It happened, again. Your beloved little angel just spilled something, broke something, hit someone, or screamed at someone for the 50 millionth time today. You find yourself fighting not to yell and struggling to stay in control of the situation.
Parenting comes with some wonderful moments: first steps, first words, hugs, snuggles, and kind words. It also comes with stressful situations that test our patience. Kids have to learn self-control gradually, and their antics often result in a tense home life.
Before you lose your cool, remember that children often mimic their parent's emotional tone. You can stop the household craziness in its tracks if you take some time to settle down and regain focus. Use one of these 25 tips the next time your kids have you stressed out and ready to explode.
- Put yourself in a short timeout; away from the kids.
- Count backwards from 100 by sevens (or eights or twelves). Doing monotonous math in your head will distract your thoughts enough to let you calm down.
- Laugh out loud, even if you don't feel like it.
- Take 5 cleansing breaths. Draw air deep into your gut and exhale completely.
- Think of three things you love about each of your kids.
- Tell a joke. Sometimes, a silly knock-knock joke is enough to ease the tension.
- Lower your expectations. Ignore the messy house and sticky kids for a while.
- Look at baby albums. Reminisce on a time when your kids couldn't talk, walk, or make messes.
- Drink a glass of water and eat a small snack. It's hard to stay calm when you're starving.
- If sibling fighting is wearing you out, send the kids to opposite corners of the house.
- Turn up the radio and dance it out.
- Stick the kids with a responsible adult and get outside. Take a run or a brisk walk to clear your mind and release feel-good endorphins.
- Call a friend. Sometimes you need to vent.
- Reconnect with your spiritual side. Pray, immerse yourself in scripture, or meditate.
- If you can, take a nap with the kids.
- Sing a silly song. Let your kids help you make up the words.
- Close your eyes and visualize your happy place for a few minutes. Take a mini vacation in your mind.
- Write in a journal. Put your emotions on paper to get a better perspective.
- Grab a good book and let your mind wander.
- Indulge in your hobby. If you like to craft, sew, cook, or exercise, carve out some time for yourself.
- Dream about your future family. Look for the potential in your children and imagine where you want to go as a family.
- Clean. Sometimes you can't get away to exercise, but you can work up a good sweat cleaning around the house.
- Get a change of scenery. Leave the house, leave the store or leave the park. Step away from the stressful situation.
- Wrap your kids up in a big hug before doling out discipline.
- Turn to the pets. If the kids are driving you nuts, you may find comfort in your four-legged friends.
You have it in you to stay calm. Even when you feel like you're losing your mind, you can turn it around and get everyone to a better place, mentally and emotionally. It may take some practice, but you don't have to resort to yelling when things get crazy.
Taking a few seconds to regain composure will leave you and your family feeling ready to tackle the next challenge.
Heather Hale is a fourth-generation Montanan, mom to two crazy boys, and wife to one amazing husband. You can learn more about her eco-conscious lifestyle at moderatelycrunchy.com.