I love being around kids. I feel alive in their company. But, some days are HARD. Some days, exhaustion can consume and overwhelm. Some days, multiple things demand your attention. Some days, everything is going really well and then…
I am fortunate that I spent so many years working with and being around children. The range of experience has helped me form habits that make the most stressful parenting moments more manageable. These habits are not a magic solution, but they do make life easier (and more fun).
1. Hold on to happy
Awesome days happen. Soak in them. Drink them up. Record them in whatever way you prefer (photos, journals, videos, etc…). Have those records on hand for the days that aren’t awesome. They cheer you up AND they cheer your children up!
2. Accept Chaos
Chaos and destruction are guaranteed. Mistakes happen. Emotions explode. Problems pile up. Sometimes, we have to let things go and just roll with it. If you can, ask for help. If not, take a few moments for yourself. Breathe. Then, forget everything else and be fully present with your child. Know that this too shall pass.
3. Slow down
The easiest way to encourage kids to hurry up, is to slow down. It may sound counter-intuitive, but as much as children like to do things “fast,” they struggle with hurrying. The stress causes them to shut down, become distracted, or even meltdown completely. Slowing down your speech and your movements helps calm both you and the child.
Trust your kids, they will communicate their needs (and wants). They may not communicate calmly or efficiently, but they will let you know when they need something.
Trust yourself. You know your kids. Take some time to understand what is needed then find a kind way to deal with the request calmly and kindly, especially when saying, “No.”
5. Be kind
Approach everything with kindness (you can still be firm, confident, and consistent). Kindness is not passiveness; it simply sets the tone, determines boundaries, and encourages empathy. Kindness simplifies every decision. In difficult situations, choose the kindest option (this is not always the easiest one); everything else will fall into place.
Oh, and don’t forget, be kind to yourself.
6. Forgive, learn, and start again
Bad days. Mistakes. Emotional breakdowns. Anxiety. Stress. Poor choices. All human. So, forgive yourself. Forgive your kids. If you need to apologise, do so. Then, figure out what you can do better next time. Mistakes are simply opportunities to learn and be better.
7. Treat yourself
Whatever your budget, whatever your circumstances, whatever your history, you are worthy of happiness. In the midst of a storm, it is good to know there is a little piece of joy that is just for you. I choose chocolate and always have a secret supply for emergencies. Most of the time, it’s enough to know it is there.
This is perhaps the simplest and most effective strategy of all. A private smile works, but if you can share a smile with your little ones nothing else matters. This is a great time to remind yourself, just how awesome you are.
There are probably a thousand more habits and strategies out there. What do you do to get through the tough days or moments? I love hearing new ideas or inspiration from others. Feel free to post your thoughts in the comments.
Stay kind and keep buzzin’.