How To Be Nicer To Your Children

Yes, I yell at my children. They scream, their behaviour’s abominable and some days I’m truly mortified to be near them.

But when I look back at those moments I realise that sometimes I start it…….

Over the years and directly related to the number of kids I’ve had, I feel less and less like I have time for anything.

There is no time in the morning. There is no time to do what I want to do. There is no time for anything!! No time!

When you take time and treat it as the enemy then everyone in the household gears up for battle.

From the moment we rise until we put our heads on the pillow – we start the daily race to beat the clock, as if time itself is evil.

There are lunches to be made, bodies to dress, teeth to brush, food to eat and all before some ungodly hour.

I tighten up, the pit of my stomach knots and I start the miserable tasks of putting together our day.  Children are playing, whining, fighting and I’m resentful.

Why can’t I do what I want to do in the morning?

Where’s my meditation practice? A few peaceful yoga moves? A walk on the beach? A quiet moment to sip my first and most needed coffee of the day? The serenity and peace I desire?

I am teaching my children that the implementation of these daily tasks is something to become stressed about.

Hurry up. Be quiet. Eat faster. Get dressed! Why don’t you have shoes on? Have you done your homework?

Because time is not going to let us get away with it.

The other day I realised that I was prioritising life administration and cleaning duties over things I loved like writing and yoga.

To feel fulfilled – to feel prosperous and abundant – I don’t need much. Ten minutes meditation, ten minutes yoga and ten minutes of writing mean that I am moving forward in my practices. I am more centred in my life and yet I throw them out the window the minute I feel like time is against me.

I read a book the other day, The Big Leap by Gay Anderson, that talked about Einstein time. He believed that we make our own time. We move our own days forward and if we believe that we have enough time then we will. By believing that we have a lack of time we prove ourselves right over and over again.

We get so stressed about getting out of the house that things take that much longer. We are so worked up we can’t find anything, the toast gets burnt and we have to start all over and we can never find anyone’s shoes or water bottle.

We teach our children to stress out, yell and we are constantly hurrying them up. They react. We react back and it’s not good. For anyone.

Ariana Huffington talks about time in her poignant memoir, Thrive, when she discusses her relationship with time, calling it a “time famine”.

“And when we’re living a life of perpetual time-famine, we rob ourselves of our ability to experience another key element….wonder, our sense of delight in the mysteries of the universe, as well as the everyday occurrences and small miracles that fill our lives.”

Sound familiar? It’s really hard to be in the moment – when in your head you are already behind at getting to the next thing.

 For the last few months I have worked on this theory.

I have found that there are many hours in the day and I have been able to complete the tasks that I have previously believed I didn’t have time for. I have been reminding the kids (gently) of their jobs to do and as they complete them giving them more. They have to get dressed, feed the dogs, eat their breakfast, brush their teeth, wash their faces and brush their hair. They also have to tidy any mess they leave behind them and we are ready to go.

But the important thing is (the one that makes me feel warm and fuzzy) that I am nicer to the kids and in turn they are nicer to me. I don’t forget their afternoon snacks before sport so they don’t get “hangry”, dinner is sorted, we have food in the house for breaky and with an ingenious ban on ipads there is less vicious fighting amongst the siblings. The fight over blocks they had this morning just seems to be more “kid-like” to me than the constant whining about the ipad not being charged, or a game not being downloaded on this one.

To look at time differently you must change your perception first. You must truly believe you have the time. Understand that there is plenty of time to do it all.  You must give your children instruction and some independence. Let them know what’s expected of them instead of telling them in the last ten minutes after they have happily played all morning to get a move on.

Everything gets done and sometimes slowing down means that the turtle really does win the race.



  1. Just want I needed to read right now…the ironic thing is I can’t remember the last time I had “time” to sit down with a cuppa and read some of my favourite blogs. Thanks for sharing this 🙂

  2. So true…. we create our own time, and then we dress it up in stressful moments or beautiful moments. Congratulations on creating your beautiful moments. Much love to the kids.

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