So you want to start every day with a smile?
I started today with a smile and my halo is twinkling brightly as I return from an afternoon stroll in the park. I’ve totally given up on the gym as it’s completely uninspiring. Instead I aim to spend more time in nature and continue with my yoga and meditation practice. Of course, I’ve employed a coach to help me achieve my goals (as I believe that being accountable doesn’t let me away with anything) and you might want to do the same. Or you might want to check out Smiley TV (for your kids) and Chatty Club (for Mums) as online kicks up the bum to get you to where you need to be 🙂
What are your goals for 2017? My broader goal for 2017, is to do as many things as possible that make me feel good. That includes hanging out with people who are inspiring and uplifting. Nobody else will do. They say you become like the 5 people you spend the majority of your time with and when you get this fixed inside your head, you start to be really careful about who you spend your time with. You start to attract more of the right kinds of people too.
What makes you feel good?
Spend a few minutes right now scribbling on a piece of paper all the things that make you feel good. The things that make you feel lucky to be alive. The things that give you a sense of pride and achievement. The things that make you feel most like you. Here are some things from my list:
- Being close to water or in the sunshine
- Lie ins / early nights = in bed before 11pm
- Coaching children
- Walking in nature
You get the general idea. When you have your list complete, make sure you schedule a little bit of goodness into your weekly routine and commit to it. This is called self care and it’s imperative to your sanity. Over in Chatty Club, every week we have Mummy Time Monday where we commit to one act of self care. It’s such an important part of being a Mummy (yes it’s part of your job description) and we work on our inner child. What you need and how to nurture that in yourself makes you a better parent.
Are you running through peanut butter with a blindfold on?
We all want to start the New Year afresh – like turning the page on to reveal a new chapter. A blank page that means we can re-write our lives to be anything we want to be. Clean pages symbolise hope that this year things will be different. They can be, although when you have a family and you have to think for other people as well as yourself, this doesn’t always seem possible. In fact, some days it can feel like running through peanut butter with a blind fold on 🙂
Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we knew the secret of starting every day with our children as if it were our last? That we cherished them instead of yelling at them to ‘Get in the car now!’ or listened to them instead of rushing them with a relentless interrogation in case they have forgotten something – homework, sports kit and packed lunch? Well I know a secret that works. Aside from all the usual get your sh1t together the night before and establish a routine or set of rituals that means everybody is clear about their part and what is expected of them every day. It’s the C word…..it’s not rude and it doesn’t play Jingle Bells. It’s called Connection.
Connection is bang on trend for 2017
It’s the new Friday…..the new black. It’s the new way of ensuring that you and your children start your day off right. How do we connect with our children? There are many different ways, but I think it depends on how your child best likes to feel connected to you. You know your child better than anybody. Have a think about when your child is at their most peaceful, content and happy. What have you done with them, to them and for them? The connection can be:
So let’s have a think about how you can connect first thing in the morning and as ever, let’s keep it real as we know that mornings can be fraught, they can be rushed and they are time pressured by work and school. Here are a few to get you started:-
- Morning Snuggles – set the alarm a little earlier, unless of course your children are your alarm and they come in to your bedroom. Snooze and snuggle. Repeat until alarm goes off again. Find that quiet moment for all of you before the morning craziness begins.
- Kisses & Meaningful Goodbyes – don’t part company after a squabble that hasn’t been resolved. This is the beginning of disconnection for you and your child. Smaller children in particular may not like this bit. Look your children in the eye and give them a kiss and a meaningful goodbye. Wish them a good day and tell them that you love them. Mean it. If they will let you. At some ages, this is not cool but if it’s in the car or in the hallway where nobody can see, then you might just get away with it!
- Notice the Good – find something positive to tell your children. Notice what they have done well with regard to their part in getting ready for the day. No matter how small it is, tell them. What you focus your attention on grows, so notice the good stuff and watch more of that fill your morning routine.
- Play ‘3 things I want to happen today’ on the way to school or over breakfast. This is a good way to tell what is going on for your child at school and a chance to show them that you are listening. This could be anything from getting full marks in a spelling test to having macaroni cheese for supper. Let them go a bit silly with it. If they want Mrs Hogwart (or whoever the teacher they are least fond of) to fall in a puddle of mud, that’s OK or if they want the Sweetie Fairy to come and cover the entire school in gooey chocolate, laugh about it. Laughter is great for feeling good and so is allowing children to have their fantasies. Life doesn’t always go the way we want it to but having fun and dreaming about stuff that could be is a definite mood enhancer.
- Hide a written note in their lunch box, school bag or coat pocket wishing them good luck in a test or telling them what a good friend they are or how much you love them. One of my ex-boyfriends used to leave little notes in the sandwiches he had made me (he didn’t do it every day) but it totally made my day 🙂
Now it’s your turn! Let’s use this page to help each other make mornings more memorable for their happy times as opposed to their meltdowns.
Make connection a morning ritual
It’s as important as brushing your teeth. Your children need to feel connection with you when they have been away from you for a long period of time. Before school and after sleep and after school and before sleep are the most important times. Once you have your list of connection ideas, talk them through with your children and see which ones they prefer. They may even have a few ideas of their own. Involving them in the process makes them feel as if they count. Agree that you will all make an effort to connect with each other every morning. Focusing on the connection will be something they look forward to and there will not be enough time for any impish behaviour.
If you want to learn more about connection, then you can download my free eBook What Every Child Wants Every Parent to Know which tells you about how to work out their love language. A very simple tool which means your child is topped up with love as often as possible. In Chatty Club, our last 3 Master Classes have been about love languages and using them in conflict situations. If you want to join Chatty Club you can sign up here where you will be able to watch the playbacks.