Last week I shared some insights about how we react as we do.
This week I wanted to share some ways to approach this.
I want you to remember a few key things from last week – what are your needs, what are you doing each day to look after yourself, everything you feel is allowed and valid. Brene Brown did a brilliant podcast last week around feeling your feelings and I’d highly recommend this – you can find it here.
I also want to be clear I am not a specialist of children’s behaviour. I have parented my 4 boys and I’ve got some stuff very wrong and some stuff very right. But here’s my experience from my own insights and the many women I’ve worked without around this and a lot of this is coming from how we can manage ourselves rather than controlling our children (good luck with anyone who is trying to do that!).
Early morning routines
I want to start off by getting you to think about your day and your morning routine. I did for while consider things such as the miracle morning where you get up at 5am and do all your meditation, exercise etc… but then I had another baby and I realised when you’ve been up half the night these things are impossible with children when sleep for you is vital. However, I know that my morning routine has a huge impact on the rest of the day and I know you’ll know that too.
Journaling is the one thing we should all do more of. There’s loads of great planners out there. I loved the Daily Greatness one for ages. But I also know that a plain notebook and pen are just as good. I find some time journaling if I have time helps as does just 5 minutes of EFT and if I have a bit longer a meditation. I’ve been trying to spend 30 minutes reading a novel in the morning rather than sitting on my phone which has been immense and I noticed a big change when I started to do that (thanks lockdown!). I know if I’m up and dressed early I’m likely to have a better day than one where I don’t feel I have time and that I’m constantly catching up. Doing some morning yoga, exercise or stretching can help. Eating a nourishing breakfast so you’re chemically balanced. Drinking enough water.
If you plant the seeds right for the day, you are *less* likely to have a complete meltdown at your children. When we’re calm we have the ability to respond in a much better way.
Action: What are the things that nourish you? How can you make them happen each and every day?
Routine is everything
I don’t mean here a strict military structure… what I mean is a regular and predictable flow. Children and adults are happier when we have a rough structure because it provides safety as we understand what’s going on around us. I know it can feel boring but actually we all thrive better from a knowing there’s predictability in our day.
Action: Think about a structure that suits everyone
What I’ve noticed over the years with the kids is there’s a general pattern to behaviour that bothers me or when I’m likely to raise my voice. It’s when it seeps and seeps and I feel I can’t get control of the situation or when I’m not able to give it the attention it needs.
I find getting in early, noticing what’s coming up for me as well as them.
Sometimes stepping back and giving the situation your full attention – maybe thinking – what is it that they need from me right now? What’s going on for them? Why are they behaving like that? What can they gain from it?
Often their behaviour is about a goal – maybe it’s your attention? Maybe it’s your love or compassion? Maybe it’s boredom? Or a situation they need help to navigate?
I can often think, I don’t have time for this right now… but I’ve also realised if I don’t make the time for it, then it will take me longer in the long run.
It’s also important to get the basics right – have they eaten enough, are they hydrated, have they slept enough, do they know what’s happening (ie. why routine is essential) etc.
Action: What is the goal of their behaviour? Why are they behaving like this? Have they got all their basic needs met?
Learn to breathe
Breathing well is one of the ways to stimulate your vagal nerve which helps us to feel regulate. Here’s some good breathing….
- Square breathing – breathe in for 4, pause for 4, breathe out for 4, pause for 4
- Slow breathing out – breathe in through the nose for 4, breathe out slowly through nose or mouth for a count of 6/7 or 8 (I prefer the nose)
- Sighing – big deep breath in for 4 into the belly, hold for 4 and then a big sigh out through the mouth
- 3 part breathing – breathe into the base of your belly, then lungs, then upper chest then breathe out slowly from upper chest, lungs and tummy fully
All of these are conscious ways you can quickly regain your composure and something to build into your everyday life.
Action: Learn and practice these simple breathing tools
Chart your cycle
I know I am ruled by my hormones. I’d say for much of my cycle I’m fairly laid back and easy going. Catch me when I’m ovulating or just about to get my period… I can be a completely different person. I know I’m not alone and this is something shared with so many of my clients.
The first thing to think about is charting your cycle and working out when are your good days and your more challenging days. Once you know that you can put in extra support in place around the challenging days.
It might help to go and see a specialist in this area too.
Action: Chart your cycles so you know the days that you need extra help and extra self care
This is something that’s missing from all of our lives is compassion. Being compassionate to yourself as well as compassionate to your kids.
When you can feel flare up coming – think what is it that I need? What is it my kids need? Why are we getting to this stage.
Action: Work on compassion and identifying needs
‘Rupture and Repair’
We are human! As mums we are meant to fail our children at times – this doesn’t mean we try to do it or think it’s ok. But what we’ve also learned is it’s not how we’ve handled a situation that’s important but it’s how we repair it that’s vital. When we repair it seeing it from their eyes as well as your eyes – it can be magic…. “I’m really sorry I shouted at you about not tidying your room, I was feeling overwhelmed by how much I had to do and it was just something else that mad me upset. I should have offered to help you tidy it”.
When I learned about this, I started apologising for all sorts of times that I didn’t handle situations well and it’s been phenomenal and I’d really recommend it.
Action: Forgive yourself for getting it wrong and work on making really good meaningful apologies
I hope you’ve found some of these approaches helpful. If you’re struggling to identify how to integrate these because you are feeling so overwhelmed with everything, you may be interested in signing up for my 6 week programme for overwhelmed mums. Investing in this programme will make significant changes to your family life supporting you to feel calmer and more relaxed. When we’re able to handle our own emotions and triggers, it has a massive benefit for our whole family and relationships and ripples out to the wider community and society.
Much love, Tricia xxx