So today we had just sat down for dinner and Noah decided after much persuasion that he could put the IPad down and join us for some of his favourite vegetable soup. Before he could sit at the table he insisted that he needed a straw for his drink. The next thing was the straws were all over the floor! Great.
It got me thinking about patience. Patience is so important when we are looking after children. We all want to be patient and tend to get upset with ourselves when we snap at our children. The trouble is that looking after children usually makes us tired. They are constantly on the go, always wanting to do things for themselves and usually not great at taking advice. So sometimes when really small things go wrong we can interpret them as a disaster. It can be so easy to say ‘I told you so’ but that doesn’t get you anywhere.
It didn’t actually matter at all that the straws were all over the floor. In actual fact it allowed his soup to cool down a little bit and I seized the opportunity for a blog photo! But if your child tests your patience with mini disasters then mindfulness could be just the way to keep your cool.
When such minor incidents get your stress levels rising see if these top tips help you…
1) Be calm. When your mini disaster strikes try to pause before reacting. Take 3 deep breaths and focus on your breath. This will give you enough time to see what your child’s reaction is and to adapt your approach depending. When you take time to stop and think you will make a much better decision about how to deal with the situation, this can avoid things escalating into a full blown disaster.
2) Be kind. You love your child more than anything. Sometimes when you are the end of a wearing day it can be hard to keep this at the front of your mind but if you can it will diffuse any situation. Pick them up and give them a hug and tell them that you love them. If they were being naughty often they just want attention and it will provide a break in their thought pattern. If it was just a mistake and they are upset then it will comfort them and calm them down.
3) Put things in perspective. Once you have kept your cool for those few seconds ask yourself whether it really matters. Chances are it doesn’t. If it does then shouting rarely solves anything. Most children respond much better to a calm talk about the incident in a quiet situation, just you and them if possible.
When you are able to deal with situations like this mindfully then you are left with so much more head space. Rather than becoming a walking ball of anger and frustration for the next few hours you can carry on and enjoy life again. No point crying over split milk!
Come on a Revitalise Day and see how to make meditation and mindfulness part of your everyday life. It could make a world of difference, not only to you but to your family.