We have two children under the age five so serene isn’t a word that would describe our home very often.
Kids are loud and living with them can be chaotic.
They all abound.
But over the last couple of years I have found one thing that very rarely fails to deliver.
Amidst any stress, both internal and external, this seems to be able to transcend emotions and circumstances.
The answer is simpler than you may anticipate.
I grab a children’s book, sit down on the couch and begin to read aloud.
Sometimes the crying or protesting continues well into the second page, but rarely am I more than a third of the way into the story before the wounded party begins to soften. Approaching closely they wipe their tears and lean in to hear whether the caterpillar remains hungry or the boy gets his star after all.
With emotions restored to a sane place, we can then have any discussions that might be needed.
Sometimes it isn’t even the kids who need the break most, sometimes it’s me.
We’ve all heard “take a time out for yourself, a minute alone to restore composure” but those of us with young kids have found this wise advice to be flawed in practice. When stress mounts, where do we find this time “alone” and how do I ensure I won’t lock myself in that place to avoid facing the crisis at hand? Why not take a time-out together with your kids?
The next time emotions run rampant in your home, instead of losing your cool, grab a book everyone will enjoy.
Get lost in a tale who’s conclusion leaves you feeling content.
Immerse yourself in a world who’s characters face problems more bizarre than your own, but who manage to find solutions to them that make you smile.
You’ll be re-writing your family narrative to be one that ends conflict by cuddling around a book.
That sounds like a story I’d like to read.