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4 Steps for Keeping Cool So your Kids Do Too

 

Here is the scene:10 cousins of varying ages are vacationing together at a house on the beach.  There is lots of activity, little sleep and piles of junk food.  Cousin fun can be the best kind of fun, but when rules become lax (as they can on vacation) and there are a lot of personalities involved, emotions can run high–both adults and kids!  

 

So what happens when there is a minor catastrophe—like jellyfish? We learned that if we are calm, our kids will be calm.  If we freak out, they will freak out but even louder!  

 

We had multiple opportunities to perfect our technique.  

 

The first jellyfish sting involved lots of tears, and a frenzy of activity involving googling home remedies, disagreeing on how to proceed and then gathering all of the supplies.  Now add in some shrieking kids-not just the one that was stung.  So jellyfish encounter #1 was not calm.  It was the opposite of calm and threw us all for a loop.  The kids were fearful of the water and the adults were fearful that this would derail the entire beach vacation. Imagine a week at the beach in 90 degree weather and no one swims? Thankfully, kids are resilient and were ready for a swim out to the mat the next morning.  

 

They had a few hours of ocean play before jellyfish encounter #2.  This time we were prepared.  We kept a jellyfish kit with all of the supplies and grabbed it straightaway. The kids were all shrieking and the adults were somewhat calm, but still a little frenzied. We knew exactly what to do, but the implications of 2 jellyfish stings were giving the adults a fair amount of anxiety.  But this jellyfish experience was much better than the first one.  

 

By the time we got to jellyfish encounter #4, we were pros.  We treated it, remained calm and there were no tears.  We reminded the kids that the water was so clear that they could see the jellyfish. We told them they can be prepared and swim around them and also feel confident that their parents had this under control.  They knew the stings could be treated and even if a little painful they had seen their cousins recover quickly and join back in the fun.  

 

The key is keeping your cool.  If you remain calm, your kids will remain calm and you can move through any catastrophe that comes your way.

 

Here is our family jellyfish remedy. I have no idea if or why this all works, but having steps to follow helped keep us all calm.  It transitioned us from the emotional part of our brains to the part that follows logic and reason.  

 

4 Steps  for Keeping Cool So your Kids Do Too

 

  1. Take a deep breath and brace yourself to take the brunt of your child’s emotions. This is the most difficult part. Do not react to the crying, screaming child in front of you.  Feel free to scream into your pillow later, but for now try to be as cool as a cucumber. 
  2. Keep your voice at a calm tone and a bit lower than your normal speaking voice.  This literally changes the physiology in your own body as well as your child’s. 
  3. Remember to problem solve. When your child is emotional about something, at the heart of it is usually a problem to solve. 
  4. Make a plan and calmly tell your child what you are doing.  This will give your child confidence that you know what you are doing. Give them the plan in a step by step format.  

 

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