Always. Kids seem to need to talk and cuddle the most when you are just trying to get something simple accomplished. When you’re trying to get them dressed, get them out the door, or into and out of the car, they seem to think it’s family time. If they aren’t directly asking for a hug, they’re asking for the attentions that require the most effort. They melt down when your limited time clashes with their emotions of the moment. Trying to get them to eat or get ready for bed feels like paddling upstream (up-river, at times) when they chatter for eons and beg for little nothings. Why do these little people have to be so difficult?!
I think they are designed for it.
“Hear, O Yisra’ĕl: יהוה our Elohim, יהוה is one! “And you shall love יהוה your Elohim with all your heart, and with all your being, and with all your might. “And these Words which I am commanding you today shall be in your heart, and you shall impress them upon your children, and shall speak of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise up,”
Deḇarim (Deuteronomy) 6:4-7
Though selfishness might need discipline according to their age in these moments, children are designed to draw closer to you at these times. When you’re waking, going to sleep, coming and going, or sitting to eat, I believe these are the perfect times to instruct our children in the ways of our Creator. It’s actually a blessing, when you think about it.
I haven’t mastered the practical applications as of yet. So far, I am making a point to remember these words when I feel rushed, and making time to communicate at these junctures. If this is the time I am supposed to teach my children about our Heavenly Father, do I have the proper attitude to facilitate that responsibility? I wonder if the children are seeing the Fruits of the Spirit in me, or just another grumpy whiner. Am I behaving as a leader, or as a fellow tantrum thrower? This frame of mind can cool my temper in a hurry. Currently, I am making habits to communicate love first thing in the morning and at bedtime. I pray blessings over each child, give a hug and greeting just for them, and ask questions.
One night, the toddler couldn’t get to sleep. Frustrating as it was at first, I took a moment to hold her and wondered how to tell her about the One Who loves her most and never leaves her alone. A star glittered outside her window, so I showed it to her and told her about the One who put it there. She may be too young to grasp my meaning, but she calmed down in response to my attitude as I spoke of something reverent, loving, and secure. Kids pick up on our words faster than we can realize, so I think it will be good to practice conversations like this beforehand.
So that is my thought. Why do kids demand attention at these times? It’s by design, and for good reason. So let’s take advantage of this stage while we can, Dear Mama.
This post is one in a series titled, “Dear Mama.”