1 // Practice the Difficult Situations
Make a list of aggravating or exhausting times with the kids – not to complain but for this purpose: you can then work with them on role playing those situations! For example, I did that with Sophie regarding not talking to me when I need to have a phone conversation. Other ideas: how to act in a grocery store, how to “freeze your feet,” how to even put something back on the shelf at the store, how to cross the street together, how to stand by the car safely as you’re buckling in more than one child or as you’re unloading items…
2 // How to Be Intentional About Your Fun Outings
Know which parks/outings work for different times of the day! (Or days of the week, if you learn that a place is closed on a certain day of the week.) You can keep a list on the inside of a kitchen cupboard! (You can even note which parks are shady or in full sun at different times of the day, or maybe your favorite family donut shop or the local zoo is closed only on Thursdays…)
Keep a list of fun outing ideas! either on your phone or taped to the inside of a cupboard. You do not need to pick one from this list every single day or every week, of course, but it’s a great way to mix things up – and a way to not forget, for example, that you always wanted to check out that local sunflower field at this time of year!
3 // Use This 4-Sided Breathing Strategy
I call this the 4-Sided Breathing Strategy. Basically, you need to imagine that your rib cage has 4 sides to it, like a rectangle or a box that is standing up: the front of your torso, the back of your torso, and the left and right sides of your torso. When you breathe in (slowly), visualize yourself expanding ALL 4 sides of that box. (We often think deep breaths just involve sending our stomach out, but this strategy encourages you to expand all 4 sides outward.) Then, as you exhale, consciously relax and draw your shoulders down. This helps you settle your shoulders and improve your posture so that you’re not holding a stressed-out posture all day!
I love this strategy so much. It’s super simple, but it’s something that’s totally doable, even when you’re doing the dishes or driving somewhere! I’ve found that focusing on better posture and breathing throughout the day helps me lessen any feelings of anxiety. Try it and let me know what you think of this breathing technique! Have you heard of this one before?
**Sorry about the issues with the camera’s focus in this video!!
4 // Morning Lists + Evening Lists For Kids (2 Printables!)
We used very similar Morning and Evening Lists when I was growing up, and I love how effective they can be in guiding those daily routines with our littles!
Morning and Evening List Printables:
5 // The “Change of Scenery” Strategy
Try this “Change of Scenery” strategy! If your children seem off behaviorally or emotionally, or if you sense they’re acting out but it’s hard to figure out why… It may be time for a change of scenery!
I heard a parent share a phrase once that went: “Have you tried taking them outside or putting them in water?” This advice sounds like it’s for plants but I’ve found it actually works well with children! Those two options run through my mind when I’m sensing that the kids need to do something different – and then I get us all outdoors to play, or I determine it’s time for a bath! Something about outdoor play and water play is such a great reset button for littles.
And even if a bath isn’t that perfect magic solution for your children, or even if you can’t really get outside at that moment, then change your scenery even slightly! For example, there was a day when we were at our apartment and my children were just getting into things they shouldn’t in the living room (and we were all getting grumpier by the second), so I decided “We’re all going upstairs!” I implemented a mandatory change of scenery and marched us all upstairs to the master bedroom, where the sunlight was pouring in. Sophie and Soren instantly sat down happily with a stack of board books for a long time – and I got to fold and put away laundry! (An added bonus: an important task got done that would’ve contributed to my stress levels anyway)! I highly recommend that “outdoors or in water” tactic – but if those options aren’t feasible at the moment, even a slight change of scenery can be incredibly helpful for everyone involved!
6 // Building a Cathedral
“Teaching From Rest” is such an inspiring (and practical) book! The author has wonderful reminders for us as mothers! I hope this cathedral example is encouraging and motivating to you.
Here’s a link to the book: