Grandparents Teach, too: Try helping kids expend energy, frustration

Little children have moments of crisis and frustration. A toy doesn’t work, older siblings bully, or a drawing is not going well. There is a problem that at the time seems unsurmountable! Waaaaa! However, children can learn techniques to take a break, stay calm, and think straight, according to psychologists.

Adults can teach them the “This too will pass” principle. First, children can learn to blow off a little steam in a positive way without hurting themselves or others. Then they can learn steps to calmly solve problems.

Expend energy in positive way

Sometime the first step is to step away. Take a moment to walk away that is so freeing for them and adults, too. Adults can walk or run with children when they are frustrated, angry, or have bottled up energy. In fact, it is a good habit to do a little walk with young children every day even when we or the kids are not overly stressed.

Families who do a little daily exercise are teaching children to destress before they feel like blowing up. We can give them the words. “Whew! I need a break. Let’s go for a little jog around the block. We will feel so much better.”

When adults say they need a breather and choose exercise rather than raising one’s voice, taking a drink, over-eating, or smoking, adults are teaching children a positive management tool for daily stress, according to pediatricians.

Take a walk or jog

Children can wear tennis shoes and comfortable clothes and off you go around the block or backyard. One grandparent runs or walks around the outside perimeter of the house with grandchildren, one time around for every year of the children’s ages. If the weather is nasty they run around inside for one minute for every year of the children’s ages. She finds the children are no longer in a foul mood and can calmly discuss a disagreement, solve a problem, or more easily change to another activity.

Children can pretend they are superheroes or princesses and run to a tree in the distance as a goal. They can beat an imaginary foe to this safe place. Jogging a series of short distances can add up to a longer distance. Picking these intermediary goals is also a good habit according to exercise specialists.

A quick backyard jog can be fine for young children. They can run around, stop, and aim the Jedi force at a tree. They can throw a ball at a wall, walk on a line, hop over a rock, walk backwards, and run around again. For more stress reducers see grandparentsteachtoo.blogspot.com, wnmufm.org/Learning through the Seasons live and pod casts, also on Pinterest, and Facebook.

EDitor’s note: Grandparents Teach, Too is a non-profit organization of elementary and preschool teachers from Marquette, Michigan. The writers include: Jan Sabin, Mary Davis, Jean Hetrick, Cheryl Anderegg, Esther Macalady, Colleen Walker, Fran Darling, and Iris Katers. Their mission since 2009 is to help parents, grandparents, and other caregivers of young children provide fun activities to help prepare young children for school and a life long love of learning. The group is supported by Great Start, Parent Awareness of Michigan, the U.P. Association for the Education of Young Children, Northern Michigan School of Education, the Upper Peninsula Children’s Museum and the Northern Michigan University Center for Economic Education.