Creating CALM for kids and families in an overwhelming world

As we head into a busy time of year with spring holidays, school breaks, outdoor sports, proms, graduations and “almost summer” activities (in addition to the usual therapy, tutoring, religious education and other family activities), it’s easy to get over-scheduled and overwhelmed.

When we look at our calendars for April, May and June there isn’t much free time and a lot of running around (especially for Dr. Susan whose son is playing travel soccer AND baseball this year.)

As busy moms with busy and quirky kids, we got to talking about how parents need support in managing the stress of parenting in an overwhelming world. It’s often hard to get off the tread mill and corral the chaos.

And it can be especially hard in families where one (or more) child needs support in time management, organization and transitioning from task to task.

What we all need (ourselves included!) is a holistic dose of CALM.

CALM is a developmental parenting model we created that provides a framework for busy families to better manage stress and overwhelm, and focus on healthy connection and peace at home.

CALM stands for:

C= Creating peace inside and out

A = Allowing for authentic success

L = Letting go of “shoulds” and perfection

M = Making strides toward independence

We’ll be discussing each piece of the CALM model in upcoming newsletters and blog posts.

This week we are staring with C – Creating peace inside and out.

The first step in our C.A.L.M. model is all about Creating Peace Inside and Out

We are talking about creating peace for yourself, peace for your children, and peace in your home.

It is not an accident that we chose the word CALM to define our model for families living with executive dysfunction issues.

It is not an accident that finding some peacefulness is the first step.

Creating Peace is the foundation for all further change. If chaos reigns and every interaction is a struggle it is hard to catch your breath. It is hard to prioritize and create an agenda for change. It is hard to start to build the skills that your child needs.

Peacefulness gives everyone a chance to breathe.

Creating a peaceful learning environment sets the stage for increased connection in your family.

Now no one is suggesting that your family should be calm and peaceful all the time.

That does not exist.

And of course every family has its own unique way of expressing itself.

But you know if the stress of daily interactions makes every day a struggle.

You know if you are stuck in a cycle of negativity that leaves you and your children stressed out and in conflict.

We are not here to suggest there is an easy fix.

But there are a few simple things you can do today to make life just a little less complicated and a little more peaceful

Simplify. Take a few deep breaths. Help your children do the same. Triage some of the things on your “to do” lists in the service of clearing the deck and adding some peacefulness to your interactions.

Peace can come from playing quiet music in the house while everyone has a snack after school.

Peace can look like dimming the lights at dinner time and lighting a candle or two.

Peace can come from turning off the screens a few minutes early to snuggle and read a book together.

Peace can be serving scrambled eggs, cereal or pancakes for dinner instead of stressing over a “sensible” meal.

Peace can look like taking 10 minutes for everyone in the family to pick up their mess and put it away so you all can enjoy stress free time together.

Peace can be a hug that lasts 5 seconds longer than usual.

Know that increasing peace in your family and increasing connection with your child will be your most effective long-term strategy for helping your child. Change and growth can only occur when everyone feels safe, secure and relaxed.

We know this is not always easy. When your child struggles at home and at school the issues pile on. It can feel like you have to take a stand and address them all at once. And taking time to slow down can feel like giving up or giving in.

But if chaos reigns and you want more peaceful interactions, only you as the parent can make the choices that make allow that happen.

Remember, Creating Peace inside and out is just one step. CALM Parenting is about creating a foundation for change now and building skills for success in the future.

We hope you can join us for our introductory free workshop:

“Creating CALM: The 4 Steps to Less Stress at Home.”

Date: May 2, 2014

Time: 12:00pm – 1:00pm ET

Where: Your home or office (we meet by teleclass)

Please click here to register for this FREE class