Tuesday, December 10, 2013

7 Ways to Get Some Sanity Back

Everyone of us has had to deal with it from time to time. It doesn't matter if it's one kid or 20 sometimes they just get under your skin. What's worse is sometimes you can even tell that they're enjoying it. So, how do you turn the tables on them AND get them to do what you want at the same time?

Yell back at them. No, I don't mean scream at them to shut their little mouths and behave. Example: Little Suzy is screaming something at the top of her lungs about how much she loves cats. No matter what else you've tried she just won't stop because obviously you are just not understanding how much she loves those cats. Stop. Look at her and grin really big. Then *yell* "I love cats so very much too! But yelling hurts my throat! Does it hurt yours?!? Let's try ..." drop your voice (and if you can drop to your knees) "whispering about how much we love cats. I bet that won't hurt our voices." This will usually begin a whispering game and all the yelling will be forgotten. (This does tend to work best with younger children below the age of say, 10 or 11. However, used sparingly this can even work with them from time to time.)

Let them throw stuff. Nope, I'm not saying that you should let them throw those hard as a rock wooden blocks at each other. Example: Little Jonny has been enjoying throwing his car at unsuspecting siblings while your preoccupied with laundry. We all know there's a ton of mismatched socks lurking around in our houses. Make them into "sock balls" by rolling them up and make a basket out of a laundry basket or box. "Jonny, I see that you're really enjoying throwing things today. Mommy needs help with these socks that don't match. Do you think you can help me make some balls out of them and throw them all into that box over there? It would really help me." You can also wrangle an older sibling into attempting to sort some of these socks, so that matches made into balls go into one "basket" while non matched sock balls go into another "basket". Even my 11 year old can be conned into matching socks when it's made into a basketball game.

Let them make a mess. OK, so this one doesn't really have a trick to it. But, let's just say that you have guests coming over and you've got a million and one things to do to get the house ready. Instead of fighting the never ending mess battle redirect them into another room or area. Preferably somewhere where you can shut the door on the mess and forget about it until after your guests are gone. If you can't get them in another room to make a mess that you can shut the door on you can still limit the mess area. I will tend to let the children who can't be convinced to go to a room to make a mess use one corner of our living room to spread out the toys and get messy in. When my guests arrive I put on a big smile and say something like, "Don't you just LOVE Little Lisa's creativity!?! She's been working on that (insert weird game child is playing with tons of toys here) all day long. I didn't have the heart to ask her to clean it up. I hope you don't mind." Nine times out of ten that person will smile and say that of course they don't mind.

Let them draw on those walls. OK, I can hear the protests now. Give me a second and I'll explain. You know a ton of younger children (and not so young children) have a tendency to draw on walls from time to time. Why not paint a section of their room (or your school room, or even better both) with either chalkboard paint or dry erase paint? This allows total freedom to draw or write whatever they'd like (barring cuss words of course, or lewd pictures) on the wall within the area given. It saves you massive time on repainting or cleaning with magic erase sponges. They get to draw on the walls (which is normally taboo). It's a win win. When we finally finish our kitchen there will even be a chalkboard painted section near the microwave for little notes to each other or the shopping list.

** If they've already drawn something and you've not been able to clean it off of the wall and the wall isn't painted with chalkboard paint don't freak out. Before you go spend lots of money at the hardware store on new paint for that wall, go get a small amount of wall moulding (crown, base, whatever) and frame that bad boy! I'm not saying to leave it there until Junior is old enough to move out for college, but go ahead and leave it there until their artistic tagging abilities have found another outlet. It is sure to be a conversation starter. **

Tell them your head is going to explode! OK, so this one doesn't work so well with my 11 year old. He's figured out that it isn't going to literally explode and that chances are I'm not going to go over the edge if he continues on with whatever behavior he's doing at the time. However, this DID work on him for several years and still works on his sisters. "Mommy's head is about to explode! Your noise/actions are making all this pressure in my head and it's gonna pop!" This said as convincingly and with as much pain in your voice as possible is bound to stop most children in their tracks, at least temporarily and buy you those few precious moments you need to gather yourself back together.

Mimic them. We've all been there. Our "names" being said for what feels like a billion times only to be followed up after our billionth "What?" with the response of "I love you." Yup. Cute. Once. After that you begin to dread the sound of them saying "Mommy" in that tone of voice. Daddy and I have been known to mimic the kids who are doing this right back. Not just until they stop doing it to us but until we can hear the sound of their own frustration and then we say, "I love you." The average response to this is a round of giggles and an abatement of the whole thing for awhile. It doesn't ever really end until they're a bit past age seven, but this will save your sanity on a long car ride.

When all else fails build yourself a blanket fort and hide. Nope, not joking here. Kids driving you batty? Go get some of the big blankets and sheets meant for your bed and build a blanket for right in the middle of the living room, dining room, wherever they'll see you. Make a sign for it for the older kids saying "No kids allowed!" Crawl inside and close it up taking with you a good book, game, or puzzle. When they begin to bother you to allow them to come inside or ask why they can't come in respond with. "You're being mean! You never listen to me! I'm not sharing until you be nice!" No one can resist a blanket fort for long.

I'm linking up today with Weird Unsocialized Homeschoolers for List It {Tuesday}.
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  1. Mimicking their behavior while shopping is a quick way to curb attitudes with the older ones. I'll whine at my 13 year old to please grab that box of cereal, because my legs hurt and I don't want to walk anymore. I also have been known to pick up on my 9 year olds game of hopscotch down the aisle. My boys quickly realize that I'm not going to behave like a normal parent until they straighten up. Thankfully we shop at the same store often and the employees stopped looking at me funny months ago ;)

    1. I'll have to try that hopscotch thing! Seems like every time I turn around these girls of mine are playing some form of hopscotch in stores. I bet it'll be easier than trying to convince every store nation wide to get rid of those wonderful foot square tiles they use!