Fun Ways To Cope With BIG Emotions
Kids are relentless! The are loving, frustrating, tiring and hilarious all mixed up into one big ball of energy. At times their behaviour can feel overwhelming for parents and sometimes the best response is to laugh and have some fun.
Kids do overwhelming things, like the time my 4 year old threw what she thought was her toy rubber egg. But, it was an actual raw egg and it splattered all over the kitchen. It was a mess! But it was hilarious, so instead of the grumpy response she was probably expecting from me, I burst out laughing! It's a memory she loves and still talks about 5 years later.
So, consider this. When you're next feeling overwhelmed or triggered by your kids, take a deep breath and try to get your giggle on. It might be the perfect remedy instead of losing your temper and feeling bad about it afterwards.
1. Find the humour in the situation!
Sometimes, the best way to cope with a frustrating or overwhelming situation is to find the humour in it. Try to see the funny side of things, by smiling or laughing to diffuse the tension and lift the mood.
2. Pull a cheeky face!
Young children love a cheeky face and also a silly voice! This can be a great way to get them laughing and lift the mood. Try using exaggerated expressions, raised eyebrows and silly voices to make your child laugh. A giggling child often pauses their meltdown long enough for you to engage them in something else.
3. Play a game:
Playful activities can be a great way to relieve stress and connect with your child. Try playing silly games like "Simon says" or "What's the time Mr Wolf" to inject some humour into your interactions with your child.
4. Use humour to redirect behavior:
If your child is behaving in a way that is frustrating or overwhelming, try using humour to redirect their behavior. For example, if your child is refusing to eat their vegetables, try making them into funny shapes or using silly names for them to make them more appealing.
5. Play fight or tumble with them!
If your child is grumpy or upset, try using some physical play to snap them out of it and get them laughing. Give them a big bear hug, pick them up and spin them around and kiss their gorgeous face. Tell them they look cute when they're angry! This works a treat for one of my children and always gets her grinning.
6. Take a break without them:
Sometimes, the best way to cope with overwhelming emotions is to take a break so you can slow down and fill your own cup. Take a few minutes to do something you enjoy, like reading a book or listening to music or going for a walk with a friend.
7. Talk to 'that friend' who is ahead of you in the parenting game.
Finally, if you are feeling overwhelmed or struggling to cope, don't be afraid to seek support from friends and family. Do you have a friend with a child older than yours who gives you good snippets of what's to come? Often they can help you process your emotions and develop strategies for coping with challenging situations because they've been through it before you already!
Navigating ours and others' emotions can be a tricky a part of parenting. So next time your kids behaviour feels overwhelming, search for the humour in the situation and focus on that!
If you want to learn more about emotions and parenting, the author is holding a parenting workshop called EMOTIONS in Queenstown, New Zealand on May 21st. Book your spot to attend here.
Victoria Jenkins is the brain-based educator at Brain Essentials. She is an author, presenter, primary educator and parenting specialist who creates resources for busy parents. These include My Amazing Brain, The Calm Collection, Inspirational Art Prints and online and in-person parenting events.