As children experience sleep as a separation, having a big dose of connection before bed, or after sleep can really help them feel well-connected to us (and then less likely to tell us about disconnected feelings through challenging behaviour!).
This game is one I first wrote about in my 20 Playful ways To Heal Separation Anxiety. It’s called the checklist game, and it was thought up by Chiara Rossetti, an Aware Parenting instructor. I found out about it through Marion Rose’s attachment play course.
So when your child wakes up and comes out of their room, give them a cuddle, tell them that you need to check all their body parts are there. Check all their toes, and fingers, and eyes, ears etc. If one part is cuddled against you, then talk about how you think it might be lost and you need to look for it.
This is a great way to have some warm connection, to gaze into your child’s eyes, to have lots of smiles, and maybe a few giggles. It is the perfect way to get rid of the morning grumps and start your day off right.
Disclaimer (thanks Rachel for pointing this out!) – This game works best with children who are old enough to know that their body parts are meant to stay on, not those who might be fearful or worried by it! (my daughter is 4).