There are some days that kids are just stirred up. I used to work in a school admin office and we always had more disciplinary issues on very windy days – I don’t know – there could be any number of triggers that set your kids off to the point you cannot see a way forward to have a productive day.
Years later, when we had little children, we had this one friend – a single guy – who used to love stirring our kids up. By the time he left our house my kids were running up the wall they were so hyper!
Different kids will react to different situations, and they’ll calm down in different ways – but here are some of the ways that helped in my family.
7 Activities to Calm your Child
1–Cuddles – a little bit of physical touch and personal attention can turn a child’s heart.
2–Food – sometimes hyper activity is hunger, sometimes the routine of sitting still at the table can be calming
3–Lie still and listen to music. A variation of this would be to wriggle each part of the body – the toes, the ankle, the knees and move up the body as you go, one part at a time)
4–Reading time: we would do this often after parties before bedtime, but it would work during study time as well. Everyone on the couch, with a book, dim the lights just a little, and play classical music gently in the background If they were particularly excited they would find their own space in the lounge room so there could be no touching – I would also join them and this would help them settle.
5–Whisper instructions: don’t know why this works, but I guess a calm mum encourages calmness
6–Read aloud: and let them colour, or draw. If a child listens better hanging upside down (as one of mine did) let them hang upside down. The only thing that was not allowed was to distract another person from paying attention. Make sure you read a book that is interesting!
7–Independent activity: Have a time where everyone works on their own activity – this is good because there are no instructions and no interactions – so there can be quiet: reading, drawing, building, making, puzzles, Lego as a few ideas.
As a side note let me mention that I am not talking about the fidgets. The fidgets are different scenario and need a different solution. I’m talking about kids who have had lots of physical activity or excitement in some form and they need to calm down. When kids get the fidgets it is more than likely they need to go and run around, get physical in some way and then come back to focus.
Focusing is actually a learnt skill and many of these activities can work as a trigger to alert the brain that it is time to settle and focus. There is no magic in these activities; the magic comes from practising and consistently working on it so that at some point your child will be able to come down from a high to a functioning level and be able to move on to the next activity.
Sometimes though it is just not going to happen; for whatever reason – the child may be over tired, pushed to their limits, or it may just be one of those days. My suggestion for such days is go with it – go fly a kite, ride a bike, go for a swim, a hike, visit some friends.
Parents Need to be Calm Too
I think the biggest issue with calming children down is for the parent to be calm. This itself can be hard – maybe we need a list of calming strategies for frustrated parents!
—It starts with not taking their lack of focus personally. They are not out to get you – they are just having one of those days
—Adjust your expectations – make time in your day to calm them down – be ready to be flexible. Remember these are little people they will have up and down days, just like you do.
—Play music that calms your heart as much as it calms the kids – My mum says she used to pray in our ears when we were little babies – and that it soothed her heart probably more than the crying baby.
—Walk away. Make sure your child is in a safe place and walk away. Maybe go to the bathroom – wash your face and have a deep breath, maybe go to your bedroom and pray, maybe go outside and do a few stretches. Count to 10 and come back to your child.
—Remember at all times to show that you still love them. It is hard to remember at times of frustration that we are committed to unconditional love.
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