Recently I read an article that said that there were nine minutes in your child’s day that could have the most impact: The first three when they awake, the three minutes when they come home from school and the last three minutes before they fall asleep.
This really got us thinking. Are we making these times special for our kids?
The first three minutes when they wake up: Our kids sleep early so my husband and I enjoy our evenings together. But the flip side of that, is that they are bright as sparks and wake up with the dawn! Not the time of the day we are our cheerful best! So one of the things we’ve decided is to do is respond to them happily when they come jumping on our beds (I must confess that I really struggle with that!). Another thing one of my friends does, is that she puts everything on hold when she goes to wake up her 6 year old daughter. She goes to her bed and gently calls her, strokes her hair, hugs her and sits by her bed for a few minutes. She knows the rest of the morning is going to be rushed getting her ready for school, so she has decided that when she wakes her up, she’s not going to rush her. What a wonderful way to wake up!
The first three minutes when they come back from school: Kids love coming home to a mum or dad, and especially one who is happy to see them. I’m so grateful to my mum who made the choice to be there for me when I got back from school. I’ve heard so many stories of friends who’ve had to come back to any empty house and have hated it. My neighbor always greets her 4 year old daughter with great excitement. She makes it a special moment and you should see the big smile on her daughter’s face when she sees the happiness on her mum’s face to see her. (For those mums who are working, maybe try and keep a note or snack for your kids when they get back or call them from work, and tell them that you are waiting to see them)
The last three minutes before they fall off to sleep: Getting children into a predictable routine is great for them. After our kids have been bathed and fed, we read them a couple of stories and my husband then asks them 4 questions*:
- What was your favourite part about your day?
- What was your least favourite part about your day?
- Do you have any questions about your day?
- How did you show kindness or love today?
We’ve found doing this so helpful. My 4 year son is really into it now and he looks forward to this special time with his Dad. Some of his answers are so profound! And he’s even started thinking about his act of kindness for the day.
* The Bedtime Hoops: 4 Important Questions To Ask Your Kids At Bedtime: This is such a great article by Christine Leeb and it explains the philosophy behind asking each of these questions.