Expressing needs: calm down first

 

I wanted to start our expressing needs challenge with a quick reminder that it’s really hard to think clearly or have empathy for our families when we are physically upset (Dr. Gottman calls it “flooded”). If we notice that our heart rates are high and our bodies are tense,  we may need to start off by taking a good break. What is the nature of a good break? It is at least 20 minutes long. It is thinking about something else besides the argument. By the time the break is over, our bodies are physically relaxed, and our hearts and minds are calm.  

Helping kids to slow down and breathe...

Let's take a look at different ways that we can slow down with our kids to savor the moment together.

  • I recently discovered a book called "Breathe Like a Bear" by Kira Willey.  It is full of ideas for ways to teach little ones to breathe!  Kira is also a songwriter.  Check out her music on your favorite music player!  I've been enjoying "Bunny Breath" and others!  A few of her strategies include:
    • Pretending that we are drinking hot chocolate, taking sips and saying a long "mmmm" or slowly blowing it to cool it down.
    • Pretending that we are hibernating bears taking long, slow, sleepy breaths.  
  •  David Kisor also has some great songs like "Breathe" and "Smell the Flower, Blow the Candle Out"
  • I like to teach little ones to breathe by blowing bubbles and trying to see how big we can blow them!