“You don’t strike me as someone who yells.”
A friend and I were talking recently about her battle to keep from becoming easily frustrated by her children’s behaviour. She was upset that so many of their interactions seemed to escalate into a battleground with raised voices all around. Her comment surprised me but to a degree it is true. I don’t really yell very much but I do have what Dad 101 calls my ‘teacher’ voice, which to be honest isn’t any better. It is louder, firmer and clearly says ‘enough is enough, we are not
talking about this anymore.’ And when Immy doesn’t want to hear it, the response is pretty much the same as if I had been yelling.
I think we all have days when it feels like you are being sucked into a spiral of negativity. You are tired, the kids are whingey, the baby is unsettled, and in our house, even the cat seems cranky! Those days that make you feel like you are not effectively meeting anybody’s needs. It is on those days that I most often find my tone becoming sterner and my responses curter as my frustration levels rise and my temper frays.
These moments are real moments for your family. And if they are happening more often than you would like them to then I believe there are ways to improve the mood and to re-frame the negative, frustrated tone that you can hear not only in your own voice but also clearly echoed in the voices (and actions) of your children.
To change the tone of your day, it might just be time to down tools (after all, is the laundry really going anywhere) and hit the re-set button, and here are five simple ways to do just that…
Play chasey or hide and seek. Kick a ball or hunt for bugs. Or just lie back on the grass and look for animals hiding in the clouds. The fresh air will do you all good and a bit of physical activity will hopefully refresh you as well. And when you really don’t feel like it, is probably when you need it most.
Just Add Water
Whether it be a warm bubble bath, a run under the sprinklers or a paddle at the beach, I find adding water has the capacity to relieve stress and re-centre everyone, plus it’s fun.
Make a Childhood Memory
Try seizing the moment with a spontaneous excursion – visit a new-to-you park or playground, a walk to the shop to buy an ice cream or to share a milkshake. Enjoy a picnic breakfast, lunch or dinner.
If your disconnect is due to extreme busyness try slowing down to get back on track. Switch off all electronic devices and read a book together, complete a jigsaw puzzle, play a board game or put on a puppet show.
Bring Them in Close
A tickle, a bear hug, a back massage. Or make it a game by taking turns to draw on each other’s backs. Or snuggle up on the couch with some popcorn and a favourite movie when you really need time to refresh and re-boot.
We are all in different seasons when it comes to our parenting journey but we all have days when the trail feels steep and the mountaintop a long way off in the distance. Taking a step off the path won’t put you off course for long, and you might just find that you head back into the wilderness with renewed energy and a bit of perspective, hopefully having changed the tone of your day for the whole family.
What is your favourite re-set button?
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