How to Calm the Crazies
The countdown to Christmas has begun! At the time of this writing, we are 8 weeks away from the end of term and 9 weeks away from Christmas day. That means in 8 short weeks most of the Christmas shopping needs to be done, Santa’s list filled, end of term activities completed and dance concerts and sport finals played. Who has time to think of relaxing? But that is probably exactly what you need to be doing for yourself and your children.
Although I can’t slow down time, do your Christmas shopping for you or drive your kids to all their activities, I can give you some tips to keep things light hearted, funny and relaxed. And the best bit is, most of these are free and all of them help calm the mind and bring peace to the body. Being prepared ahead of time also helps to keep you calm, so pick your fave activities from the list below and start collecting what you need so when the Crazies strike your house or car, you are ready to laugh them away!
- Have a “Chillaxing” zone. This can be a bedroom, a yoga mat under a tree in the back yard, a cubby made from sheets and blankets, or a hammock. The goal of this Chillaxing zone is to help a frazzled little person (or teenager/adult) reconnect to their breath and find the calm within them again. This means no screens, (TV/tablets/laptop/phone), minimal noise and somewhere comfortable to crash on. They might only need 5 minutes or an hour. Be flexible with how long they chillax for, with any luck they will have a power nap and wake up happy again.
- Have a stash of quiet activities that can work to both calm the body and keep their hands busy. This can include homemade playdough (adding essential oils add another level of enjoyment to the activity), books, colouring/drawing, puzzles, and stress balls. We made our own stress balls by filling balloons with flour. You could also use sand or rice.
- Give each other a massage or a nice long cuddle. I was amazed at how relaxing it felt to have my toddler giving me a massage after a stressful day and I know how much she likes having one. It can be a foot, shoulder, head or gentle back stroking massage. Even a little tickle at the back of the neck can help dissolve tension. Doesn’t matter which massage you choose, as long as you and your child enjoy it.
- Surprise them with a random activity. Like wearing a funny wig when you pick them up from school, or getting on the floor or ground and tickling each other until your cheeks hurt from laughing, putting too many bubbles into the bath, having a picnic in the backyard, blowing bubbles into water through a straw and seeing who can make the most bubbles or any other “break the rules and be crazy for a day” activity you can think of.
- Hop, skip, roll, crawl your way around the back yard or the park. Do hula hoops or skipping rope while singing funny songs or just play chasies. Movement helps to disperse the built- up stress hormones in the body as well as stimulate the rational prefrontal cortex, so you and your child will be better able to find a solution to whatever is causing you stress.
- Use a mindful app, like Smiling Mind, regularly. I use this at bedtime to help get us ready for sleep and in the morning to get me focused and ready to have a productive day. You could even use it in the car using the Bluetooth function on the radio and to stop some fighting and tears.
I hope this has given you some ideas to support your children and yourself to be as calm and peaceful as possible as we get into full swing of the silly season. And of course these are tricks you can use anytime of the year, so make a note of the ones that worked the best, and re-visit it again when your kids are feeling overwhelmed and/or anxious. Below I have listed the two websites I use that provide great ideas and step by step activities for STEAM or sensory play. Enjoy the journey.
As always, if you have any questions please feel free to email or call me. I will enjoy helping you as best I can.