Life can get out of hand when you’re moving with young children. Simply put, we all go just a little crazy. Emotions can be all over the map and last week’s post talked about how, when emotions run high, “flooding” occurs. The “emotional brain” takes over and effective thinking and decision making goes out the window. Hitting the reset button can be difficult when you and your children are working to manage your emotions.
Sometimes, going off the rails is just crazy enough to work. So if you are finding it difficult to get everyone back on track to a new normal, hop on the “Crazy Train” and try something new and, quite possibly, unconventional.
First, the unconventional…watch this video from therapeutic mom, Christine Moers. She has an amazing story of helping kids with high needs and has come up with some pretty unconventional ways to out-crazy the crazy. These techniques work on more “developmentally conventional” kids as well!
Here are some more…
Shift your Brain, Shift your focus: When you see those telltale signs that your child is about to go off the rails, ask a question that shifts focus. This isn’t an easy one and you’ll have to practice. You’ll probably want to script yourself too. What is your child’s favorite activity? Ask a question about that (So what Pokemon character to you think I am most like? Which one are you most like?) The more “off track” the question, the harder their brain will have to work to come up with an answer and the faster they can get back on (or at least close to) the rails.
Simon Says: This simple game helps kids practice compliance in a fun environment. If you are having an issue with defiance, take a “Simon Says” time out and play for 5 minutes. Playing the game gets kids doing what parents say and getting positive rewards for it. This also helps separate the ideas of “power” vs “compliance.” (Mother May I works well too)
Blowing Bubbles: This isn’t what you think although the simpler version (actually blowing bubbles) does help reduce anxiety and can distract kids long enough to get them back on track. This concept of “blowing bubbles” comes from Lori Lite and her website www.stressfreekids.com. She has a variety of tools, tips and techniques for anything from stress and anxiety to bullying and self esteem. This is a technique I adapted from one of her CD’s that has worked well in a lot of high emotion situations in my household. When voices start to get raised or you see those warning signs, ask your child to close their eyes and imagine the actual word for the emotion they are feeling. Have them put that word in a bubble and color the word and the bubble. Then they take a deep breath and blow that bubble far away. Have them visualize that bubble floating far, far away and eventually popping. The word is gone but that lovely color now lights their (imaginary) sky. To download a MP3 track of the ACTUAL bubble blowing technique, click here.
There are as many ways to “out-crazy the crazy” as there are kids and families. The most important thing is to find what works in your family to hit the reset button so you can move past the emotions and on to practicing good thinking and decision making skills.
No parent should move without a written game plan.
For more information about the Moving Families Initative, please visit www.movingfamiliesinitiative.com.