The other day my little girl was having a hard day. The blocks were not staying stacked. The snacks were not as free-flowing that she would have preferred. The dogs didn’t want to play. Nothing seemed to be going her way.
So there were some meltdowns. And by some I mean…a lot.
That is when I found myself putting my 18-month-old daughter in my lap, looking her in the eye, and trying to teach her deep breathing techniques. Did she fully understand what I was doing? Probably not. Were my efforts in vain? No. Because it provided a distraction. Because she really likes copying her momma. Because I might have needed that deep breathing more than she did.
It turns out that it was more for me
In my professional realm, I am a licensed clinical social worker. I have spent years working with children (and adults) in learning appropriate coping skills to utilize when big feelings get just a little too big. My days have been filled with lemon squeezes, turtle poses, bubble breathing, tin soldiers, and strong sitting. But in my years of teaching coping skills to little ones, I have learned something else
Coping skills aren’t just for kids.
Mommies and daddies have hard days too. Work is a little much. The kids aren’t listening. Bills are overwhelming. And, now, we are all stuck in the house together for so much extra quality time that sometimes we want to scream. And we find that those little kid coping skills can come in handy for our big people feelings.
So when you are doing the 485th load of laundry, grab a couple of pairs of socks for some lemon squeezes.
Take that extra minute getting ready to lie on the floor for a quick yoga child’s pose.
Remember to pay attention to your breathing when being challenged by your children…or spouse…or yourself. Take a few deep breaths to bring yourself back down.
Know that you have limits and that it is completely okay. Everyone does. Listen to your body. Learn the skills that help you the most. Take the breaths. Squeeze the socks. Walk away if you have to. Because when you can do that, as a parent, your children learn. They see healthy ways that they can handle big feelings. They see that their parents experience the same feelings they do. They see that their parents are human.