When my boys start using fists more than words, I know they’re overwhelmed by life’s pace and pressure. They also tend to switch from English into fluent Meltdown. Most of what they say to me then can be translated:
‘This Feels Unmanageable.’
‘I’m Too Tired.’
‘I’m Scared I’ll Mess This Up.’
‘Everyone Else is Better Than Me at Soccer.’
‘What’s Going On?’
‘What If I Can’t Be Enough, Do Enough, Have Enough?’
‘Stop Making Me Hurry.’
‘My Blood Sugar is Way Too Low and I Need a Snack.’
I know that once my kids dip below their invisible Coping Line, even the smallest thing is massively too much. I know this for a fact because they get it from me.
For the sake of everybody’s emotional health, it’s wise to figure out where that Coping Line is for us and for our kids, and to manage life so that we can kinda-sorta stay above it.
So I’m trying out some ideas – in sets of five – because counting to five is doable on a wild day, for kids and even for most adults.
5-WORD truths to tell our kids:
You’ll learn heaps from failure!
You’re deciding to be busy.
You can choose your attitude.
Let’s think of a plan.
Do the Next Right Thing.
God goes ahead of you.
Eventually, everything will be ok. [Even if eventually is eternity.]
5-WORD prayers our kids can pray:
Help me to be brave.
Give me wisdom for today.
Be my joy and strength.
I am grateful for _____________.
5-WORD ways of staying polite, even on days when there’s a strong chance of everybody freaking out:
Thank you for the supper.
Excuse me from the table.
It’s good to see you.
Fine thank you, and you?
Can I help with anything?
No thanks, I’ve had enough.
Forgive me. I was rude.
Please explain that again, slowly?
The value of 5-MINUTE / 5-STEP HABITS:
I’m trying to weave these into my mom script:
‘Five more steps and you’ll be at the laundry basket.’ (Which is, ideally, where we want them to start heading instinctively, with dirty clothes.)
‘Clean your room as best you can, and as fast as you can, for five minutes flat, and while you’re doing that we can play music as loud as you like.’
‘Of the 1440 minutes in today, it will only take you five to unpack your schoolbag / feed the dogs / set the table / ____________.’
‘Let’s take five minutes to read something / snuggle / pray about tomorrow / practise your times tables / look for that thing you’ve lost.’
. . .
Here’s to walking through another week, five minutes at a time. Joy, strength and wisdom to you, friend!
Last week’s post: