"Take a deep breath to calm yourself." You've probably heard this before and maybe you wondered why. The fact is that by taking deep, cleansing breaths in the correct way, your body will automatically relax. All your muscles will loosen and stress with leave you for a few short moments. This can help you to be able to get perspective on whatever is stressing you out—like all those little kids bouncing around your living room!
There is actually a little more to it than just breathing. Here are the steps to help you to relax your body and clear your mind:
1. Put your hand on your belly button.
2. Take a deep breath into your stomach until you feel your hand move up for a count of four.
3. Hold your breath for a count of four.
4. Slowly release your breath for a count of four.
5. Repeat four times.
6. You will notice that your body will begin to relax immediately
Now you have more capacity to problem solve and reframe those stressors.
Transitions: How to avoid Meltdowns
Struggling with transitions is something that seems to affect most of our kids. Actually, it affects most of us too if we think about it.
Our family went camping last week. We had great weather the whole time until the last night. Yep, it started to rain in August! I normally love our Pacific Northwest rain, but this sudden unexpected transition really threw me. The whining and complaining wasn't coming from the kids that night! I recovered quickly enough, and our equipment is drying nicely in the garage now. <sigh>
Transitioning from one activity to another is very difficult for most kids and for some it can trigger meltdowns and power struggles. Leaving the activity they are engaged in now to begin another task, no matter how pleasurable is extremely hard to do. If the new activity is less pleasurable, then just forget it. Meltdown city!
Here are a few tips to help:
1. Daily overviews – give your child an overview of the basic schedule for the day. If you have a highly visual child then make this a visual schedule with pictures. This is especially helpful for major changes like when school starts.
2. Warnings – As a transition time is nearing give several warnings that it's almost time to transition. For example, to transition from the playground to home for lunch. Call out a 10 minute warning, a 5 minute warning and a 1 minute warning. Be sure to praise your child for coming when time is up.
3. Using a visual timer can also be helpful for older children who don't like "being nagged." Check out this website for more information:
They have table clocks as well as watches. Pretty cool. A regular kitchen timer will work too though if this is out of your price range.
4. Specific Praise – Make an effort to praise your child's efforts toward transitioning. "Wow, look how many blocks you picked up! High five buddy!" This will go a long way toward energizing your child's efforts no matter how small they may seem at first.
5. Re-evaluate – While having a structured day is important—having enough downtime is also important. Flexibility towards your child's needs in the moment can make a big difference in your child's behavior and your sanity. For example, if you notice that afternoons are more stressful, then maybe lowering the number of activities in the afternoon will help. Figuring out what the triggers are can really make a big difference.
Transitions become easier with time and practice, but some children continue to struggle long after their peers and even younger siblings. If your child really struggles with these no matter what you try to do, it might be time to think about getting some help.
Calm the Chaos Parent Coaching
Are you struggling with Chaos at Home?
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Calm the Chaos Newsletter
This Newsletter is copyright (c)2007 Karen DeBolt, all rights reserved. You may freely reprint in any newsletter, website, or print journal. Please send me a copy and include the following attribution:
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All Rights Reserved. Reprinted with permission. Helping families
Struggling with Chaos at home to have happy, successful children. Sign up for the newsletter at http://www.counselingformoms.com and receive a copy of the free report, ‘Conquering Bad Behavior Without Stress.’"
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Karen DeBolt, MA. Parent Coach and Family Therapist
Struggling with Chaos at home and want happy successful children? Download our free report, “How to conquer bad behavior without stress.” http://www.counselingformoms.com/docs/specificpraise.pdf
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