As a mum of three girls and now a granddaughter, I know the ups and downs of kids and holidays. The holidays are great fun, excitement (and sugar!) for kids which tends to rev up all that natural energy to new (and sometimes uncontrollable) heights. But it also means they are off their regular schedule and can hit emotional and physical lows.
Whichever direction they’re going in – high or low – kids give off warning signs, or what I call the PANIC (Pay Attention! Nearing Impending Chaos!) BUTTON. It’s the button they release about 5-10 minutes before it all hits the fan. The problem with the holidays is you may be too busy to hear it.
So in particular during holidays, it’s important to watch for the “PANIC BUTTON” signs, often exhibited first through physical behavior. And know what I’m talking about – the wriggling, fidgeting, running, jumping, poking, prodding, hanging on you, etc., etc. These attention-seeking behaviors can quickly melt down if you don’t recognize them for what they probably are -- a simple need to release some physical energy – which more than likely will help calm them down! Here’s how it works…
Physical movement oxygenates the blood, which makes us feel better and more in control. Movement releases endorphins, of course, which lightens our mood. And movement stimulates the Reticular Activating System which helps the brain refocus.
And here’s something I’ve learned the hard way – PANIC BUTTON behavior will only get worse if you don’t recognize it for what it is. Try not to jump to the conclusion that he’s being naughty when maybe all he really needs is a run around the yard, or some rough ‘n tumble floor time with you, or a dance to your favorite holiday songs!
So, when you feel the PANIC BUTTON is about to go off, remember, tis the season to be patient... fa-la-la-la-la-la… and GET MOVING… la-la-la-la!
To prevent a full scale PANIC BUTTON moment, have strategies in place and ready to go. Here's one that always worked with my kids...
Take any paper you have handy like wrapping paper or newspaper, and rip it into long, thin pieces. Lay the pieces out on the floor in a long, straight line, then start the game.
WALK THE LINE
Walk the Wrap Line without stepping off!
HOP THE LINE
Hop over the Wrap Line first to the left, then to the right, without touching it.
LEAP THE LINE
Leap Frog the Wrap Line. This can be done with two or more children, or if you’ve got the time, leap in and have some fun yourself!
Mix it up however you like and make up your own rules based on your child’s capabilities. You’ll be surprised at how much fun a bit of scrap paper can be!