Staying calm as a parent may come easier for some more than others. It hasn’t always been easy for me as I raise twin girls who are fiercely independent and stubborn.
Where’s the parenting handbook that works for MY life?
That’s right … there isn’t one.
And while I strongly believe that family wellness has to be a holistic experience of building rituals and routines that are personalized for YOUR life and family … I also know there are some universal truths to being calm.
That’s what I’m sharing here in this post on how to be a calm parent.
I’ve learned so many lessons on this topic in the last 13 years as a mother who wants to be positive and empowering — as well as strong and calm. I hope to pass a few on to other parents who might be struggling with keeping their cool.
In fact, it is my great wish that parents would read this blog and change the way they are parenting so that they, too, can be the calm they wish to see in the world — which is wholeheartedly the way of being an Abundant Mama.
Over the years, I’ve had the honor of helping many families implement family wellness strategies to bring a level of peace and calm to the whole family.
But here, in this post, I’m sharing how to be a calm parent because staying calm in the midst of a defiant child or a child who is melting down can be so incredibly hard.
I want you to know you are not alone. I call my defiant child my fiery one because that is exactly what she can be and how I respond to her matters.
25 Ways to Be a Calm Parent
- Own Your Nos. There are times when I say no without even thinking and then one no leads to another no and soon we’re in a vicious cycle. I’ve learned that by really thinking before I respond I feel authentic power when I do say no — or yes. Try hard to not rush to saying no to your child just because of inconvenience.
- Be open to Yes. There’s a ton of power in the word YES. Y-E-S. Conscious Yeses are beautiful. Conscious Yeses transform families. Conscious Yeses are cause for celebration.
- Read. Read everything you can that makes you feel happy and that reminds you to remain calm. I have a whole nightstand filled with books that I pull out when I need a pick-me-up or as a reminder to remain calm and relaxed as a parent. Some are parenting books. Some are inspirational books. Others are just beautiful and get me thinking creatively, which is the best way to parent, in my experience.
- Solitude. I suspect that many of us who struggle with staying calm in the chaos also struggle with noise. Some people — extroverts — are happy with a ton of noise. As a highly sensitive mom, I need solitude and silence every single day in order to maintain my own inner peace and calm. Silence is often the medicine we need to replenish and rejuvenate ourselves and yet it may be the hardest to make happen. There are many other ways to stay at peace.
- Take a deep breath. The biggest rule we should ever abide by is to never, ever punish a child when we’re angry. Just don’t. Heed this advice and you’ll always be a calm parent. Instead, work on returning to your calm, balanced state so you can make powerful decisions with impact. Separate the kids and then walk away. Step outside. Or, go to your room and close the door and lay on your bed until you are calm. Run down to the basement. Put on some music in your ear buds. Something. Anything. Just breathe and calm down before you even attempt to react.
- Get up early. Having time to yourself is absolutely essential. Period. I have been rising at least an hour earlier than my family for years and it’s the one must-do in my day that I never, ever miss no matter what. Rising and Shining is a crucial part of my own self-care and it has been the case for many of my clients as well as we work together on building the optimal morning routine for flourishing in life.
- Go to bed early. It’s true that going to bed early has many wonderful benefits. Being fully rested for life as a mother is key. You can’t be a good parent if you are too tired to think, too tired to come up with creative responses and solutions or too tired to ignore the small things.
- Get a hobby. I journal and do a lot of personal growth work for my own inner joy. For others, though, there’s hobbies like exercising, cooking or sewing or quilting or crocheting. Even more are finding a love in photography, baking, blogging, or gardening. We all have that one thing that just fills us up, that gives us a different purpose in life. Devote yourself to something that will get your mind on something other than your child’s misbehavior.
- Energize yourself. This is my all-time favorite thing to do in my day. Choose the things that you love and that make you happy and do them every day. In my e-course, I’ll share my own list. Inside my core program, The Abundant Mama Project, we devote a whole lesson to building a set of practices we can do each day or week that boost our energy rather than deplete it!
- Ignore the small stuff. What’s that book say, it’s all small stuff? I don’t know about that. But I do know that some parents — myself included — can get wrapped up in micromanaging their children and their every move. Delegate some of that worry and stress to the Universe. this includes NOT arguing back with a child.
- Think of the Big Picture. Zooming out is one of my 10 Habits for Highly Effective Mamas and is the one that I feel is my biggest superpower as a life and family wellness coach. When we gain a higher purpose perspective on our work as parents, we are able to release some of the small matter that isn’t advancing our mission to raise happy, healthy and vibrant children.
- Angry Clean. When your children are frustrating the bejeezus out of you, clean. Do those things that you need to do and work off the frustrations by cleaning. This is the only time that I stress the importance of cleaning. It gives you something productive to do instead of micromanaging the children. While you are at it, think of the chores they will have to do as a result of their bad behavior. Some call it an uh-oh chore. I just call it a chore to help fill my bucket back up. The great thing with this kind of angry cleaning is that when things are calm, your home is clean and you have some time to enjoy it.
- Speak your mantra. Each of us has phrases that give us comfort, sayings that we can say over and over again in our heads until the difficult moment passes. Some of you suggested mantras like “I am the adult” or “Mommy is the greatest!” I have a whole list of mantras that I use.
- Exercise. Walk. Do yoga. Run. Whatever you can do to feel good on the inside will make parenting from the heart a lot better. Your body will thank you.
- Slow down. I am a big fan of a busy, full life but I’m not a fan of being busy for the sake of being busy. I wrote a book about this, in fact. In my book, I talk about how as mothers we’re always going to be busy. So there’s not much LESS we can do. BUT we can do what we have to do more slowly and with more intention. Don’t plan a ton of things because the minute you want to get a long list of things done is the very minute that you will find things blow up. Stress is what causes us to lose our cool so the less we have to stress about, the less crazy we’ll become.
- Get silly. I’ve said this before but doing something entirely out of the ordinary is a great way to turn things around quickly. Tell jokes. Just act nutty. You’ll laugh. SING. DANCE. Laugh. Deal with the consequences later, when everyone’s thinking more clearly. Being a playful mom is one of our greatest joys in life — if we can learn to let go enough to BE playful.
- Talk it out. somewhere along the way we allowed siblings in our society to act out aggresively toward each other. That is not OK in our home. I work with my children and my clients on establish family rituals and systems that will promote positive, effective and non-violent communication. That includes with your partner, too.
- Role model. You are building a legacy for how you will be remembered as a parent. This is big stuff. If you want your children to grow up calm, cool and collected than keep that in your head at all times. What you say to your children becomes what they hear in their heads. That’s powerful stuff to consider.
- Eat. Hangry is a real thing. There have been many times when I’ve been starving and not taking care of myself. Stop and make sure you’re not feeling the result of low blood sugar. Take care of you the way you take care of your child.
- Set fair and easy rules. This is a really big deal and something I didn’t really do early on. The sooner your establish your household rules the better off you will be as a parent. Our rules are on our refrigerator so that when a rule is broken we can immediately point to it and say look here, you’ve broken Rule No. 2, keep your hands and feet to yourself. When you are confident about the rules in your house, you are confident in enforcing those rules.
- Don’t set too many rules. Seriously. Children are still learning and experimenting. We can’t expect them to never make mistakes. To stay calm, stick to no more than five rules at a time and make those the important ones. Let little infractions go by with teachable moments rather than discipline.
- Change your routine. If you find yourself in a stressed out rut, perhaps it’s time to change things around and do something exciting and different. A change in fresh air or environment is enough to keep me feeling calm and peaceful a lot longer than going through the motions of the same-old, same-old. I absolutely LOVE to work with my clients on creating peaceful, powerful family wellness routines. You are never stuck with the way things are … sometimes we just need to be creative with how we change things up.
- Be Grateful. Many of you mentioned that reminding yourself of how special it is to have a child is the best way to calm yourself down. Savoring the little moments. Being grateful for the time we have with our children. These are all big, heart-filled reminders of what it really means to be a parent, even when times are challenging. Learn how to start your own Lifelong Gratitude Practice here.
- Replenish your spirit. For some this means prayer or meditation. For others it might be sinking into a hot bath at night. Taking care of your spirit is as important as taking care of your body. Whatever you use to de-stress and center yourself, do it often. My membership community is devoted to helping you take care of you.
- When all else fails, hug it out. I love this one that came up on the Facebook page. Too often what our children need — and what we need in return — is that close connection and touch of the ones we love. My very spirited daughter responds positively to touch and so we snuggle often. So, instead of yelling or hurting, hug it out. If only we could pass this tip along to the rest of the world, right?
Being a calm parent matters to you, I know.
Calm parenting is important to building a rich, meaningful relationship.
matter where you are on your parenting journey, I suspect this list will at least be worth bookmarking, for one of those days.