This is a partnered post.
It is part of adult life to have to manage a wide range of stresses every day. The commute to work, the pressure of the job, and taking care of your kids are just some of them. Every one of us is different, and we all cope in different ways. None of us wants our kids to know that life is tough for us at times. So how do you hide those moments of anxiety from your little ones? How are you coping with the stresses of everyday life when your kids are around?
Breathe and Smile
Two of the best coping mechanisms for dealing with frustrations and tempers is to breathe and to smile. You might have taught your young children to try variations of these techniques, but adults can benefit just the same. Deep breaths in followed by even longer exhalations are ideal. They’re good for regulating your breathing and lowering your blood pressure.
Smiling is thought to release the happy hormones we all enjoy, even if you’re fake smiling! Combine a big grin with your breathing exercises. You might find you’re ready to tackle the next spill, broken plate, or toddler tantrum with ease. It can help you feel calm and focused. You might not need to raise your voice, clench your teeth, or even run out of the door screaming after all!
Try allowing extra time for every activity you need to do with the kids. That includes reading with them, getting them out of the door for school, eating, and tidying away at bedtime. The more time you give them, the less pressure there is on you. You won’t find yourself getting more and more frantic. You won’t be as frustrated when you discover their shoes are on the wrong feet. And you might even have those extra few minutes at the school gates for a cuddle and pep talk.
When you have time, you have less reason to become stressed. That doesn’t mean you should fill those few minutes with a dozen other chores that you could be getting on with. Enjoy the slower pace of life. Accept you can’t do it all at once. Instead, let yourself get to it with the renewed energy found when you’re not spending it all pushing the kids along in the morning!
Over the years (and decades) adults find little coping mechanisms that become habits. These often appear at the first sign of stress. They might annoy other people (like drumming fingers on the desk), or they might be harmful to your health (like smoking.) It’s important to have those little mechanisms to help you get your mood in check. But if they’re bad habits, try to find alternatives.
It’s unusual for parents to smoke around their children. Instead, you might pop out into the yard for a few minutes. Swapping to vaping can reduce your nicotine intake, and it eliminates all the other harmful ingredients. If you’ve tried it but not really got on with it, look into modding. You can find out more about how to change the temperature, flavor, or vapor at websites like Vaporescence.com. This might help you to quit cigarettes for good without having to lose that sense of calming you used to get.
Do you ever talk about your feelings? Most of us encourage our kids to talk about their feelings when they’re feeling blue, frustrated, or over-excited. But do we ever initiate such conversations? Sometimes it can be a good idea to talk to your children about your feelings too. After all, you don’t want your kids to think life is easy when they reach adulthood! Instead, talk about how you will manage your feelings. Talking about it normalizes it and helps them to think about why they have their feelings too.
If you’re feeling a lot of stress, it can help you to talk to a counsellor. Before the stress takes over your body and mind, let some of it out by sharing it. Often the causes of our stress are not for the ears of our children. Talking to an impartial professional can give you that outlet you need and the time to think about it healthily.
Healthy Approaches – Leading By Example
Most of us know that exercise is great for combatting stress. But when we feel stressed we rarely release it this way. Instead, we curl up and keep it all in. Help your kids learn healthy ways to blow off steam. Take them all for a jog around the park. Play an active game. Get a little loud or dance really hard to your favorite tunes. You might need to apologize to the neighbors after, but your kids should feel pretty good by the end!
What Caused It?
If your children are getting angry or anxious about a test due or their homework result, sit down with them and get to the bottom of the problem. Usually, a lack of revision or time spent checking work is the cause. This can be fixed easily. Once your children understand the consequences of not applying themselves fully to the task, they might make a bit more effort next time. After all, the stress we feel is often worse than the disappointment of the result.
Nervousness about upcoming events can be caused by the same thing. A lack of preparation causes nerves, worries or stress. Can you all get together to better prepare? A dance or music recital can be ruined by nerves. It might even put your children off future activities altogether. Addressing the stresses and helping your child tame their nerves can help them to live more fulfilling lives. It will stop you feeling quite so stressed and nervous for them too! Sometimes simply taking action can help turn something negative into something positive.
It’s hard for any parent to keep it together all the time. When stress kicks in, it can take over your mind and your body. How do you keep your stress in check when you’re around the kids?