Well, here we are but a few weeks into the Sepember routine and some stressors are starting to creep back into our lives. Here are some common daily scenerios that get our stress juices flowing:
- getting everyone packed up with snacks, lunches and having had a healthy breakfast
- getting out the door on time
- surviving the everyday ups and downs of school, daycare, playgroup, or work
- finding time and energy for a healthy and sometimes yummy evening meal
- running off to extracurriculars and ensuring everyone gets to bed on time for a good might sleep.
That list doesn't include the extras like remembering to hem my 12 year olds' men's size medium pants, picking up groceries, laundry, spending time with my aging mother, fall house maintenance, etc, etc.You get the picture. Summer holidays seem a long way off......
Children definitely react to this increased pace and you may see evidence of this in the hidden messages of their misbehavior. Whining, aggression, attitude, tears, clingyness, sore tummies, headaches, temper tantrums are all signs that life is not in balance for your child. In Kim Payne's book, "Simplicity Parenting"' he equates these difficult behaviours to having a " soul fever". Kids have turmoil in their life or problems they need to work out and they display these issues with their behaviour. Kim Payne suggests as with having a fever from a childhood illness, with a soul fever, we need to pull back, simplify and slow things down so we can restore balance. I like to think about the stress buffers I can try to provide for my child everyday....
- helping him stay organized for the morning ( ensuring he has his backpack ready for school
- making time for a sit down breakfast and some connection time to talk
- packing a healthy lunch, snack and water to keep him hydrated through out the day
- being present emotionally (whenever possible) when he wants to talk after school or needs support to finish homework
- trying to have a sit down family supper with some shared stories and laughs
- support for his sporty passions
- a fun family shared activity when time permits
- a cuddle and maybe some side by side reading at bed time
By the way, we as parents need stress buffers too... A chat with a good friend on the phone, a walk, a run or bike ride, a cup of tea and a chapter of your latest book interest, even a fleeting glance at the newest magazines while you wait in line to pay for groceries. All these little moments of peace add up to a more resilient, happier person and family.
So when you are trying to slow things down and connect with your loved ones, help them remember the slow pace of summer and the sand castles you built together or the picnic you had at a łake. Describe how you felt using all your senses to bring you all back to those peaceful, slow, happy feelings and push back those stressors. You can be a treasure box of happy memories for your child giving them the gift of being able to change their thoughts when things are hard or rough or scary. Heck, if you are feeling creative make a scrapbook together of some favorite memories. Enjoy the rest of September.....Joanne