This is a post celebrating the power of the cuddle in terms of improving behaviour and relationships. I first wrote it over two years ago; updating it has served as a great reminder for me, especially as the boys now have to share their attention with their little sister.
It is so hard to find the time to cuddle up with a book / TV show and your little one(s) (especially if you want to wait until they’re bored and want to do something else before moving on) but it can be so worth it. I would advocate trying this when behaviour seems to be going downhill. Here is how it worked for me…
Saturday offered a pretty poor start to the weekend with moods and behaviour in our house. We wanted to take the boys out in the buggy to a big play area for a picnic; we were loading their little bikes up on it as well so they could cycle along a nice off-road path when we got nearer. They were really up for this trip out but could we move them along and do the sorting that needed doing first – sandwiches, Friday night’s dishes, basic hygiene, etc….(nope we couldn’t).
The whinging noise was awful and probably something that could only be achieved by two children under 4. (Please don’t correct me on this. I need to believe we are nearly out of the high octane whinging. Update – you’re not. 😂). What made it more upsetting was that they weren’t being kind to each other. Anyway we got out a lot later than planned but we did at least have a lovely day. But why the painful start?
Sunday morning came and things started to go the same way. Luckily something made me think of what I have read in the past* about how children very rarely get to end cuddles or chats as its the parents that normally go off to do jobs, etc. The suggestion being that they might not get the reassurance and feeling of safety that they’re after. Without thinking much more I picked numero uno up and told him that I thought he needed some cuddles and plonked us both down on the sofa.
I guess I was more relaxed into the weekend; basically I decided to sit there until he wanted to get on with his day (he is a very cuddly boy). So we sat and watched television together for about an hour and a half, then he got up to play. He seemed so refreshed, happy and content. And so much kinder to his younger brother.
Sometimes it feels like you haven’t got the time. And sometimes you simply haven’t. We did actually get out of the house about two hours earlier on the Sunday as it turned out; the boys were happy and we could sort ourselves out for the day without sorting out the commotion every two minutes. I guess I will never know the reason – sore throat, growth spurt, needing more sleep, anxiety about school – but it seems the cuddles helped all round.
*Divas and Dictators by Charlie Taylor; Siblings no Rivalry by Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish