By Cristin Howard from Smart Parent Advice
Life gets hectic, especially when you’re a parent.
It’s easy to get caught up in the endless cycle of things to do. Laundry, cooking, cleaning, sports practices, birthday parties; the list goes on and on.
By the end of the day, it’s a race to get the kids to bed and then cram in all the other things you didn’t have time for before collapsing yourself. While it’s a good idea, in theory, for parents to make time for themselves to relax and unwind, sometimes there just aren’t enough hours in a day.
But your kids being up and awake doesn’t mean that you can’t take a break from the constant, fast pace of your day. Bring them into the fold with one of these five great activities to relax with your kids.
Bubble blowing is a tried and true way to regulate stress through mindful breathing. The slow, steady stream of air required to blow that perfect bubble will help slow your mind and your heart rate with every breath.
I know it’s tempting to pour the bubble solution into a bubble machine and let the kids enjoy, but consider keeping them involved. By participating in the actual production of bubbles, kids will learn to regulate their own breathing and improve focus and concentration.
If you really want to keep them engaged, try making your own, super strong bubble solution and pulling out a pair of knit gloves. With the gloves, kids will be able to handle the stronger bubbles delicately, but only if they’re deliberate and careful - a sure-fire way to take the crazy down just a notch or two.
With the surge in adult colouring books, it’s pretty clear that there are some serious mental health benefits to this soothing activity. The crayons’ simple back and forth motion is therapeutic, and it engages just the right amount of brainpower to keep you from reaching for your phone because you’re bored.
Colouring is also one of those rare activities that appeal to a wide age range. Some soft music, some large colouring in sheets, and a set of crayons specifically saved for family colouring time will work together to give you and your kids a desperately needed respite from continually running to and fro.
Play in the Sand
Different textures help us relax, and sand is one of them. While I prefer warm sand on my toes or hands, cool sand is also very soothing and can help you relax and enjoy the moment.
Even if you can’t make it to the beach as often as you like, a trip to the park with a sandbox, or even putting one in your backyard will allow you to reap the relaxing rewards of playing in the sand.
If you’re not one to just sit back and enjoy the texture, try using a rake to help work out your worries, or go one step farther and create a small sand pile, sculpture, or castle. Using your hands for creative movement will help both you and your kids relax until it’s time to clean up of course!
The benefits of yoga extend to both physical and mental health, including relaxing and meditation. The focused breathing that you use during yoga practice can be applied in many other situations to help you remain calm and shed stress.
There are many avenues for family yoga, from books that you can read and pose, videos, and guided audio meditations. Pick one that works for you, or try them all to keep things new and exciting.
Getting your whole body involved in the relaxation process will help you enjoy the faster-paced activities in other areas of your life.
Often seen as an idyllic way to spend retirement, going fishing with your kids is a fantastic way to take a step back from the world and enjoy the peace and stillness of nature.
Even young kids enjoy fishing from both the bank or a boat (nothing fancy needed, a small kayak or canoe works) The water has a calming effect for most people, and kids quickly learn that they must be still and quiet in order to catch a fish.
Fishing allows ample opportunity for spending quiet time together and having conversations uninterrupted by technology or the rest of the world.
Make the Time
It’s easy to fall into the trap of never having enough time to slow down. But you can decide to seek out opportunities with your family to relax and quiet your mind.
It may seem impossible, but lower stress levels and calmer attitudes are worth carving the time out of your busy schedule.
Calm moments might not be the ones that make the cutest photographs, but they definitely teach your children life skills and put them on a path to manage stress later in their lives.
About the author
Cristin Howard runs Smart Parent Advice, a site that provides parenting advice for moms and dads. Cristin writes about all of the different ups and downs of parenting, provides solutions to common challenges, and reviews products that parents need to purchase for babies and toddlers.