We had a very busy and eventful weekend. It was raining which added to emotional tensions for Michael. He has never been a child who liked the rain. It makes him moody, more emotional, and his sensory system gets out of whack. Add to that family commitments, a birthday party, and lots of catch up work in the house and on my job, and let’s just say, that Mom and Dad both needed to use our “silent strategies” to handle our anxieties, stress, while helping Michael to handle his. It was not an easy weekend, though we had our good moments. What silent strategies work for us, you may ask? I will now share them with you. These strategies are not the same as when Michael says, “it’s ok Mommy, I pushed down my anger.” I have done that as has Dad, and that only results in disaster for all. No, these strategies when done regularly, ideally before Michael is stressed and we are, works like a charm. They can even work when we start to implement them after stress or anger have occurred. The only thing is that it takes longer to feel the positive effects, but we do feel them.
Without further ado, here are 5 strategies your whole Exceptional Family can use to calm down:
- Deep breathing and meditation in a quiet room: Both Dad and I excuse ourselves and do this from time to time. My favorite rooms, the bedroom, the bathroom, or my car. All have locks which I use until my breathing returns to normal and I can think clearly.
- Walking up and down hallway or taking a walk outside in nature or a park: This one is used mainly by Michael, but going out for a walk has been tremendously helpful for me many times, nature and otherwise. I have had some good thoughts and released many tears on these walks. All cathartic.
- Going for a drive in the car: Ok, Michael can’t drive, 🙂 but Dad and I have used this to get away, think and calm down so we wouldn’t lash out. You have to make sure there is a calm parent to stay with the child if you do this one.
- Yoga stretches: There are a few great ones you can do to silently energize: downward dog, child’s pose, corpse pose etc.
- Listening to music: Putting on headphones and listening to music (classical or new age is best to chill), can help ground you as well.
Dad and I have been modeling these for Michael, and we continuously remind him to do his own strategies to calm down. It is so important. I had my moments as did Dad over the weekend when we lost our temper. We were not calm as we usually were with Michael, due to not practicing our own strategies. We used this time though as teaching examples to Michael of what NOT to do, and to show him that we all make mistakes. If you make a habit to consistently use ways to calm down, you will be able to stay relaxed through many incidents in exceptional family life, and you will be showing your child how to do the same.
Exceptional Parents, what positive silent strategies do you use in your families, for yourself and your child? What has worked for you, and what has failed? Sometimes, as with many things, it is through trial and error that we learn what works for our families. So don’t despair. Talk alone to your partner. Talk alone to your child. Then talk as a family, and choose healthy silent strategies will help you all handle stress on a regular basis. This way when you have those tough days or weekends, you will be as ready as you can be. Until next time.