Feel like your patience is in short supply these days? You’re definitely not alone. Between trying to work from home while helping kids with distance learning and everything else we do, we’re stressed. And those breaks we used to get? They’re practically nonexistent, which makes dealing with our kids’ endless needs, nonstop messes and epic meltdowns even tougher. So how do we stay calm when our kids are driving us crazy? These tips from a psychologist, a family therapist, a parenting coach and a teacher can help.
- Ignore the behavior- An easy technique for staying calm and improving behavior is just ignoring anything annoying the kids do, then showering them with attention when they stop.
- Change the dynamic- Kids are probably stressed and anxious, too, so try doing something together that pulls you both out of the stressful situation, like playing a board game, taking a walk outside or drawing together for 20 minutes.
- Get grounded- First identify what you’re feeling, then sit on the floor and count backwards from 50 by 3s or take a few deep breaths until you feel more in control.
- Shake it off- To counteract your body’s stress response of raised blood pressure and tense muscles, try shaking your hands, arms and legs. Animals do it to cope with stress, so it’s worth a shot.
- Go upside down- Turn the situation around by literally being upside down, which helps calm the nervous system, increase blood flow to the brain and gives you a new perspective. Go for simple yoga poses like Downward Dog, and to boost the calming benefits, take five to 10 deep breaths while you’re there.
- Find the humor- If your kid refuses to change out of their PJs or spills their bowl of ice cream on the floor, instead of losing it, try to laugh it off. Laughter can reduce stress and that’s the goal.
- Eat magnesium-rich foods- This vital mineral is depleted during stressful times, which is when we need it most. Dark green leafy greens, nuts, avocado and even dark chocolate are good sources to load up on.
- Make it right- We’re human and we’re going to lose our cool at some point, but the important thing is to apologize to your kid when it happens so you can both move on.