Calm Down! – How do we communicate to our kids?
By Brie Miller
I’m watching The Good Wife last night and there was a line that hit me like a freight train. “Have you ever know someone to calm down by telling them to calm down?” – or something along those words. I’ve heard words like this floating around before. We ask some pretty ridiculous stuff of our children, one of them being “will you please calm down?”
Does your child really know what calm down means? I have a quite … active and highly emotional 6 year old boy. I cannot tell you the amount of times I have asked him to calm down. One day I asked him if he understood what I meant when I ask him to calm down and he gave me a vague answer that really had nothing to do with what I was asking of him at the moment. So I switched tactics and now try my hardest to be as specific as possible. For example, this morning at the breakfast table (ugh the morning breakfast table craziness) I had to ask him to stop talking so much and eat, stop yelling at his sisters, sit in front of his breakfast and eat. I then had to move on to his sisters and ask them to do a list of things. For the next 15 minutes. As you can tell we have some issues at the breakfast table. It wouldn’t be an issue if it didn’t take them the next 30 minutes to get dressed. I kid you not …
But I digress. Being more specific about your request also gives you some perspective. Are you just annoyed that they have more energy than you in the morning? Are they going to hurt themselves or someone else? Is it an inappropriate place to be shaking your booty – like on the bench of the breakfast table!
The breakfast table is petty stuff. Not speaking so loudly, jumping around the kitchen like a puppy waiting for kibble, sibling fights. What about when they’re “worked up” and panicking over a lost toy, an argument with a friend or not wanting to go to the grocery store. When your child is in this state, there is going to be little to no reasoning with them. You can probably relate to this feeling yourself. It takes a lot for our brains to get out of panic mode. I promise you that the words “calm down” are not going to be the magical words that cease a tantrum or allow our brains to switch gears. So what to do instead? We need to get on our child’s level. Give them a hug. Take deep breaths with them. I’ve married various words of encouragement with a lowering motion of my hand and often I can just say “down here please” with the gesture and my children realize they are getting a little worked up.
I have fallen deep into the calm down rabbit hole and finally feel like I’m coming out the other side with kids who can get their minds and emotions a little more in check a little faster. I’m sure it has a lot to do with calming down myself when situations arise, so you need to keep that in the forefront of your own (calm) mind as well.
Brie Miller is a mom of 5. But she is also a plant based ultra-runner, avid reader, lover of all things outdoors, sister to 4 siblings, friend to many and so much more. She is never just a mom. Brie is the author of the never just a mom blog where you can find reviews on plant based recipes, books and various other products to help moms and kids along the way. She also shares her favorite bits of parenting advice along with life experiences in hopes of helping other moms break out of their “just a mom” cycle and come to realize their full potential. Brie lives on the Mendocino Coast of California where she is currently training for her next ultramarathon all while shuttling kids off to soccer, school and the grocery store. She understands the importance of community and volunteers often, is a member of the PTO and belongs to local bookclubs.
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