The other alternative is to banish the "grumpies." This is easy to say, difficult to do. One method that almost always make the sun shine again is to sing. It really doesn't matter what you sing, but generally speaking, the more animated it is, the faster the results. I am amazed how quickly a scowl or tears disappear when I start to sing. I am not a talented singer, but my children don't know that yet. They love it! The best part is that when you start to sing, your emotions generally follow your actions, and before long, your heart is happy too. Win-win!
Having worked on a church bus for many years, my repertoire of children's songs is nearly endless, but if you struggle to remember simple choruses or would like some help, check out these videos of many Sunday School favorites and here's the lyrics to a few more.
There's no special rules when it comes to singing, but here's a few things that I try to follow:
- Be silly. Nothing makes my girls react with giggles of delight more than to see their mama touch her "head and shoulders, knees and toes, knees and toes, knees and toes." Joy hidden deep in your heart isn't visible to your little one unless you act it out.
- Be infectious. Children love to imitate what they love. Smile, sing, do motions... encourage them to join you. If your little one insists in indulging in their pity party, engage another child. If Grace is insistent upon crying, I pick up Leah and dance and sing around the room with her, acting totally unconcerned and uninterested in Grace's act. Pretty soon Grace abandons her efforts and clamors at my legs, trying to climb up too.
- Be real. It's very hard to sing, "I've Got the Joy, Joy, Joy down in my Heart..." if you're not right with a child, spouse, or someone else. Clear the air. Your child is a person, and you need to be right with them. When we as parents act selfishly or uncaringly, children see it. Humbling as it may seem, I have had to apologize to my 2 year old, and she always responds with a big hug.