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How to Relax Around Your Young Children

How to Relax Around Your Young Children


    It is very easy to relax around other people’s children, but not so much around your own young ones — and by “young” I am speaking between the ages of 3 and 6 years old.

    If you are a parent at a playground brimming with kids, and you suddenly hear a shrieking cry or the sound of an almighty temper tantrum, nothing is more relaxing at that precarious moment to find that the culprit is not your child.

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    But what if it is your child?

    Are you the kind of parent who just freaks out? Are you constantly on a knife’s edge with merely the thought of your child potentially misbehaving, getting into accidents or creating an ungodly mess?

    I certainly am.

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    However, I have gotten a lot better over the years by following these general guidelines:

    Get Off Your Helicopter

    It seems that the “helicopter” school of parenting has garnered a tremendous following in recent years. This style of parenting involves constantly hovering above your children, closely supervising every bit of their activities. While I understand the preciousness with which all parents regard their off-springs, such a modus operandi is not only suffocating for the kids, but can produce insufferable stress for the parents.

    Having started out as a severe practitioner of this parenting method, I have gradually learnt that my two boys (aged 3 and 5) are actually much more resilient than they appear, that they do not need constant encouragement or positive sideline commentary when playing, and that the messes they create (whether on their bodies or around the house/car) are rarely irreversible.

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    More importantly, by getting off my “helicopter”, I have realised how much more I enjoy being around my children, and how less often my shoulders and neck strain from the anxiety of surveying their every move.

    Respect the Kids’ Clocks

    Some parents expect their children to promptly respond to commands. Unfortunately, children do not usually respond to a request the first few times (if at all). This naturally leads to the parent repeating the request (“brush your teeth”, “cleaning up your toys”, “turn off the TV”) again and again, with each iteration accompanied by increasing irritation. It has taken this long for me to realise, however, that my children are not deliberately defying me in such situations but are merely following their own internal clocks.

    While I count the Greenwich-Meridian-based seconds after each request, ruminating as to why they are not responding, my boys usually hear the request but decide to attend to it after whatever it is they are doing at that time, be it assembling a Transformer kit, trying to cram a teddy bear into the kitchen drawer or playing an iPad app that I never knew I had. The point is, eventually, they do respond, just not in the timeframe that I autocratically expect. On the other hand, their tendency to respond markedly deteriorates the more I repeat the request because the repetition then becomes white background noise.

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    So, tell your kids what to do in firm fashion—contrary to some new-age thinking, I believe you have the right to do that as a parent. However, give the little ones a chance to respond in their own time. This will not only eliminate much angst but will help you avoid that dreaded “nagging parent” perception in your children’s eyes.

    Breathe and Smile

    Beyond their clocks, parents need to respect that children are little people with their own personalities and idiosyncrasies. Consequently, it is rare (in my experience anyway) that they will behave in a way that perfectly meshes with your own standard or emotional state. Once you accept that, the only way to relax around your children is to set the broad, non-negotiable limits and then allow your kids a free rein within those limits.

    Of course, they will still do things within those boundaries that make you uneasy or anxious. However, that is where the “breathe & smile” technique comes in handy—a crude but powerful technique that invariably puts things in their proper context and makes you feel blessed to have children of your own.

    Young children between the ages of 3 and 6 are, by their very nature, excitable creatures foreign to the concept of being “relaxed”—that glorious state in which they are so agreeable and malleable. One way they learn is by watching how their parents behave. So, instead of inadvertently having your agitated emotional state rub off on them, learn to relax around your children. It is good for them developmentally, great for their perception of your persona, and downright invaluable for your own emotional well-being.

    (Photo credit: FAther and Young Son Fishing via Shutterstock)

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    Last Updated on March 13, 2019

    How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

    How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

    Have you gotten into a rut before? Or are you in a rut right now?

    You know you’re in a rut when you run out of ideas and inspiration. I personally see a rut as a productivity vacuum. It might very well be a reason why you aren’t getting results. Even as you spend more time on your work, you can’t seem to get anything constructive done. While I’m normally productive, I get into occasional ruts (especially when I’ve been working back-to-back without rest). During those times, I can spend an entire day in front of the computer and get nothing done. It can be quite frustrating.

    Over time, I have tried and found several methods that are helpful to pull me out of a rut. If you experience ruts too, whether as a working professional, a writer, a blogger, a student or other work, you will find these useful. Here are 12 of my personal tips to get out of ruts:

    1. Work on the small tasks.

    When you are in a rut, tackle it by starting small. Clear away your smaller tasks which have been piling up. Reply to your emails, organize your documents, declutter your work space, and reply to private messages.

    Whenever I finish doing that, I generate a positive momentum which I bring forward to my work.

    2. Take a break from your work desk.

    Get yourself away from your desk and go take a walk. Go to the washroom, walk around the office, go out and get a snack.

    Your mind is too bogged down and needs some airing. Sometimes I get new ideas right after I walk away from my computer.

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    3. Upgrade yourself

    Take the down time to upgrade yourself. Go to a seminar. Read up on new materials (#7). Pick up a new language. Or any of the 42 ways here to improve yourself.

    The modern computer uses different typefaces because Steve Jobs dropped in on a calligraphy class back in college. How’s that for inspiration?

    4. Talk to a friend.

    Talk to someone and get your mind off work for a while.

    Talk about anything, from casual chatting to a deep conversation about something you really care about. You will be surprised at how the short encounter can be rejuvenating in its own way.

    5. Forget about trying to be perfect.

    If you are in a rut, the last thing you want to do is step on your own toes with perfectionist tendencies.

    Just start small. Do what you can, at your own pace. Let yourself make mistakes.

    Soon, a little trickle of inspiration will come. And then it’ll build up with more trickles. Before you know it, you have a whole stream of ideas.

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    6. Paint a vision to work towards.

    If you are continuously getting in a rut with your work, maybe there’s no vision inspiring you to move forward.

    Think about why you are doing this, and what you are doing it for. What is the end vision in mind?

    Make it as vivid as possible. Make sure it’s a vision that inspires you and use that to trigger you to action.

    7. Read a book (or blog).

    The things we read are like food to our brain. If you are out of ideas, it’s time to feed your brain with great materials.

    Here’s a list of 40 books you can start off with. Stock your browser with only the feeds of high quality blogs, such as Lifehack.org, DumbLittleMan, Seth Godin’s Blog, Tim Ferris’ Blog, Zen Habits or The Personal Excellence Blog.

    Check out the best selling books; those are generally packed with great wisdom.

    8. Have a quick nap.

    If you are at home, take a quick nap for about 20-30 minutes. This clears up your mind and gives you a quick boost. Nothing quite like starting off on a fresh start after catching up on sleep.

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    9. Remember why you are doing this.

    Sometimes we lose sight of why we do what we do, and after a while we become jaded. A quick refresher on why you even started on this project will help.

    What were you thinking when you thought of doing this? Retrace your thoughts back to that moment. Recall why you are doing this. Then reconnect with your muse.

    10. Find some competition.

    Nothing quite like healthy competition to spur us forward. If you are out of ideas, then check up on what people are doing in your space.

    Colleagues at work, competitors in the industry, competitors’ products and websites, networking conventions.. you get the drill.

    11. Go exercise.

    Since you are not making headway at work, might as well spend the time shaping yourself up.

    Sometimes we work so much that we neglect our health and fitness. Go jog, swim, cycle, whichever exercise you prefer.

    As you improve your physical health, your mental health will improve, too. The different facets of ourselves are all interlinked.

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    Here’re 15 Tips to Restart the Exercise Habit (and How to Keep It).

    12. Take a good break.

    Ruts are usually signs that you have been working too long and too hard. It’s time to get a break.

    Beyond the quick tips above, arrange for a 1-day or 2-days of break from your work. Don’t check your (work) emails or do anything work-related. Relax and do your favorite activities. You will return to your work recharged and ready to start.

    Contrary to popular belief, the world will not end from taking a break from your work. In fact, you will be much more ready to make an impact after proper rest. My best ideas and inspiration always hit me whenever I’m away from my work.

    Take a look at this to learn the importance of rest: The Importance of Scheduling Downtime

    More Resources About Getting out of a Rut

    Featured photo credit: Joshua Earle via unsplash.com

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