I watched 3 little children in a store yesterday as they chipped away at their mother’s sense of calmness. One child asked her questions, another one spoke loudly over the other two, and the third must have been over tired as she whined and kept hitting the other two children in the shopping cart. Mom finally succumbed to the stress and snapped at them to STOP THE NOISE. It did nothing to quell the chaos.
I remember the moments of stress while raising my own 3 children. The noise and the chatter would sometimes get to me easily. I had to learn how to calm myself so that I did not take out my stress on the three little kids who just wanted to be heard and who felt like they were fighting for my attention in competition with their siblings.
On a recent episode of my television show Creating Cooperative Kids, I interviewed a parent time and stress management coach who offered tips for parents. Virginia Ann Griffiths (we-leap.com) said the number one thing that parents can do anywhere to calm down is to breathe intentionally. What she meant by this is to breathe deeply to get oxygen to our brain so we will have the power to remain calm in moments of chaos. Here are more tips for parents for distressing.
Intentional Breathing. Close your eyes for just a moment and slowly pull in a series of deep breaths through your nose. Feel the air going into your lungs and imagine that you can see the air filling your lungs. Hold it just of a second and then breathe out through your mouth. Just a couple of deep breaths can help you calm down and think clearly before reacting.
Quiet Toys. Keep small quiet toys in your purse to give to the kids when they begin to act up. They are likely to create temporary distractions that will give you a few moments of silence to calm yourself. Although many parents hand their child their cell phone or a tablet, avoid this solution. Small media devices are not healthy alternatives for small children.
Engage Them in Your Shopping. If you’re out shopping with your children, create a list of items that you’re looking for and get them to help you locate them. Be sure to set up rules in advance before entering the store (such as remaining in the shopping cart and what you are not willing to buy) and get them involved in the adventure. For younger children, cut out and provide for them, pictures of items to find as a way of helping.
Take Care of Yourself. Make it a priority to take time out for you whenever you can. Make use of family members and friends who can take the kids for short periods of time so you can have time to yourself. Other matters that seem to be urgent can take over the little time you have away from the kids, but don’t let it. Schedule in time to take care of yourself physically, spiritually, socially and emotionally.