Being calm and modeling that for our children will do more for them than any class at school or any extra-curricular activity. Being calm shows children and teens a way to approach problems, a way to carry an inner confidence and the strength that we need to get through life. What a wonderful start to give children and teenagers!
Many parents ask me how can I parent from a place of calm? And I ask them, what prevents you from doing that? Sometimes the answer is MY CHILDREN! LOL. With that in mind, I would like to share with you some of the ways I help myself come from a calmer place.
- Understand developmental stages – This might be the number one thing to help you realize that “this is a stage, this too shall pass” and “I can help guide, but it will most likely work out!” Understanding developmental stages makes you feel less stressed, and more connected to your child. It is much easier to connect and have empathy if you know this is a normal developmental stage.
- Let logical consequences prevail. I see too many parents bailing their children out of small things that really their older children need to fail and learn from that failure. One prime example is homework and projects, where the child procrastinates and waits until the night before it is due and then is screaming for help to get it done. Failure, and the ability to know that one can come back from failure and know one can triumph is a far bigger lesson than whatever the project was. Let them fail! Making restitution is an important part of logical consequences, no matter what the age of the child.
- Get the energy out. Many parents say their children prevent them from being calm and my guess is most of the time the children just have too much energy. Get the energy out! Be active with them, and most of all, get rid of the screens. The screens do nothing to get energy out and to help everyone be calm. Which leads to…
- Be outside. Most things are calmer outside. Especially if you have children under the age of 14, you should be outside every afternoon in some form of unstructured play. Teens need this too, but the reality is many teens do have commitments at that point and cannot be outside every afternoon like that. However, do make it a priority for those under 14. You will never, ever get those under 14 years back.
- Limit activities outside the home and plan for rest and downtime. Do not go out every day, even if it is fun things! Be home! A child and teen needs to know that the home is more than a launching pad to get to a class or activity, and that being home can be fulfilling too.
- Understand that energetic and calm are not contradictory. You can have and be both. This was important for me personally to understand when I looked at all those soft-spoken, quiet Waldorf teachers. I am energetic and dynamic. I like to work and play hard, and it was super important for me to understand being energetic wasn’t a minus and calm is carried in your heart. Being a calm parent could mean you are quiet and soft-spoken but it could also mean you are energetic and fun.
- Have a plan for inner growth and development. This is another complete game-changer. If you profess to follow a religious or spiritual path, and yet invest no time in that at all each day, then you aren’t growing toward compassion, calmness, and all the things you profess to be important. The inner path sets the inner stage for calmness. It can take as little as ten minutes a day, but DO SOMETHING.
- Have something outside of your children as they get older. As children grow, you do hit a point where you have time for some of your own interests or pursuits or to have a date night out or whatever it is that it time without your children. However, the caveat is that no matter how many children you have, they will fill your 100 percent UNLESS you really put the effort into saying, no, this is my time. I find this is especially important to do this with the early teen group who want to be driven a lot of places. I am here for more than just driving and sitting and waiting. Please show your children there is more to the world than just them.
- Know your limits and what you need for self-care! This is the most important one. If you are absolutely empty, then you cannot fulfill being calm. Self-care means different things to different people, so figure out what makes things nurturing for you.
How do you come from a place of calm?
Excellent reminders! Thank you Carrie!
This is such an excellent, timely post, Carrie! I echo the importance of self-care. For me, if nothing else happens but good sleep and rising before the kids to exercise in the morning, I am able to handle the waves of the days much better. For me this is from a place of calm AND connection!!
I don’t ever comment but this helps to remind me of where I really want to be, thank you! I like how you pointed out that calm ( or stillness as a teacher of mine describes it) can be within the energy. 🙂
I struggle sometimes with the days at home with my kids and them wanting play dates with neighboring kids it can be great but sometimes it takes from our just being home time.
I think it is so important to preserve time just as a family as well as a community. That is a balance only you can decide, of course, but I think the fact you notice it and are aware is just wonderful. Then you can decide from there with full intentionality.
Thank you so much for your blog, Carrie! Your wisdom nourishes our family every day! This post is so timely for me!
I’m still going over back posts so maybe you’ve addressed this elsewhere and can direct me there but… I’m wondering what are realistic expectations for “me time” when the children are still very little, nursing, needing me to help them fall asleep, etc. I love AP and being with my boys all the time but sometimes it’s hard to keep my cup full especially because I don’t have a community of mom friends around me and my oldest is very hesitant with social situations so we don’t go out much. Is it a matter of reshaping my ideas of what renews me and finding things I can do at home in ten minutes here and there while my husband watches the kids? I’ve felt selfish about needing more time to myself but I am reading the “Mother Nurture” book and am at high risk for DMS so maybe I need to look at it as a priority for the wellbeing of the family so I can be calmer and healthier I just don’t know how to do it with kids this small. Thank you for any insights you can share.
How old are your children? Love that Mother Nurture book. I remember that being one of the books I read that really pointed out how lacking I was personally in the area of self care. And please remind me what DMS stands for as it has been quite some time since I have read that book!
I have two boys. My baby turns one next month and my oldest is three and a half. I’m so glad I saw the “Mother Nurture” book recommended in one of your old posts. I’m having many “ah-ha!” moments as I read. Oh, and DMS is Depleted Mother Syndrome. thanks again! 🙂
Those are hard ages to garner time in many ways, yet old enough to be with your husband for the morning if your baby is eating some solid foods and drinking out of a cup. If those things are not happening and you are nursing, then you may only get two to three hours. However, I do think you will absolutely have to leave the house or your husband will have to take the children out. With children that small, they will be attracted to you if you are in the house. One time a week is certainly not too much to ask. I also think you will need to take time during rest times and to have naps early enough so bedtime is early and really rest during those times. Sleep is vital in these early ages if you want to be wholeheartedly available during the day.
Blessings, and hope that helps,
Absolutely fabulous post. I want to print this and reread it everyday! Thank you. My favorite line is ‘calm is carried in your heart’
Thank you so much, Carrie! So very helpful. I appreciate all of your insights and your time in replying. I will feel more courageous and less selfish taking some time for myself so that I can help maintain calm and peace in our home. Warmest thanks!