Give Yourself a Break!

June 7th, 2013

Mini-breaks are so important. They help us to recharge, reconnect, and recenter. However, there are just so many hours in the day, and it’s easy to fall into the mindset that when there’s free time we must fill it, and yes we all know lots of things to fill it with.

So put down the phone, turn off the computer, step away from the laundry pile…

 

  • Give yourself permission to have a mini-break. Modeling to your children that it is healthy to take a break and chill without having to “plug-in” to electronics is a priceless gift.  Make a public declaration that it’s your time to relax. Tell your parenting partner  they are in charge or ask a friend to babysit. If you don’t have anyone to watch the older kiddos- put on a timer and let them know you are not to be disturbed until the timer goes off, unless it’s an emergency (and be clear what’s an emergency). Have a few new movies on-hand that you’ve collected and stashed away for these moments.
  • Declare a mini-break before your batteries have run out. It’s common to push through the exhaustion and overwhelm and think you can get a few more things done. However, this can lead to a very reactive, cranky behavior, and you may do or say something that is not very nice. You don’t want your child modeling this behavior! Know your triggers, state how you feel, and tell those around you what you need. You’ll be able to help your child identify their triggers and needs by calmly sharing your own.
    Spend your mini-break wisely. You may be temped to catch up on paperwork, get some laundry done, start dinner, or check your emails. Don’t go there. Instead do something (or nothing) that helps you to center and renew yourself. Want to teach your child how to recognize their needs so they avoid a meltdown or tantrum? Model this by creating a list of min-break activities on the refrigerator for each person in the family. Do this with your kids and have them add actives to their list (and decorate it too). When it’s time for you to take a mini-break pick an activity from your list.  Let your family know this is what you’ll be doing and teach your kids to do the same.
  • Create a mini-break retreat space. Go into the bedroom and light a candle and rest with a scented eye pillow, sit outside with a cool drink and a book, go to the bathroom (turn the lights down so you don’t have to look at the bath toys or tub that needs to be scrubbed). Have a ritual that you do, and things on hand to help you quickly renew, such as magazines in a basket, scented candles, or art supplies in a special box.
  • Help your child create a mini-break retreat space too.  I like to teach families and educators how to create a calm-down area. Find a space where a child can chill out and fill it with self-soothing activities. If your space is limited put pillows in a corner or a small tent to create a designated area.

Need more support and ways to help your child? Join us on the upcoming International Parents and Professionals Community Support call “You Can’t Make Me: Effective Boundaries and Follow Through for Motivating Kids! Learn  practical and positive strategies to build cooperation, responsibility, and mutual respect with childrenClick here to learn more

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