We all have them. You know those days that are so incredibly hard and everything, literally everything, is going wrong. It’s like an invisible path has been forged and we are somehow a magnet to every possible misfortune. I swear it’s on these days that I drop glass jars taking them out of the fridge, spill my drinks, stub my toe, bump into things and the list goes on. I practically burst into tears when I drop a peg, whilst one handedly hanging out the laundry, and simultaneously wrestling a wriggling baby on my hip. My kids fall prey to this negative energy force too. Their emotions are out of control, they can’t focus and play, they need me every second and they’re fighting incessantly with one another.
Many of us are familiar with the it’s too quiet scenario. It’s finally quiet for a few minutes. You know, however, there’s likely a little tornado creating some havoc with nail polish or toothpaste somewhere. The question..do you enjoy those precious minutes of silence, at the risk of the, yet, unquantifiable wreckage? I usually cop whatever mess transpires for those few minutes. Even if some mess and chaos has resulted, it’s helpful to remember that it most likely is not an emergency. I love this article.
These are the days I fall waaaay short of my peaceful parenting ideals. I snap out harsh words. My tone is sarcastic. My “words and tone of voice don’t match” my six year old informs me. My expressions are cold and unfriendly. My body language is rough and erratic. I’m not a nice person. But I can’t reign myself in. Every fibre of my being wants to indulge my big, annoyed, spilling over grievances. I long for the day when I have enough self control to simply begin down a new mental and emotional path when I’m in the midst of angst and chaos. For now though, I need to employ some hard and fast, concrete strategies.
These are the things that help us turn our bad days around…
Water fixes just about everything. Well almost. Whether it’s a bath that you spruce up with some colour or kitchen utensils not usually played with in the tub, or some water play outside. Even something as simple as painting a fence with water and brushes can be fun.
2) Fresh air
Weather permitting, get outside. We have the tiniest backyard, but we’ll still head out there if we can’t get to a park or the beach. Our kids love scavenger hunts. It takes two seconds to write out (or draw) a list of bits and pieces they are guaranteed to find outdoors.
3) Change of scenery
See above. Or go to the shops (unless this makes everything worse), the library, the museum, a friend’s house… basically anywhere other than home.
4) A Picnic in a cubby
I’m pretty sure all kids love picnics and cubbies. Or a tea party. Grab some snacks and a drink and turn it into a picnic or tea party. Throw a blanket or old sheet over a dining table, grab some pillows and you’re all set. The kids might even ingest more than they normally would.
Who doesn’t love kneading some dough and eating fresh bread rolls. It takes no time at all to whip up some dough, give each child a small ball of the mixture to knead aka play with, and then pop them in the oven.
Or flatten those small balls of dough and make mini pizzas. Even if you only have tomato paste and cheese for toppings, they’ll love it.
6) Have a stash
This is an “ahead of time” thing. But can work wonders on those rough days. Have a small stash of goodies tucked away ready to pull out and let them go wild with some new bits and pieces. Simple things like stickers, markers especially for windows, modelling clay, anything you don’t have in your regular, every day art cart and so on.
Unless your kids are terrified of them of course. Blow up a few to chase around or play balloon tennis using fly swats.
8) Contained sensory fun
Well, semi contained at least! We have a small inflatable wading pool that I use for messy, sensory activities. Things like loads of green lentils (they’re the smoothest), coloured rice, pasta. Or if you’re up for more mess, things like slime, goop, shaving cream, cloud dough and so on. The Imagination Tree has lots of great ideas and recipes.
When you lie in bed at night and reflect on your rough day - regardless of whether you managed to turn it around or not - remember these things…
* Forgive yourself. Give yourself a break.
* Know that, even when you feel like a complete failure, you are still the exact and perfect person your little one/s need.
* Everyone has them. You aren’t alone, despite the seemingly perfect world we see everyone else living in via Facebook. Remember, the snippet of someone’s life you see, is never their entire reality.
* Tomorrow is a new day. You have the opportunity to start afresh.