Epi #27: Managing Your Triggers Through Daily TransitionsSep 27, 2022
Managing Your Triggers Through Daily Transitions
Hey, Cycle Breakers! It’s the end of September and our back-to-school series. Today, we’re discussing ways to manage your triggers through daily transitions. You know, those times when you’re rushing to get the kids ready for school, practice, etc. and they’re stalling or not following through, and you’re tired and/or hungry. Talk about a recipe for disaster! We’ve been there and want to walk you through it.
Check-In With Yourself:
As soon as you notice yourself feeling stressed, try doing a full-body scan. Pause. Where do you feel the anxiety/tension in your body? Honor your emotions at the moment and try to find ways to ground yourself: allow the sun to hit your face, walk barefoot on the carpet/tile/hardwood floor/grass, run your hands under cold water and splash some on your face. Otherwise, your kids pick up on that energy, match it, and meet you there. Then, everyone’s emotionally dysregulated and the situation worsens. Just as their energy affects us, ours does the same to them, too.
Give Them A Heads-Up:
Before making a request for your kids to do something, check to see if they’re in the middle of something, like eating, watching cartoons, playing with their toys, or texting a friend. This simple action could prevent lots of frustration for you both!
Rachael likened it to a spouse scenario, where one spouse tells the other it’s time to do the dishes, even though that spouse already knows what they have to do and is in the middle of watching their favorite show. How would you react? Annoyed? Disrespected? It’s exactly the same with our kids. Just because they’re young, doesn’t mean they don’t feel the same things as adults in the same circumstances. We’re all human, after all.
Consider giving them a few reminders: verbally, visually, or otherwise. For example, you could say, “Hey, you’ll need to put your shoes on in 15 minutes, so please start finishing up.”, then turn over a 15-minute sand timer or set an alarm. Ultimately, you want to set them up for success, so that it translates into a smooth transition for all.
Remember that You’re They’re Safe Space:
When you’ve created a secure attachment with your children, they know that you’ll love them unconditionally and feel like they can trust you with their big, messy emotions and behaviors because you’ll still love and accept them, unlike others who’ll likely punish, shame, or abandon them. It seems counter-intuitive, but it’s true! Remember, they’re holding all of this in while they’re in school, practice, etc, so once they’re in the safety of your presence, they feel safe enough to fall apart, knowing that you’re there to catch them and help build them back up.
Sometimes we have to get creative to get our kids to comply. With tweens/teens, who tend to be night owls, I’d allow them to experience the natural consequences of going to bed late because they’re capable of understanding the cause and effect of their decision to go to sleep late. With younger kids, though, I’d encourage you to try making it fun, like a game or something silly. Even if you feel you aren’t really good at being silly, it’s still possible to be playful.
For example, when it came to getting one of my 6 year old twin boys to brush his teeth, I pretended not to know where the toothbrush went. I just said, “There’s a button on this face that opens the mouth.” Then, I tapped on his nose and asked, “Is this the button?” He said, “Nooo.” I did it a couple more times, as he laughed, and willingly opened his mouth to get his teeth brushed. A brief, simple, playful game served a double purpose: it allowed us to connect and achieve the goal of getting his teeth cleaned.
Rachael suggested a similar tactic with her sister, who was having trouble getting her toddler to allow her to change his diaper. Rachael suggested for her sister to pretend as if his favorite plushie, a dinosaur, was making the diaper-change request, choosing his clothes for preschool, etc. Well, it was a hit! Her nephew LOVED it and got a kick out seeing his dinosaur getting a diaper change.
It’s important to remember that kids don’t need anything fancy or elaborate to laugh and learn, just some playful creativity is the BEST way to learn, connect, and meet both our needs for fun!*
If you’re interested in learning more about how you can keep your cool with your kids, we invite you to register for Rachael’s NEW masterclass, “The 3 Secrets to End the Cycle of Yelling & Overreacting As A Parent”. It’s happening on Friday, September 30th, 2022, at 7pm EST on Zoom. Simply click the link below to register:
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