It’s easy to relax your mind… when nobody is yelling or whining within 18 inches of your ear. Which is why the 15 million Google results for “relax your mind” are
a cruel joke not helpful for mothers of young children.
Even if you are consistent, firm and clear about your expectations for good behavior in the car, every child has moments you wish you could duct tape their mouth. For those moments, you need a tool box ready and waiting. Because ultimately 1) you want them to live to adulthood and 2) when they do, it’s a necessity that they know how to self-soothe and healthily cope in stressful environments. The good and bad news is YOU are their most important teacher for those skills.
So here is a list of things you can do if, like me, you do not have the option to relax your mind in a quiet, uninterrupted space when you most need it. Most of these focus on distracting and redirecting our thoughts, because distraction alone acts as an analgesic (read: Tylenol). And resting one part of your mind by focusing on something else serves as a reset button when you’re about to blow on the highway. Thank you to Mary, Maya, Nancy and Positive Learner – my twitter buddies – for helping me put this one together!
21 Ways to Relax in the Car When Your Kids are Going Nuts
- Breathe out hard, then inhale slowly and deeply
- Tap your left foot (unless you’re driving in England)
- Chew gum
- Drink some water (hydrated brains are happy brains)
- Do Kegels (and remember the other activity they make more fun…)
- Turn on relaxing music
- Join the screaming. It will likely stun them into silence.
- Start laughing uncontrollably (see reason above)
- Name 10 things you’re thankful for
- Do that out loud, preferably directly at the child most annoying you at the moment
- Stretch your neck, leaning your head right, then left, slowly. This will relax you and simultaneously quiet the kids as they wonder if you’re about to lose it.
- Recite a favorite inspirational quote. Can’t think of one? See my FB page or here or here.
- Recite your favorite comedian’s funniest jokes
- Whisper phrases including these words: candy, treat or allowance. Quiet listening will likely follow.
- Play the alphabet game on your own to focus your mind on something else
- Plan your next vacation or date night and visualize yourself there
- Stop the car, get out, and close the door. At least the yelling will sound quieter.
- While you’re out there, call a friend and tell each other jokes or do a 1-minute all-out venting session.
- Better yet, stop the car at a park and let the kids blow off steam for 10 minutes. Then resume your journey.
The main themes here? Distract yourself. Meet your own physical needs. Be playful. Because life’s too short to be, as the Joker in Batman once said, “SO serious.” 🙂
And please share here your favorite ways for dealing with moments when aliens possess your kids and force them to forget everything you’ve taught about being nice, quiet, respectful people in the car.
Enjoy the ride!