Anxious Kiddo? Get Back Calm With These Basic Questions
Do your kids ever get into an anxious, fragile state? Ready to meltdown at anything?
Over the years I’ve found that some times my son’s temper is much more even keeled than others, and the good news is that at this point I have a better handle on what to do when I see us heading into a more turbulent phase. I can look to this more angry or more anxious behavior and see it as a warning that something needs to change.
One of my kids is the more sensitive of his siblings and I say he’s like the canary in a coal mine – he’ll indicate first of anyone of us through his behavior that we need to tune-up our routines, our eating or our connection – all of those play big time into meltdowns with him.
Are you noticing more anxiety, or shorter tempers in your family? Want to prevent meltdowns?
Here are three questions to ask if you’ve got an anxious, fragile kiddo. This post contains affiliate links.
Have we been connecting recently? As we talk about in the Relationship Reboot, connection is a practice, and small amounts of time each day REALLY help. Think of it this way: would your plants thrive best if you dumped a bucket of water on them once a month? Or dripped water each day? It really can be simple: smiling when your child walks into the room, finding 10 minutes to connect through conversation or snuggling, listening just a bit longer than you think you have patience for.
Are we eating well? My sensitive kid get migraines and to avoid them he needs to keep his sugar intake low, start with a good breakfast and then have regular balanced meals during the day. With two working parents, sometimes we get off track on grocery shopping and fall into a habit of last minute trips to the store, which result in poor choices. Last month I joined Real Plans, which is a flexible meal planning service. It’s certainly helped us get back to eating better.
Have we been practicing calming skills? Skills for getting calm are learned through practice – not when kids (or parents) are already melting down, but before problems strike. When we get busy sometimes I forget to be proactive on this! Practice might mean doing visualization (we use the Starbright Meditation series), discussing how to handle a problem before it comes up again, or practicing how they will calm down next time they feel upset.
Bonus Question! – After writing this out I realized one more really useful question for when we seem to be headed into a troubling state: Have we been outside enough recently? Hikes, making forts, running around on the lawn, climbing trees and tossing pebbles into a pond. They’re all balms for ragged nerves. Even a short walk makes a difference, not only in my kids moods, but in my own ability to be calm. So get outside!
Ok, a question for you now – do you find these kinds of mood cycles in your own family life? What do you ask yourself, or what areas of your routines do you look at to makes changes when you see the dark clouds moving in? Leave a comment and let us know your experience.
- How to Take the Grrr Out of Anger – We read this book together to gather tools for dealing with anger
- Parenting an Angry Child – Some of my (Alissa’s) reflections, lots of support in the comments too.
- Meditation on Breathing – this could be another good calming technique to teach to kids, or to learn yourself for when you’re faced with a child who is very upset.
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