My six year old just started kindergarten. It’s pretty safe to say it’s kicking our butts. She’s a great kid, she’s getting along with classmates, she’s above level in everything, and she comes home with green faces. Here’s the butt kicking part … come 4:30, it’s like she’s lost her mind. The crying, the whining, and the words out of her mouth make me want to banish her to her room from now until eternity. My precious angel of a child turns into a possessed demon, and we are still trying to figure out how to fix our problem. No rest time or nap is rough on my sweet girl so we moved bedtime up a whole hour. My kids now go to bed between 7:15-7:30 (#winnning). This helped my daughter tremendously. Her attitude after school is far better than it was at the beginning of the school year.
However, we (my husband and I) also noticed it was more than just being “kindergarten tired.” Sweet baby girl would also talk about how terrible her day was. To be clear, I am a teacher at her school. Her teacher is phenomenal, her class is sweet and precious, and all her auxiliary teachers find me to tell me how much fun she has in their classes. Our school is truly a great place to be. I know this. I’m here everyday! When we began questioning her about her day, we discovered she was focusing on a terrible 10 minutes of her day, and the rest of her day was great.
Me: How was your day?
Sweet baby girl: My day was terrible. I didn’t see you at all today!
Me: So, let me get this straight. You had a blast at PE, math was fun, reading was great, and you went to science lab today, but your day was terrible because I didn’t see you to give you a quick hug in the hall?
Sweet baby girl: Yes m’am. It was awful. (Insert tears here)
Changing Our Mindsets
My husband and I quickly started thinking of ways we could adjust her mindset and help her focus on the positive parts of the day. I began telling her to focus on the positive. Instead of asking her how her day was, I started asking her to tell me all the great parts of her day. Then, I asked her what all the bad parts of her day was.Finally, we would talk about how many more good parts there were than bad.
We also coined a phrase in our house that we had not used much before. We started telling my girl she had to make a choice to be thankful. Yes, I think being thankful is a choice. There is always something to be thankful for, you have to make a choice to see it. I can complain about how tired I am to be a working mom, or I can make a choice to be thankful that I have two precious daughters and a job that I LOVE! I can whine about the dirty dishes in my kitchen, or I can be thankful we had enough income to cook and feed our family a healthy meal.
Practice What You Preach
My husband and I started making a choice to be thankful. We began to see our kids doing the same thing. It’s not always perfect, but her attitude, crying, and whining has gotten tremendously better since making a choice to be thankful. My attitude, whining, and complaining has gotten better too. I learned I have to “practice what I preach” and make a choice to be thankful too. It’s all about my way of thinking. When I shift my thinking, I also shift my family’s way of thinking. Let’s work together to make a choice to be thankful!