One of our favorite experts is Dr. Laura Markham.  Not surprisingly, she nails it once again with her latest post and practical suggestions for making transitions go more smoothly and bringing peace to the end of the day.  News flash:  it's all about connection, rest, and a bucket load of compassion.

Source:  Aha! Parenting

By:  Dr. Laura Markham

Every parent knows arsenic hour, when hunger, homework, and exhaustion merge into one big emotional accident waiting to happen. One obvious reason that kids have meltdowns at the end of the day is that they're hungry and tired, whether they've been home with you or out at school. But there's another reason. After having spent the day apart, your child feels disconnected from you. He may not show you that he wants to connect, or even know it, but feeling disconnected makes him feel anxious. Until he reconnects, he'll let you know how alone he feels by acting cranky and uncooperative.

There's another reason that kids who are at daycare or school all day lose it when they're reunited with you. It's hard work for little people to keep it together all day in the face of all those developmental challenges, disappointments and rules. All day, they store up big feelings they can't process, waiting to be safe with Mom or Dad to let those emotions fly. This is true even if they love daycare or school and beg you to pick them up later. It may be fun, but navigating all those people is still stressful.

So the minute they see you, their "executive self" relaxes, and their "baby self" comes out to seek comfort. If you don't know what's happening, this can totally ruin your evening. But if you're ready to be emotionally present for your child and can focus on connecting with them, you'll stave off some meltdowns and set a pleasant tone for the evening. It all starts with you. Here's how.

1. If you can manage it, change into your jeans before you leave the office.

I know, it sounds crazy. But the minute you do, you begin to relax. And make sure to use the bathroom before you leave the office! What if you've been home with little ones all day? Steal five minutes to wash your face, have a cup of tea, and do nothing. Really, nothing.

2. Then, before you pick up your kids, sit in the car for five minutes by yourself.

Put on some soothing music. Breathe deeply. Notice the sensations in your body. Acknowledge how you're feeling. Then, put your hand on your heart. Pretend your heart is doing the breathing, and imagine the breath going in and out through your heart (this has been proven to lower stress hormones.) Tell yourself what a good job you did all day. Think of one nice thing you can do for yourself this evening (A hot bubble bath? Call an old friend? Go to bed early?) and promise yourself that present tonight. Acknowledge that after the kids go to sleep is your time, while this next few hours is "kid time." Then, get in touch with how much you love your kids and how much you want a nice connection with them. Once you've filled your own cup, you'll find you have a lot more to offer your kids.

3. Give your kids lots of hugs and "pre-emptive" attention when you pick them up.

When your kids get in the car, what they need is to re-connect with you.   Click HERE to continue reading...

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