I don’t know about you but back to school has not been easy for my kiddos- especially my 7-year-old. We had one full week of school and then on week 2 we had a very last minute public holiday on Tuesday…those last minute public holidays are very frequent in Kenya!
So on Monday my daughter got sick and on Tuesday school was closed…When Wednesday came around I think we were all confused! Is it the weekend or summer break, what is happening?!
As I had mentioned last week, I would write about meltdowns and funny enough I got to experience a full blown meltdown on Wednesday! And I mean it was a 10 out 10! I had a very upset child who absolutely refused to go to school, and he meant it.
The universe always has such a great sense of humor!
So what helped?
#1. BREATHING…I know it’s so cliché…and so annoying that breathing keeps coming up for basically every situation in life…but it works. When we breathe, especially on the exhale we calm down our parasympathetic nervous system. The last thing you need is for you to have a meltdown (which I definitely have in the past) so breathing allows you to pause and calm down.
#2. GET CURIOUS…pretend you are playing a role and you are a scientist in a white blouse…ask lots of questions. Be present and don’t judge.
#3. EMPATHIZE…say things like “I get angry too sometimes” or “we’re on the same team, let’s figure it out” or “I am here for you. I love you. You’re safe” It is critical that your child still feels loved and seen.
#4. LET IT RIDE and DON’T TRY TO FIX IT…often it is sooo difficult for patient to watch our child suffer and we want to fix it. Yet, by doing so we are robbing them of critical life skills such as resiliency, problem solving, confidence, feeling their feelings… Experiencing pain is part of life and when children are resilient and they overcome an obstacle they become more confident and happier. The wave of emotions will run its course and it will all be ok at one point…
#5. ACCEPT AND SURRENDER…this might be the hardest one. When you see the clock and you know you will be late for your meeting and the snowball effect it will have on your day it can create soooo much stress…also we put so much stress for our kids to be on time at school…we are so conditioned to rush and be on time, but what’s the worst thing that can happen if you are late one day????Usually it’s really not that bad and if you can lean in and accept it your entire energy will shift.
By accepting the situation and plugging into the present moment your child will feel your presence and connection…this is what ultimately every child wants. So yes you might be late, BUT you will probably be late regardless so fighting the moment will add more stress to the situation. Use this moment to connect.
MY MANTRA: this too shall pass…
For the record, he didn’t get to school until 11am, and I am very fortunate that I had that extra time to spare… and a very supportive school principal to talk to him when we got there. This was definitely my most successful “meltdown intervention” to date…so I am celebrating myself! I have been learning all these strategies for the past 4 years but was never able to put them into practice…I would typically experience my own meltdown as they were having theirs…it was ugly and messy…good times! I will share more on that next time!
Till next time, sending lots of bubbles!