on your drive. My kids play a game that MJ started years ago with his grandparents where if you see a red car, you say, “Scoo-bee-doop”, and a yellow one is a “Scoo-bee-deep”. I know you’ve got your own favorite car games. Please share!
- Do you have a loving “drop-off” ritual? Maybe it’s something special that you say to them. For Ellie, I give her a kiss on each cheek, saying, “I love you once, I love you twice, I love you more than beans and rice!” I have one friend who kneels next to her twin boys at the classroom door, and sings “Jesus Loves Me” with them before hugging them, and sending them inside. When MJ used to have a hard time with separation, I would give him a “kissing hand” that he could keep with him for the day, so like Chester Raccoon, whenever he needed to be reminded, he could put his hand on his cheek and recall, “Mommy loves me, Mommy loves me!” And he’d often give me a kissing hand for the day, as well! (You need this book by Audrey Penn!)
Let me know! What rituals do you have for connecting with your children in the mornings? Please share!