As i mentioned in my previous post , both my daughters are going through a period of what Kim John Payne refers to as ‘Soul Fever‘ in his wonderful book Simplicity Parenting. In the chapter on Soul Fever, Payne states:
“Physically and emotionally, they need to be brought close. Sometimes a child who is ‘off their game’ does not need pampering so much as a quiet assurance of our presence and availability. When we change the routine and quiet things down, we are placing an unspoken emphasis on relationship, connection”
Ordinarily my girls are very good friends and kind and caring with each other, but in the last month or so, they have spent more and more time bickering and/or crying; in the morning; after school; before bed… basically a lot of the time!
Especially after school, my eldest is just not in the right state to play well with her sister. They used to come home and go off and play while I started preparing the evening meal and doing other jobs, but lately it has dawned on me that what they need is some quiet time to reconnect in a peaceful way after school; with me and with each other and so I have now established a new little rhythm in our life as of last week.
After school, we gather together in the lounge, light a candle and to do a very short meditation ( that really is all they can manage!). They hold their little crystal angels and focus on what they would like help with and then I ask them to pick an angel card. I have my own pack and it is uncanny what cards come up! They love this gesture. It means a lot to them to think that the angels are everywhere and looking after them.
After, we have a simple shared snack ( fruit or herbal tea with mixed nuts and fruit / flapjacks / oatcakes, cheese and apple/ rice cakes with nut butter or homemade biscuits ) and we do a short activity together – generally lasting about half an hour.
Today we went on a short nature walk to our local park and read two chapters of our new favourite thing: Herb Fairies and hunted – in vain…but we will keep looking! – for this months herb; chickweed. It was such a pleasure to spend this time reconnecting after a long day apart and I think it means a lot to the girls to have this new after- school routine. They were much happier to go off and play afterwards.
Other days we will do some colouring in, drawing, painting, playing a board game, a little gardening and some cosy reading. All of this we will do together. I think it is important for a child to see their parent being playful too.
I am thinking of having a day of the week for each activity and also maybe a certain snack on the same day every week as I have done in the past and would reflect a Kindergarten rhythm. I have done this periodically over the years and the girls love knowing what to expect each day.
I also endeavour to spend regular one-to-one time with both girls. With my youngest, this happens naturally as she comes home earlier from Kindergarten and we also have a weekly date at our Garden Centre cafe when her sister goes horse riding. It is a bit trickier with the older one, but when I see she is struggling, I make sure we get a date in the diary as soon as possible on the weekend. At the moment we are having quite a few outings together as we are knitting a teddy bear together for her sister’s birthday, which is a lovely way to spend time together. While she knits, I read her Tales from the 1001 nights We have found a wonderful outdoor tea room where we go for our cosy times and a cup of tea and a slice of cake of course!
Tomorrow we are going to sow some seeds in their little vegetable garden.
I think there is nothing more important than simplifying and slowing things down at difficult times and reconnecting with your loved ones.