I picked Evie up from school today for the first time since before Christmas; based on how our shared timetable works, I hadn’t seen her since last Friday.
Although she seemed happy in and of herself and we had a little trip to buy some sweets, made a den in the living room and sat together and ate dinner, something just seemed a little off with her.
When I said it was time to get her pyjamas on, Evie folded her arms, frowned at me and burst into tears. She seemed so uncharacteristically cross and upset over something so trivial.
Of course it’s frustrating when your child is crying or having a tantrum, but fighting fire with fire just makes more flames.
I’ve mentioned this book before, but ever since I read ‘How to Talk so Kids Will Listen and Listen so Kids Will Talk’ by Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish, my whole approach has changed.
Something I try to do a lot more now is just…listen.
Once Evie was ready to talk, I acknowledged how she was feeling and let her tell me more as and when she was ready.
The issue wasn’t PJs at all.
Evie felt sad this evening because shes didn’t want to go back to school – Not because she doesn’t like learning, but because she missed being at home after three months. She felt sad because she had been ‘waiting such a long time’ to see her Daddy and didn’t want to have to go back to school tomorrow morning.
Hearing a four year old open up about their feelings is incredibly disarming, not least because it’s easy to ASSUME they’re just playing up because ‘they’re tired’ or ‘grumpy’ (I’m sure it had a part to play, but it wasn’t the root cause).
The big lesson I’ll take away from this evening is that we never give our children enough credit. If I let myself try to do Evie’s thinking for her and dismiss her strop as nothing more than ‘bad behaviour’, I wouldn’t have had that powerful insight into her little mind.
After some lovely cuddles and a little heart-to-heart about how it’s perfectly normal to feel like that, she cheered up and we had a went to bed a happy lady.
It’s those little moments that mean the most.