At this time of year people seem tired and stressed and rushed to get everything done before the end of the year. The question is how is our behaviour, our emotional state and our busyness influencing our children? Are we feeling burnt out? Are we setting up patterns for future burnout in our children? What do we hear ourselves saying to ourselves – I am so tired, it’s only a few weeks to go, I just have to finish…
Our children are learning automatically from our behaviour and feelings. How we are, is teaching them how they will become
There are so many more functions, pressures and commitments at this time of year (concerts, Christmas parties, meetings etc) Do our children have time to relax? Do we have time to relax or do we tell ourselves it is only…..weeks to go, or we will rest on holiday?
Maybe we can do this differently, maybe we can create different patterns….
When we are constantly in a state of busyness we start to create this pattern in our bodies and then it can become uncomfortable to be quiet and have nothing to do. Sometimes our bodies will cope with the stress in the moment and then get sick as soon as we relax on holiday.
It is important for us to set clear outcomes for this period, to consciously make sure that we and our children have downtime scheduled.
Do you dread the day holiday school closes, worrying that your children are going to be bored? We have to entertain them, we have to set up play dates to keep them occupied. Maybe having a bit of “bored” time is okay, maybe it is essential. Having downtime is essential so that their bodies do not get into the habit of being busy the whole time.
Tips to prevent patterns of busyness and burn out in our children
- Schedule quiet time for ourselves – even in the busiest times, even if it is 5 minutes in the morning. Quiet your mind and just empty your thoughts. It is amazing how this can revive you and allow you to be more productive in your day too. Try it…
- Notice what you are saying around them. Replace words like I have so much to do, I am so tired to I can find a way to do what is important, I take care of myself, I am more important that what I have to do. How can I get what I want done and still have time for me?
- Schedule quiet time for your children often – even if they are uncomfortable and grumpy and bored. So often our goal for them to be happy the whole time can get in the way of this. It makes us feel like we are not good parents if our children are not happy and entertained. But that is not the case. Discomfort temporarily with a good long term outcome is far better for them and us! It leads to less responsibility for us in the end where we don’t have the pressure to keep them entertained the whole time.
- Teach them that quiet time is important. Being okay with ourselves when we are quiet and not doing anything develops healthy self-esteem. I can be happy within myself without having to be entertained
- Give them opportunities to play on their own, even if they don’t like it. It is important for them to develop that muscle. Have you ever noticed that it can be uncomfortable for us to have nothing to do. This is because we have never allowed ourselves to have quiet time. Who are we when we are not doing something? Quiet time with no stimulation leads to creativity.
- Be persistent even if it takes a while, in these holidays allocate time daily where they get to play on their own. Be prepared for them to be uncomfortable and maintain your own feelings without getting impatient or frustrated. Allow them to feel uncomfortable. Acknowledge them saying I know it feels uncomfortable and you can find a way. I wonder what you can try? Let them try different things and find their own solution.
- Not being able to play on their own is NOT their personality – it is an important “ life skill” for them to learn
Taking a little time to consciously think about all the decisions we make over this period and be aware of what we are saying to ourselves because we do get to choose, can result in us ending the year feeling energised.
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