My 4 year old has been acting up a LOT lately. She’s always ornery and yelling at everyone, including friends. I have spent a few weeks honestly dreading the time that she’s home from school, knowing that we would be fighting over everything from putting her shirt on the right way, to the fact that she can’t eat candy at 8 in the morning.
I finally decided one day that instead of letting Gracie know what my expectations were for the day, and how she needed to be acting, I decided to sit down and have a heart to heart with her. I started by letting her know that I noticed she hadn’t been a happy little girl lately and that she was getting in fights with me a lot and even her friends. I asked her how she’s been feeling lately. We have talked about emotions a lot lately so it helped her to express herself. I asked her what was causing her to get upset so often. I asked her what she would change about her day if she could change anything. I asked her what her idea of a perfect day was. And I finally asked her who she would spend her time with if she could pick anyone.
Her answers completely surprised me. She started to talk about how she misses her brother when he’s at school. How she wishes she was old enough to go to his school, so she would get to spend time on the bus with him and play with him on the bus stop. She told me that she didn’t like that her and her friends went to school on different days, which meant that she didn’t get to see them all the time. And then she said that she missed me.
How could she miss me? I’m here every day. Doesn’t she remember that I’m the one she fights with 24/7? Doesn’t she realize I’m the one she asks for water 14 times a day, or to get a snack 4 times before 10 am? I almost had to catch myself as I started to give her the third degree of “how could you miss me, I’m always here” and I realized that wasn’t going to get us anywhere. So I stopped and asked a simple question of “what do you mean?”.
Sometimes I forget that a child, even as young as 4 years old, can have real adult feelings and although communicated differently, they are still very similar. She told me that she wants to play with me. She said that she missed when we went to the park together, or colored pictures under the tree.
As school season started, I went back to full “work from home” mode and I hadn’t realized I was pushing aside the time that my baby girl needed with me. I was giving her the “just a second” finger more times than not, and unfortunately got in the habit of using the TV as a babysitter so I could get something done “really quick”.
I vowed that day to not pull out my computer until the kids had gone to bed. Gracie still had to call me out on having my nose in the phone a few times….it’s become habit that I don’t even realize I’m doing it.
Instead of giving her the “just a second” finger, we had a picnic on the dining room floor and used her tea party dishes. We pulled out her Little Charmers toys that she had gotten a week ago. You guys should have seen her face when she opened them. She was so excited, and now looking back, I wish I had gotten down on the floor and played with her right then. But now, we were down on the floor using Posie’s magic wand turning pillows into castles for Seven, creating snow filled fields for us to run thru, and she even used her wand to create a pretend brother to play with us too! It was so fun to see her imagination at work. And I loved that she used the Little Charmer’s toys just like they truly are in the show. She knows that thing forward and backward!! It’s one of those shows that I love letting her watch. It has such great values and themes of friendship.
While we were playing, she asked if we could put on an episode of Little Charmers. I pulled one up and I’ll admit it was hard to not take that time to pull out my computer to work. It’s so easy to feel like her attention is elsewhere and she wouldn’t even notice I’m working….but from our previous conversation, I learned that she does notice. So instead I climbed back on the floor with her to play and watch the show together. Listening to her giggle and quote sayings from the show brought a smile to my face. I never noticed these things before.
Since our conversation, I have been more aware and have limited the time I spend working during the hours my kids are home and awake. The best part of it all is not that Gracie’s mood has changed, but that she told me the other day “Mom, you’re my best friend”. Knowing that she sees me that way makes my heart melt and of course makes all the late nights that I’m working so worth it.
Little Charmers are the perfect holiday gift! Visit the Little Charmers website to make this holiday season magical!
I would love to know what you do to create that friendship relationship with your kids.
I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.