By Emma Grace Brown
There are many reasons that your household might feel tense and unpleasant. After eight months of this pandemic, many of us have seen our stress levels hit the roof. Unfortunately, living in a home with high emotions isn’t healthy for anyone. The good news is that if you can identify what’s causing stress and strain, you can take steps to reverse it. Here are some of the most common causes of tension at home and the ways to alleviate them.
Lack of Communication
Communicating with children is not always easy. However, as the Child Development Institute points out, it’s a crucial parenting skill. When you have been stuck inside day in and day out with the same people, your communication skills tend to deteriorate. You may be short-tempered and less-than-interested in hearing the same thing over and over again.
Once you notice that your communication at home is leaving much to be desired, it’s time to sit down with your spouse and children for a family powwow. Talk as a family and then approach each individual so that you can communicate on their level. When you have a child with autism, remember that the way he communicate may not be the same as your other children. Listen, and respond with compassion and genuine interest in what he has to say.
If you’ve ever stayed up past your personal bedtime, you know how awful you feel the next day. Lack of sleep can make everyone cranky, especially children.
When you have tiny tots with a quick temper, evaluate their daily routine. If you find they’re going to bed later than they should, now’s a great time to reframe bedtime. You’ll need to ask yourself what types of actions they do before bed. Have they taken too many toys, pillows, or blankets to bed that are causing distractions? Their bedtime ritual should include calming activities, such as a warm bath and a story. Most children do best with a pillow, a blanket, and one or two stuffed animals.
When you’re lounging around the house and can’t leave, boredom is bound to set in. And when people get bored, they get nervous and jittery. This can lead to anger and frustration with every member of your household.
Look for new activities to do both together and apart. Gaming is one option. You’ll need a fast internet connection (your local cable company or cellular providers, such as Verizon, offer the best speeds). Many children enjoy Fortnite and this is a great game for playing online with friends. Children on the spectrum may fare best with slower-paced, open-ended games, such as Minecraft. Both games, as well as many others, are suitable for kids and adults alike.
It’s possible to be lonely even in a house full of people. Loneliness can happen when you feel invisible or when your routine never changes. During this pandemic, loneliness has become an even greater concern since we are literally hiding away from those we love.
Plan to video chat with grandparents, friends, and teachers. You can also stave off loneliness by writing letters to people in nursing homes. Most importantly, spend time together, and engage when you are face to face. You – and your children – will be happier and healthier for it.
Riding out the last several months has been a challenge for everyone. And when you have a special needs child, it can be an even bumpier road. The above tips can help you and your entire family enjoy the best of each other without the lingering stress and strain.