We all want more joy, less cranky. It can be a bit of a vicious cycle at times, the cranky flies back and forth between the little people and the big people, it takes a lot of mindfulness and self care to manage this! Do you find yourself responding to cranky with cranky? I think that is a bit of a default for me, and realising this recently has helped me to take a breath and step into that sacred space before I react.
Here are some of the ways that I find helpful to calm my cranky child:
♡ Hug it out. Let go of the judgement, remember that children are growing, developing and learning how to be from you. It doesn’t matter if you are the source of their frustration, it is not about blame or discipline most of the time, it is about compassion. Instead of using words simply take them into your arms and hold them until they start to breathe again.
♡ Put them in water. I use this one a lot, either the bath, the pool or the ocean, and it never fails. It doesn’t matter what time of the day it is, find some water, strip them down and allow them the cleansing, healing therapy of water!
♡ Meditate. I have always spoken to my little man about meditation, always shown him ways to meditate and always led by example. He has been sitting in lotus position chanting for many years now however since the recently turned 6 he has recently turned a corner in the depths of his interest in this practice. He really responds well to deep breathing when anxious or upset, and especially when he is cranky and out of sorts. Simply sit close to your child, hold their hand and ask them to close their eyes while you enjoy some long slow breaths together.
♡ Feed them some goodness. I find that the more clean and pure the food, the less crankiness! It makes sense that chemicals and sugar contribute to bad moods in our little people and ourselves so avoid these things as much as you can. My cranky child tends to respond well to a bright freshly cut fruit salad, fresh vegetables such a carrot, cucumber and capsicum cut into sticks. He also really loves a picnic, sometimes just on our balcony to change the scenery if things are going pear shaped at dinner time.
♡ Try some herbal tea. A diluted chamomile tea is a bit of a novelty and creating a little tea party is a fun distraction.
♡ Read to them. Grab some of their favourite things such as comfort toys and blankets and create a little reading space for times when you need to calm the crankiness. We have a beautiful big daybed where we retreat for many things including peaceful reading sessions.
♡ Bring them back to stillness. Light some candles, put on some calming music (I love the meditation and spa channels on Pandora) and remove distractions. My little man actually really likes a candlelit bath, he has always seen me to do this and now he also sits quietly in the bath some nights simply breathing and staring at the candles!
♡ Do something creative. Draw, paint, take photos, upcycle, make cards for friends, edit some photos, make a photo album or scrap book, the options are endless and creativity always trumps crankiness!
♡ Get out into nature. Fresh air and greenery generally works really well with cranky children! Put your feet in some fresh grass, pick some flowers, lie under the clouds or the stars, go for a bushwalk.
♡ Switch off technology and media. I know, this is not my usual recommendation, I love all of the technology! At times it can be over stimulating for your little people so be sure to set limits and boundaries so that they have plenty of other less stressful influences, and be ruthless with the technology and the media that you allow into their worlds.
Do you have any other tips for calming your cranky little people?