Children do better when they feel better, and so do you. Hugs help us feel better.
This week I came across a sweet social story about a giraffe baby and mama over at Mama Psalmist. She introduces it this way:
This is a story I've been telling Adelaide at bedtime. I'm hoping that if I tell myself stories about a patient, calm mother who handles an unruly young one with grace, I might start to be just like that mama.I read this story to C and it was an instant hit!
"Read it again!" C asked over and over. Soon I had the basics of the story memorized and was able to tell it to her a few different times throughout the day without reading the blog.
And, it had the effect Mama Psalmist intended in encouraging me to be a more patient, calm mother.
At bedtime last night, C had a hard time. She wanted Daddy to brush her teeth, she wanted Daddy to put on her pajamas, and circumstances did not allow Daddy to do it. I calmly empathized with her while I continued moving her through the routine:
"You wanted Daddy to do it, and Mama is doing it. I can see you are upset about that."
Her teeth were brushed, and her pajama top was on, but now she was so upset that her limbs were flailing and it would be difficult to get her diaper or pajama bottoms on without using excessive physical force.
I saw that I would need to help her calm down. Then I remembered the story about Gertie the giraffe.
"Would you like mama to hold you until you feel better?" I offered.
She snuggled up on my lap, still crying.
Soon she had calmed down quite a bit. She asked if she could wait until later to put her diaper on. I decided this was reasonable. We lay down and snuggled and she quickly fell asleep. Before I left the room, I put her diaper and pajama bottoms on.
I think the bedtime routine could have been even more peaceful if I had remembered to offer to sit with her and help her calm down even earlier, when I first saw that she was getting upset and losing control of her emotions.