Dear Principal Lisa,
It’s only the second week of our holiday and things feel overwhelming already. I am trying to stay calm and spend time with the children as I have some booked leave. We are traveling and it feels chaotic and the children are fighting and things feel out of control and I am already tearful and shouting …
Mona , Mum to two boys aged 3 and 5 years.
Dear Mumma Mona,
I hear you; you are not alone. I have already started to receive letters from other Mumma’s out there feeling the exact same. Helen Farmer and I were talking about this in June on her radio show for families. It’s a hot topic.
Let’s face it routines may have gone out of the window; the children are running feral and all threats of no ice cream today have totally worn off. It’s the routines of normal life that hold things together sometimes and without school as the focal point, it gets tricky.
I hear you when you say you want to spend time with the boys and build more of a connection as you are a working mum, but we also need to be mindful of your needs here I feel. I have created a set of tips called Magic 20 visit www.thepottyqueen.me for more on this or send me an email firstname.lastname@example.org. Sometimes it’s the way we frame quality time with children that has the best effect.
I think some routines need to be held in place over the summer, all humans appreciate predictability and rhythm. Maybe you can create some that work with the family travel plans? Small routines may be all that’s needed.
I understand you want to reduce sibling fights peacefully. With young children I feel the goal is to help them develop resolutions skills for themselves that they can use time and time again.
The goal is helping children to find solutions and learn to problem solve in conflict rather than you acting as referee which gets exhausting doesn’t it?
How to do that: Disclaimer…this does take practice, but its worth it and these skills pay off long term.
Simple: instead of jumping in to fix sibling fights you give them space to find a solution. You avoid a big reaction. You let them know you are here, that your will give them a few moments but you remove the “audience”
That’s you, you are the audience being played to sometimes. Give them a few moments. You might be surprised 😮
Some sibling fights are a means to gain preference, attention, seek revenge on their sibling who just stole the best piece of Lego. Who can cry and shout Mum the loudest? It’s part of family life.
I like to use the skill of a peace table. I’ve used it in families and classrooms.
I have even created portable peace bags to help on the move.
If they can’t find a solution or work out who is going to have the toy
❤️Hear feelings “I can see this upsetting for you”
❤️ Let them know that the activity is going to stop for 5 minutes. Pressing pause. We are going to take a breather at the “peace table”.
🙏the peace table is anywhere without too many distractions. Maybe you have a nice plant there? Maybe some led candles? Maybe some fiddle toys?
🙏 Each person gets a chance to speak whilst holding an item to indicate they are the speaker. Turns are taken
🙏Listen carefully. “It sounds like you feel”
Keep this going. The first few times it’s a long process. They feel heard. They feel understood.
Problem solve solutions “ok so your idea is xxxx and your idea is xxxxxx”
The first few times are a novelty. They pick up skills. They learn resolution options.
The next time you offer the option of finding a solution, they will have an idea of how to go about that. It’s happened to me so many times that after a while they don’t need the peace table or portable bag of resources. They don’t want to lose valuable play time.
They work it out.
You get more peace 😀
With love as always
Lisa- Follow for daily support and encouragement @principal-Lisa