It is never too late to hit the “reset” button.
Its 10:30 in the morning, and your happy home is beginning to crumble. The house looks like a hurricane has hit, tensions are high, melt downs are multiplying and Mama is starting to consider heading for the hills. It is a cycle that needs to stop and it’s up to YOU to stop it; you need to hit the reset button.
No judgement here about the messy house, in fact I once read the statement “trying to clean a house with children in it is like trying to brush your teeth while eating Oreos” this is NO understatement. Its life, and life with the tiny humans is messy. But when it comes to the tension, raised voices and whining, YOU are the model of behavior that your children have been given. You cannot expect them to “change their attitude” if you do not give them the correct example to follow.
I have found that the best defense is a good offence. Starting the day off right is a great way to avoid the train to crazy town. In a homeschooling mom’s group meeting I received a priceless gem of advice.
“Determine what the most important part of your school day is, and do that FIRST.” By starting the day out with a quick family devotion, you are not only starting their day out with a good moral reminder for them to take with them in their daily adventures, but you are starting YOUR day out with the same reminder. I find that taking the time to read a Bible story or a character building lesson to my kids, I am reminded what an important responsibility our Father in Heaven has imparted to us. The responsibility of our children’s spiritual welfare is no small task and is the most important task by a long shot.
Disclaimer: Starting your day with a devotion doesn’t mean you have to drag you kiddos out of bed at 6:00 and immediately commence a theology seminar. We are not all at our best in the first 30 minutes of the day. Some need to have time to truly wake up. I have found that breakfast is the perfect time to engage the kids in a devotion. You have them seated and occupied, now is your chance to gain their attention.
But on those days when your day doesn’t start out in an ideal fashion (let’s face it, not every day is going to fall into the perfect routine), here is 4 quick ways to hit the RESET button for your day and regain some peace and serenity.
- Find you own calm. Take a moment to gain your composure. Tell your kids “Mama just needs one minute,” step outside, and take a deep breath. I recommend stepping outside for a moment because there really is nothing better than a breath of fresh air to clear your mind. Locking yourself in the bathroom will only make matters worse, the tiny humans will find you, pound on the door, and want to know exactly what you are doing in there. This will just add to your stress level. (If you live in an apartment and can’t just step outside, take a cup of coffee or tea, a piece of chocolate and your phone (for music) into the bathroom with you. Take your moment of calm any way you can get it.) Now that you are momentarily alone, remember your purpose. You are here to raise these little ones to know Christ and to help generate faith in this upcoming generation. It is VITAL that you show them peace and calm. They learn by example.
- Sit down. Have your children sit down with you, little ones on your lap, older children nearby. Telling your child to “calm down” will have just about as much effect on them as someone telling you to “calm down” when you are angry. It does NOT help. Sitting down automatically lowers the level of tension in the room. Take this time for a read aloud story or if you missed your morning devotion go ahead and do that now.
- TIGHT SQUEEZE. It has been scientifically proven that hugging is a natural anti-depressant and can even lead to better health. All the proof that I need is the results between my kiddos and myself. When we are mid-melt down, all that I have to do to stop the downward cycle is say “STOP, I need a tight squeeze.” We give the biggest, tightest hug possible, injecting all the power of our frustration into that hug. The results are miraculous, we both end up giggling doing it over and over until the stress is forgotten. Don’t believe me? Try it.
- Dance it out. This seems the best remedy for that “UGH” moment of the day. When you’ve all hit your wall during school or when a chore like house/room cleaning has lost its “shine” (witty pun intended.) Drop what you’re doing and put on some fun, dance worthy music and dance out all those blah attitudes. It is a REQUIREMENT that you dance with your kiddos; you are not allowed to sit on the sidelines. Remind you kids that life is fun, and even Mama likes to have fun.
The most important lesson here, is that you cannot expect your kiddos to have happy hearts if you do not example that for them. They need to see your sweet smile, hear your laugh and feel your love. Yes, there is a time when we have to get serious and strict when discipline is required, but they also need to know our joy.