Practical Tips For Addressing Everyday Anxiety in Children

My son Bear used to throw terrible fits in public. One time, he screamed to high heaven while pulling every article of clothing in sight as I attempted to leave a department store. I was mortified!

And then in the parking lot…he bit me.

Lord Jesus, save us all…for reals, I almost transformed into the Hulk.

I cried all the way home and then took so many deep breaths I gave myself hiccups.

I sent Bear straight to bed and he slept for THREE HOURS. He had been exhausted.

 

A New Perspective

After that day, I started realizing that the majority of Bear’s “fits” were actually just him reacting to stress.

He was overwhelmed. He was experiencing ANXIETY.

Ah! A word most of us know all too well.

 

Our Little Ones Have So Much Thrown at Them 

Listen. Our kids have far too much thrown at them each day. They are surrounded by toys and all those toys make noise and are painted 117 colors. They have sports and preschool and extracurricular activities and expectations galore. Even their shampoo has more ingredients than a salad bar, and at every. single. moment. we offer them stimulation.

Enough!

I am realizing that I don’t have to “parent like everyone else”. And you know what? I’m loving the freedom in that.

 

Simplify 

Get rid of HALF your toys. This might sound totally insane, but I promise you won’t miss not picking them up anymore. Let’s be crazy together. Donate them!

Strive to stay home 4 nights a weeks. More is GREAT. Less isn’t.

Eliminate three small stressors in YOUR life. For me this means, not matching socks, turning off all the noise, and getting outside. (I know…I live on the wild side.)

 

Live the Life YOU Want

You don’t have to do life like everyone else. Your kids have their own unique struggles and triggers and stressors and STRENGTHS, and so do you. And parents, we are the PERFECT people to help our kids, because we love them most and know them best.

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Living With ALL The Intention

Listen. You don’t have to be famous to be successful. You don’t.

Living a Well-Lived life might not be easy but it is SIMPLE. Really…you only need TWO things: Willingness & Intention.

Willingness – Cheerfully consenting or ready.

Intention – an act of determining mentally upon some action or result.

Take some time to brew yourself a cup of coffee and sit with a blank sheet of paper and write down all the hopes and dreams and visions for your life. Just write. If you should live to be 100, what do you want to look back on and be proud of? WHO do you want to be? WHAT do you want to do?

Me? I want a PHENOMENAL marriage. I want a home full of joy and peace. I want to be healthy in body, mind, and soul. I want my children to grow to love others and love God and I want them to find joy in life. I want to help impoverished people locally and globally in practical and sustainable ways.

What do you want from this one, beautiful life you get? What do you need to surrender? to change?

It takes absolute bravery to step into a life you love, especially if you come from brokenness or a place of abuse. It might actually be the hardest and most scary thing you’ve ever done. You might shake. Hear me when I say, that it’s ok to step forward unsteady. If we waited for fear to leave before we chose to act, we’d be stuck in the muck of indifference indefinitely.

Be brave, dear one! Step into the sun. Pull that foot out of the muck. Turn your eyes toward Jesus and look FULLY.

I promise you will be changed.

 

Learning What Matters in Mothering

After awhile of all this mothering, you start to see that all the small moments are the times that matter most. That all those times you smiled with fondness at them, soaked up a tear with a kiss…all the times you laughed when you’d much rather have shouted, all the times you chose to dance instead of tidy the kitchen, and all the times you let them sink their little hands into the hot, soap water next to yours, THOSE are the times that matter the MOST.

Chores are an inevitable part of life. Laundry must be folded, dishes must be washed, meals prepared…and on and on the list goes.

There will always be more to do.  A L W A Y S.

And honestly, chores are really important. I’ve never been a fan of “good moms have messy houses”.

Don’t get me wrong, my friends and family have all witnessed my complete inability to manage the wave of chaos my children can create. And it’s ok! Seasons come and go. And I know that right now I’m in a very messy, and unpredictable season of life with three kids five and under. I work really hard to maintain my home, but right now, I am barely keeping my head afloat. B A R E L Y !

For me, creating a tidy, uncluttered home full of good food and joy is so important to me. It is what I strive for. But you know what? It’s also just OK that my home doesn’t look the same with three kids as it did with one. Phew!

And in those moments of frustration and will-you-please-stop-hitting-your-brother and can-I-just-go-pee-by-myself and oh my gosh, don’t eat that!…I am learning to find joy in all our crazy.

For us, this usually looks like a cup of coffee and a snack and several pages of ISPY (since it’s winter) while the sink overflows with dishes. Or maybe a 15 minute break to watch funny animal videos on YouTube – do not underestimate the power of some belly laughs to completely change your day around.

Go and do your chores. Fold that laundry! Declutter!

But also remember to PAUSE and DELIGHT in the childhood you are privileged to witness each day.