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5 simple ways I stopped the morning madness

I wake up every morning feeling positive. I say some gratitude, my morning mantra – all of life comes to me with ease, joy and glory and I think New day, New possibilities. What can I do and be now?

Optimism doesn’t come naturally to me, I wasn’t taught it by my parents or at school. But I think everything I don’t know is something I have yet to learn.

A few short years ago I’d get up and exercise, meditate, shower and then get my son up. Quickly my happy positive feelings would start to fade.

Before long he would be yelling and crying 😢 he didn’t want to get ready, he didn’t want to go to school, he hated me, he hated himself, he wished he wasn’t alive anymore 😔

We would both end up yelling and in tears and I would take him to school with the heaviest feeling in my heart and the weight of guilt on my shoulders. I’d be so frustrated that I was failing as a parent, that he couldn’t just ‘be happy’ and that I couldn’t make it better.

I started asking questions, What could I do to make mornings better? What does he need to feel better about himself and about school? What was I doing so wrong that my son hates himself and me?

I sought help, the teacher wasn’t helping so I went to other people at the school to get help. He spent some time with the pastoral support worker and eventually the school counselor. These both helped somewhat but we short term solutions.

What did I already know? How had I helped myself? I knew that food had been a huge influence on my moods a couple of years earlier so I decided to look at what my son was eating too.

We began eliminating potato, dairy, corn and gluten and experimenting with his diet. Things began to change quickly. The ‘depression’ he was feeling started to lift and I could see glimpses of my bubbly toddler again.

I started giving him a cuddle and singing a song when he first woke up just like I did when he was little. Physical affection is one of the ways that all people communicate and my son just wanted to be noticed.

I created a visual routine for him to follow so I wasn’t constantly calling out instructions to him of what to do next. He was allowed to make choices and be responsible for himself, it also gave him more quiet in the morning without my voice constantly calling out.

I changed the way I spoke about school. I stopped being negative about his teacher and how useless she was. I started talking about school with a positivity I’ve never used before. There are a lot of things I don’t like about the school system and as I said optimism doesn’t come naturally to me.

I started asking different questions and stopped trying to give all the answers. My son wanted to be seen and heard and even more than that he wanted to be understood. By asking different questions and allowing him to work things out, I was able to give him all of these.

I gave my son hugs for every task he completed. Instead of focusing on all the things he hadn’t done yet, I gave all of my attention to the things he had done. Nothing beats positive attention and process praise to encourage children to put in more effort.

Mornings for us now flow with ease. We both get ready and we chat and laugh and often we even get to play a little.

I still get my time to myself that I cherish and he is finding new ways to love learning.

Every now and then the morning involves a raised voice or tears but we both know how to handle it and turn it around quickly. We look at what he has eaten and how the food – mood connection has affected him. Potato is still a sometimes food, as is gluten and corn, but we have great healthy food everyday that helps us both have energy and feel good about ourselves.

The strategies and tools I share in the peaceful parent program have changed mornings in my house. I’m so exited that I can teach them to other parents and help them find peace in their home and bring back the joy and ease to parenting.

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