5 Ways to Survive Tough Motherhood Moments

Take a minute and think about holding your child.  What feelings come up for you?  Probably joy or happiness right?  Now take a minute and think about when your child is screaming because you stirred the yogurt (yep that happens here).  What feelings come up?  Frustration, maybe you become annoyed.  Before having kids, I experenienced a handful of emotions on a daily basis. Now, I experience what seems like 100 emotions in one minute. In those moments of screaming, whining or crying, it is hard.  As humans we can react by yelling, snapping or punishing the child. However reacting to a situation by yelling or snapping is not the best solution.  Discipline should be about teaching, not punishing because we are angry. 

The reality is that no one is happy all the time. However, the mommy happiness project is about reminding myself to be grateful in this chaos of motherhood. Accepting that we all have bad days and that includes my kids.  So how am I working on this concept, embracing the moment despite the chaos? I do a lot of different things to work through some of those moments to stay calm and be happy (even if faking till I make it). Here are 5 quick suggestions to work on being happy(or at least not angry) on any particular difficult moment of motherhood.

1. Change your thinking. A lot of people can struggle with understanding this concept of changing your thinking but the reality is you have control over your thoughts. You make the choice to think over and over how annoyed you are, how angry you are, etc. Choose to change it to something more positive. “It really is no big deal you spilled the milk, let’s clean it up together”.

2. Be grateful. Practicing gratitude daily has shown to create more happiness for people. Even if you do not practice daily, while working on changing your thinking, throw in a few things you are grateful for that day. Something along the lines of I am grateful my kiddo is ok, I am grateful for him/her, I am grateful I got to be here right now, I am grateful for my health”. It makes a difference.

3. Be present. When we are fully present we are able to connect better with others. As moms, often we maybe doing something else and not giving the child attention s/he may need at that time. Maybe you don’t answer right away (is that text or facebook really that important?) When we get more present with our kiddos we can see the view better and from their eyes. We connect with them more authentically and it is best for the relationship.

4. Let go of expectations. This is a must for any area of our lives. You cannot keep up with the Jones because they do not exist. Your child is having a bad day, try playing a game with them, the dishes do not need to get done right away. Letting go of the expectations is really healthy.

5. None of that works? Work on your deep (diaphragmatic) breathing. Take a few deep breaths down to the belly. That will help center you, calm you and hopefully put things in perspective.  If you want to know more about how to take deep breaths, read this post.

I would love to hear how you get through the tough moments of motherhood and to know if my suggestions help?

Do you have a story to tell.  I would be honored to help you share it.  Find out more here.

Choose Happiness,

Jessica Lynn

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My Intentional Living Journey

A few weeks ago at my local mops group we talked about surviving vs. thriving. I spent much of my early motherhood days surviving.  I think we all do.  I needed to get through the days the best I could and some days were better than others.  But at some point I didn’t want to just survive.  I wanted to truly enjoy my time with my kids.  I made a choice to change.  To make any change in your life, you need to be intentional because you need to think about what you want to do differently and then follow through with your new plan. 

I have a few words that I love and often say to remind myself the kind of life I want to lead.  This year, I decided to make one of those words my word for 2015.  This year is all about being intentional. Living an intentional life means a lot of different things to different people.  To me, it means I want to think about the things I do and understand why I am doing them.  I want to be intentional with my words, my family, my time and relationships.  

Ways I will be intentional in 2015

I want to be intentional with my time with my family.  I want to speak kind words to my kids.  I want to build them up and not tear them down.  I don’t want to tell them to rush because I am running late.  I want to put my phone away and just be with them.  That takes thought and purpose each day. 

I want to be intentional with my relationship with my husband and the family time we have together.  Often it can be limited and I want to use that time wisely.

I want to make time for my friendships.  I do not want to go months without seeing people because life is busy.  I need to intentionally think about them and make efforts to see them.

I want to be intentional about what I put on this blog.  I love this blog and my focus for it is to encourage happier mamas. 

I need to be intentional with my time.  I have opened my own private practice (therapy) and it turns out it is a lot of work and can easily become a full time job just trying to get it going.  That is not what I want to do.  As someone said to me before, I am slow and steady.  I am hoping that is true and being intentional with my time and where I put it will pay off.

I do not want to just get through the day.  I want to enjoy my days.  I know that when I am more intentional I have happier days.  When I think about how my day will go and put into motion ways to make it better, it is better.  Not every day is great or every moment, but it is about intentionally doing something different to make it better.  What are some ways that you can live more intentionally

Choose Happiness,

Jessica Lynn

Is there something that you would like to write about?  I think we all have a story to share. Check out how you can submit something to this blog.

How to Set A Successful New Year’s Resolution

It is New Year’s Day and chances are you probably have a New Year’s Resolution or have at least thought about it.  Although I think I can guess the top New Year’s Resolutions, I decided to do a quick google search. I saw the following:
1. Lose weight
2. Volunteer to help others
3. Quick smoking
4. Get a better job
5. Get a better education
6. Save money
7. Get fit
8. Eat healthy food
9. Manage stress
10. Manage debt

Although there are more, this does a good job at giving a highlight to the common ones. I can say I have made almost all those resolutions.  The success rate of a New Year’s Resolution is pretty poor.  There are many reasons why people fail at their new goals. Sometimes the goal is not realistic or even attainable.  While other times it just seems like it is to much work to change. Change can happen though. I put a few simple suggestions together if you want to be more successful this year.

How To Be Successful with this Year’s Resolution

1. Set a realistic and specific goal. For example losing weight is not a specific goal. A specific and realistic goal would be losing 10 pounds in 3 months.
2. Become accountable. We succeed more often when we are accountable. If we set a goal of losing weight, but do not tell anyone, we have no one to be accountable to.  Find people who have a similar goal by joining a meeting in person or virtually. Another way to be accountable is to pay.  For example, if you want to get into running, sign up for a 5k. That way you are more accountable and have a better chance following through with your goal.
3. Focus on the present. Any success you made today is worth celebrating. Do not get caught up in the past or worrying about the future.
4. Work on changing your thinking. To change behaviors, one needs to start with changing negative or unhelpful thinking.  To do that, you need to create new pathways in the brain. This can happen by changing negative thoughts to positive thoughts. Instead of saying you can’t, learn to say I can.
5. Let go of expectations.  If your resolution has an expectation attached to it you may never be satisfied.  For example, losing weight will not necessarily make you happier nor will the new job.  Expectations create disappointment. 

Try implementing some of these small steps into your New Year’s Resolution.  If it doesn’t work out to how you want it to be, well you can just be you.  Happy New Year!

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Choose Happiness,

Jessica Lynn

Year End Happiness Review

Happy New Year Everyone!  Here is a quick year end happiness review. This has been an exciting year for me.  My year started off as a normal year for me except that I was determined to take some time for myself.  Being a mom of 2 young boys was exhausting and I knew I was not enjoying motherhood as much as I possible could.  So, as a therapist, I took my own advice and started working on myself.  I took time for my own physical, emotional, and spiritual well-being.  The result is I feel so much better and am happy.  Self-care has also taught me to give myself grace-I am not perfect and do not need to be. Not everyday is great, but part of being happy is appreciating the small things. 

A quick highlight of what self-care has given me

-This blog

-Completing my first 1/2 marathon

-Being more present with my kids

-Opening my own private practice

I would say it has been a good year!

When I first started this blog, I wrote how I was determined to not wish time away and that was only 8 months ago and I feel like I am doing pretty well.  I hope you join me on this journey of motherhood and to learn how just taking even a few minutes a day can make a big difference in your daily life.  My hope for everyone in this upcoming New Year is that they find happiness in what they have and enjoy all those totally chaotic moments with your kids! 

Being the end of the year, I figured I would post some of the more popular post from this past year.  Take a look around and remember to sign up for emails so you are notified of new posts. 

Post from this past year:

Avoiding Holiday Burnout

 The Benefits of Real Homemade Soup

How to Teach Deep Breathing to Kids

Mindfulness Skills for Children

Mother’s Day Letter

About my self-care

Choose Happiness,

Jessica Lynn

 

Avoid Holiday Burnout

 

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The holidays are one of the most fun, enjoyable, and exciting times of the year.  But all that fun does not necessarily come without a toll on us.  The holiday season is one of the most stressful times for some people and that stress can affect our overall well-being. In a season of giving, it may seem counter intuititve to engage in self-care, but really it is essential.  If we do not take time to take care of ourselves, we can set ourselves up for exhaustion, poor nutrition, resentment, stress, frustration, and disappointment. We need to take care of ourself to avoid holiday burnout.  Here are a few suggestions to keep you on track for enjoying the holiday season.

Eat Healthy:  Oh the holiday food.  It is so good and we think we can just eat on, but it is never just one and having lots of unhealthy foods daily is not healthy for the body.  If you are having a hard time resisting, at least bulk up on the healthy foods.  It might be a good time to start a food mood journal.  That way you can track how all the extra sugar is affecting your body.

Exercise: You do not need to wait until January 1st to begin to workout.  If you already workout regularly, do not lessen up in the holidays.  It is important for overall well-being to engage in physical exercise most days of the week.

Sleep: We need to sleep. We never catch up on our sleep.  Whatever you believe you need to stay up for can wait.  You will be much more efficient after sleeping.

Let go of expectations:  There can be a lot of expectations around the holidays ranging from the gift you thought you were going to get or give,  to what the party is going to be like.  Let it all go.  When we have expectations about situations and people, went set ourselves up to be disappointed.  Just enjoy the season without putting expectations on it.

Learn to say no:  You do not need to attend, host, cook, or give extra gifts all season long.  It is perfectly acceptable to say no.  Remember quality (time together) vs. quantity this time of year.

Schedule a date night:  Do something to get out with your spouse and possibly friends that can be focused on just spending fun quality time. 

Determine your priorities with your spouse:  It is important to sit down and decide together as a family what is important for your family with the holidays. Together decide where you will go, how long you will stay, who will get gifts, and how much you will spend.  Decide together how you want to create your holiday traditions.

Do not over schedule:  As a mom with young kids, I think about all the amazing things to do this time of year.  But the reality is I do not need to attend several breakfasts with santas, the train rides, cutting down the tree, caroling, cookie baking, homemade gifts…you get the point.  You do not need to do it all.  Just being together as a family is enough.  Please do not feel like you need to keep up with everyone else.  Do what you want to do as a family (see above).

Be present: Be present where you are.  Do not worry about the past.  Let go of the anger or resentments.  Do not worry about the future.  Just enjoy the moment.

Take some alone time: Use your down time wisely.  Spend time relaxing the way that you like to relax.  Pick up your book again, watch your favorite holiday movie, take a bath etc.

Be grateful: It is easy to get caught up in all chaos of the holidays, but it is about being grateful for what you have, enjoying family time, and being together.  We create memories during the holidays by spending time together.  Focus on the positives.

When we take time for self-care, we  “fill up our cup”. When fill up our own “cup” we can then pour into others.  Taking care of yourself will help you take some time to be the person you want to be.  Remember, it is about making different choices, staying present and focusing on what matters. My hope is though,  whatever you decide to do this holiday season, is that everyone takes time to take care of themselves so that they can fully enjoy this time of year. 

 

Choose Happiness,

Jessica Lynn

 

How writing made me better

Guest Post by Rebecca

There are so many things I did throughout my life to make myself feel better. Shop. Eat. Exercise. Talk to a friend. Listen to music. Eat. But writing was the only thing I did that lasted. And it made me better.

In my most lost and lonely moments, my pen was my only friend. My notebook was the permanent record of my inner most thoughts. I turned to writing when I felt no one else could possibly understand. When I felt judged and ostracized, I turned to my journal. When I felt ashamed of myself and my horrible thoughts, I would empty my brain frantically on to a blank page. When I was done, I felt free and physically lighter. I felt like I just let out all the pain and anger I had been holding in.

Over the years, my writing would guide me through the worst of times and the best of times. I would write when I had the worst day and I thought I could no longer carry on. I would write when I was so happy about the way my life was going. This constant vice made me better. One constant habit kept me grounded and I had something to show for it.

Looking back over the past 13 years, my writing has changed. My handwriting that was once furious and scribbled now looks even and peaceful. My depressed nonsensical jots have turned into a wise reflection of all I have learned. Reading what I have wrote is one of the ways I remind myself of how far I have come. I battled so many demons and somehow came out of the other side alive and whole.

I am so thankful I turned to writing and I am proud of the bumpy journey I have traveled, pen and paper in hand.

I encourage anyone to pick up a pen, pencil, crayon-whatever you can. Write down what you are feeling. Keep a journal. Even email yourself (I do this all the time). Removing your inner thoughts and recording your feelings is therapeutic and helps to make sense of your emotions. It is this that makes us grow as women and as Mothers. Writing helps you learn from someone who knows you best, yourself.

-Rebecca

21-day sugar detox recap

I had no idea I could feel this amazing!

My 21-day sugar detox is officially over. If you are just curious about my final thoughts, I will start with those.  I loved doing this sugar detox.  It taught me that I can eat a different way and probably should be.  Eating healthy fats, vegetables, meats and whole foods, I was not hungry and did not crave sugar or carbohydrates.  I realized without sugar, I did not crash in the afternoon, something I had been working on for several months to avoid.  I had no idea that only after a few days my 2pm crash would be gone.  That was the first noticeable thing for me.  Oh, and I lost some weight.

Prior to this sugar detox, I ate sweets fairly regularly. Most days I would just have a small piece of dark chocolate.  Other days though, I would have a cookie or ice cream.  On those days I would justify it by saying I had been eating really well or would just make sure I got my work out in. I eat healthy and did not see a huge problem with my frequent sweets.  Although, I was very aware that when I did eat one sweet, I craved more sugar.  I do think a bigger problem for me has been craving carbohydrates.  I often would think I was not full or could not be full without having some sort of carbohydrate with my meal such as bread.

The sugar detox I did was Danielle Sanfilippo 21-day sugar detox plan. Some of you may know I am a therapist and I have my own private practice. Danielle Sanfilillpo has a podcast called building a badass business (which is for any business, not necessarily nutrition). I had been listening to these amazing podcasts and through that became familiar with the sugar detox. I have been trying to cut out processed foods and been trying to move toward a whole foods diet. Since this was only 21 days, I figured that was feasible for me to do.

What I learned:
I need to listen to my body more when I eat.  For example, if I feel bloated after eating, I need to think about not eating that type of food.  I  wonder if one of the reasons I feel this great is due to the lack of gluten and am considering going gluten free if I do not feel well when I bring more gluten in my diet.

Somethings that I thought were healthy for me actually were not healthy for me.  I had no idea how much hidden sugar is in things.  

I feel mentally clearer and I can focus better.

I have a lot more engery, I sleep better and have improved mood.  

During the past 21 days my husband was so supportive and deserves his own shout out for this.  This sugar detox can be simple with no meal planning because it is scheduled for you.  However, I struggled with the idea of having to create separate meals for other members of my family as there were some items they would not eat (such as fish).  Instead, my husband went through the cookbook and identified meals he would want to eat.  He also helped prepare many meals.  He has since become an excellent hummus maker.  All the recipes that we had out of this cook book were eaten and enjoyed by all including my kids.

 If you are wondering if I will continue to eat this way, the answer is yes…for the most part.  I will be focusing on creating family friendly whole food meals.

If you have tried a sugar detox or are eating whole foods, I would love to hear how you are feeling.  

Choose Happiness,

Jessica Lynn

 

#21 day sugar detox

The Stuff Anxiety is Made Of

This is a guest post by Erica who is on a journey of #NoClutterNovember. You can read about her daily journey here about how she is simplifying her life.  She certainly is an inspiration to me!

The Stuff Anxiety is Made of

By Erica

“A state of well-being occurs when you let go, accept, become vulnerable, and have gratitude.” (The Mommy Happiness Project).

…”Letting go.”

2 words, 2 simple words.

I am currently on a journey of “letting go.” 

The journey that could have been beneficial had I attempted it years earlier…and yet a journey which would have had a much higher potential for failure those years ago, simply because, until now, I just wasn’t ready. 

At the beginning of 2014, I chose “my word.” I wanted my theme for the year to encompass my desire to be less chaotic, better focused, less anxious, and more organized…

what was my word?! …”SIMPLIFY”

I have a habit of having a million awesome intentions with little follow-through.  

It’s the perfect formula for anxiety…and my anxiety exhibited itself in “stuff.”

 …Having “stuff”…Accumulating “stuff” …Organizing “stuff” …Saving “stuff” …Loving “stuff.”

At some point, I came to believe that “stuff” was my friend, not realizing that in actuality, I was self-medicating with a prescription that was burying me rather than offering a cure. I looked around and discovered that this “stuff” that was supposed to be comforting me and offering me security, had become a burden I just couldn’t carry anymore.  …And that’s when I felt the Lord embrace me with, “Finally, you are ready. Hand it all over to me. Trust Me to provide what you need….and Be Free!” 

And so here I am….

22 days into #theminimalistproject. 

Knowing that I had a goal for the year of “simplifying” my life and my home, my friend and Bible-study partner approached me on October 30th to ask me to join her on a month-long journey of “purging” excess from our households. I was very non-committal in agreeing to her proposal, so when she added that we would be posting pictures of our items on social media for accountability, I became very skeptical. 

How could I possibly put myself out there…or worse yet, how could I reveal “my stuff” (literally & figuratively) to everyone?!

Honestly…it was the accountability of pulling away the curtain and the mask that was key in getting me to Day 22!

There is something so vulnerable about bringing what you are most ashamed of into the light (and potentially under the microscope). As if releasing “stuff” that I was inclined to hold onto wasn’t hard enough, I was now giving the public an open door to see my weaknesses that I wanted to keep packed away for my own private shame. 

All the stuff I wanted to keep “just in case,” or because “it was a great deal,” or because “I never know when I’ll need it,” or because “I couldn’t pass it up” all became a lot less appealing when I had to snap a picture of it, admitting that it was something I was “treasuring”… when in reality it was simply “disposable.” 

And so what began as a “letting go of stuff” soon transformed into letting go of the underlying fears that caused me to hold on to each of those insignificant items. Each day of my #NoClutterNovember journey got a little easier and a little more exciting, as I began to see the freedom that went along with processing the feelings and rationale of each item through an open blog with the world. (And it didn’t hurt that my house started to get a lot more organized in the process!) 

22 days after starting the process, I can say that I am more free than I was a month ago! While I will confess that old habits die hard and this process will have to continue long after the month of November, it is with the Lord’s stregth & faithfulness that I have a renewed sense of purpose.  I have learned to have a more open hand with “stuff,” not holding on or holding back, but “letting it go” and seeing where it takes me….And that gives me a gratitude that makes all the “stuff” seem a lot less significant. 

“A state of well-being occurs when you let go, accept, become vulnerable, and have gratitude.” (The Mommy Happiness Project)

Clutter 101…

Determining what You need to let go, ask yourself the following questions:

-Have I used it in the last few months?

-Could someone else get better use out of it?

-Do I have a place for it?

-Do I “need” it?

-Is it solving a problem?

-Is it creating a problem?

-Is it adding stress to my life?

-Am I saving it for an unknown time?

-Is it affecting my relationships?

Remember:

1. Things you keep should have a PLACE and a PURPOSE. 

2. RELATIONSHIPS with PEOPLE are always more important than STUFF.

3. If something is SPECIAL enough to keep, you should HONOR it by taking care of it.

4. STUFF is just STUFF, and you can’t take STUFF with you in the end.

Erica

The Benefits of Real Homemade Soup

How to make home made soup more nutrious

Thanksgiving is right around the corner.  Are you excited? I know I am!  I love Thanksgiving.   I have so many fond memories of Thanksgiving and I get a lot of joy thinking about how we are creating my children’s childhood memories.  One of my favorite things about Thanksgiving is the food.  My favorite comes two days after though, which is when we eat homemade turkey soup.  I grew up on real homemade soups; the ones made from bone broth.  Thanks to my mom, I always knew that they were really healthy for you and are delicious.  To this day I can’t eat canned chicken soup, it is just not the same. 

Although I knew that homemade soup or what is actually referred to as bone broth is good for you, there are some things I did not realize (1) I was not cooking the bones long enough; they can cook up to 24 hours, the longer the better.  (2) You need to add some apple cider vinegar before cooking.  (3) It is full of minerals and is recommended to have often in your diet. (4) It is a superfood.

On my facebook page I had shared that I am currently doing the 21 day sugar detox.  Diane Sanfillippo recommends bone broth as the only broth to use in her plan.  In addition on my facebook page I shared that I had been listening to something called the anxiety summit-which is all about using healthy foods to help decrease symptoms of anxiety and really a lot of other health problems.  Several times the benefits of bone broth were discussed.  In 2 weeks I have heard so much about the benefits of bone broth, so I am choosing to listen!  Click here to read more specifics about the benefits of bone broth.

This here is the recipe I have been using. I like this article because it also made me realize what I buy at the store does not have the health benefits of real stock.  Although I have always made my own chicken and turkey soup, I would often buy store stock for other recipes.  Not anymore. I have been buying a whole chicken to make soup each week.  My kids love chicken soup and any left overs I freeze for a quick lunch.  I am also buying bone-in chicken instead of boneless/skinless chicken breasts.  You can use the left over bones to make bone broth and freeze for recipes later.   Save the bones until you have enough to make broth by freezing.

I tend to keep things simple with my soup both chicken and turkey.  I make the bone broth as noted in the link above (usually in the crockpot once the chicken is cooked). For my soup I just add onion, carrot, celery, an herb (usually fresh rosemary) and salt and pepper to taste, but definitely try some other recipes.

If you are looking for a way to start making some changes in your diet this could be a great start. 

 chixsoupChoose Happiness,

Jessica Lynn

How to Teach Deep Breathing to Your Young Kids

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Today I wanted to share my “go to” parenting skills during tantrums.  I know a lot of parents use time outs or may even ignore.  I am working on teaching my kids deep breathing or belly breathing. Try taking a moment and take a deep breath.  What did you notice?  As adults, often we think taking a deep breath is filling up our chests and many struggle with not understanding why that deep breath does not help relax them.  That is not the deep breath I am referring too.  That type of breath can actually cause more anxiety.  Deep breathing or belly breathing is taking the breath all the way to the belly.  Imagine a balloon in your belly being blown up with air.  Below I am going to teach you how to teach your kids.  But first, to teach your kids you need to learn.  Here is a quick video that does a good job explaining it.

Deep breathing is good for all of us whether you are the parent or child.  Deep breathing relaxes and calms us down.  I highly recommend practicing deep breathing every day and not when you are stressed, but rather when you are calm and can concentrate.  It will make it easier to use when you are upset. 

 I started to teach my kids deep breathing because I  quickly realized that I needed to teach them skills to help calm themselves down when they were upset.  When you have two close in age there tends to be a lot of fighting and crying over toys!  I found myself getting frustrated because both would be crying and I couldn’t figure out what happened since both couldn’t calm down to tell me.  As a therapist, I often teach people I work with the benefits of deep breathing and use it myself.  So I developed a variety of ways to teach these skills to my kids. I tried different ones until I found the one that works best.  When you find one that works, I suggest having that be your “go to” because when kids are upset, they need to have a reminder of the skill that is consistent.

For this to be successful you need to PRACTICE!  I would not even introduce the idea of deep breathing when they are upset until they have a good understanding of the concept.  Chances are you have seen the Elmo video that talks about belly breathing. (Proud mama moment- my kids haven’t seen that video in a long time and I showed it to my 2-year-old who just started doing it on his own.  I just love those moments!)

I first introduced the topic to my kids while we were playing.  I would put a stuff animal on their belly and worked with them to learn how to breath so the stuffed animal would rise.  Chances are your child may naturally do that.  If so, then point that out and talk about it.  Another way to teach it is have the child lay their hands on their belly with their middle finger tips touching.  As they breathe the finger tips should spread apart.  Make it a game.  Remember to breathe through the nose and out of the mouth.

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Stuff animal example-and yes I am aware he has food on his face. 

I guess I didn’t think it was important to clean before the pictures. 

Sometimes I wonder about myself!

 

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Finger tip example

 

Once my kids had this basic understanding, I continued to have them practice at least once a day; doing it several times.  Some ideas to continue to practice are below:

Blowing Bubbles

Blowing a Pinwheel

When I put my kids in their car seats I would say something like “Oh how far can you blow my hair (I have long hair)?

I would also put my hand close to their face and say “How far can you blow my hand away”?

Making a game out of it makes it easy to practice.  You can do that in 30 seconds and it gets them to practice.  It became our thing to practice when we would get in the car.  Find a time that makes it easy for all of you to remember to practice.

When to introduce the skill of deep (belly) breathing and how:

When your child seems to have the ability to use the skill when you ask, try having them do it when they are upset or crying.  Do not send the child away such as in time-out; rather work with them do the deep breathing.  Sit or hold them and do it with them.  I set the pace with the my own breath, often exaggerating it so that my child understands.  Our way of deep breathing and a signal for them is me putting my hand up for them to try to see how far they can blow my hand away.  Sometimes this “game” of deep breathing also distracts them from whatever they were upset about and sometimes it is not the time.  I am flexible to what their needs are.  Please remember that this to will take time and to practice.  Here are some pictures of my “go to” way of having them deep breathe-putting my hand near their face and having them blow it away.

breathing6

 

breathing4

breathing 5

As you will see, I move my hand away, showing him how his deep breath pushed my hand away.  This works for my kids because we practiced this method.  If you don’t practice this method, it may backfire as a lot of kids probably do not want a hand in their face.  Sometimes my younger one doesn’t want to blow my hand away, so I just work on my breathing to set the pace and have him follow it. Eventually he will usually do it at least once when he has calmed down.

 

PRACTICE

PRACTICE

PRACTICE

 

My kids are very use to their deep breathing now.  Although it is not perfect, if I work with them usually in just a few short minutes they will be calm and then we can actually talk about the problem and work out a solution. 

Real life example:

This morning my 2-year-old woke up at 4:30am and thought it would be a good idea to go down stairs.  When he was told no and to go back to bed he became VERY upset-enough to wake up his brother.  As I began to work with him on his breathing, my 4-year-old came out of the room and said, I will show you how to do it!  In my perfect world we all did some deep breathing and went back to bed.  That did not happen.  But what did happen is that my 2-year-old calmed down and we were able to lay back down and try to get some sleep.  Please let me know if you try it!  It really has changed my life in my parenting skills.

Final thoughts: Remember you have to practice.  My kids got this within a week or so.  Some days will be better than others.  You need to help guide them.  Sometimes I think we just assume our kids should know how to calm down but really someone has to teach them.  If your kids struggle with anxiety, this is a great tool to teach them as well.  It can be done without anyone even noticing.  Also moms, when you need that much needed BREAK and hide in the bathroom for a few minutes (lets face it we all do it and possibly with chocolate) use that time to practice your deep breathing.  It can be a game changer.  Good Luck!

 

Choose Happiness,

Jessica Lynn