The hustle and bustle of life often make it difficult for us to stop and smell the roses. There is work, school, sports, church, and other commitments that make it hard for us to truly take the time to relax and live in the moment. The stress of everyday living can be enough to make it difficult for families to interact with one another in a “healthy” manner.
Learning to de-stress as a family and detach from the craziness of everyday living can help to decrease anxiety in both children and adults. Having a child with autism (and a possible second) means that we have all had to adjust our lifestyles and accomodate them both, something that with time we have gotten better at.
This means that we have to have a lot of quiet time in our home, which is not easy with five kids, but we do our best to make it work.
Here are a few family-friendly activities you can do that are not only fun, but will give your family a chance to de-stress, while spending time with one another.
Meditation & Yoga
Unplugging and sitting in a room with dim lights, on the floor for a few minutes has been shown to be very effective (even in young children). We like to do this activity for 7 minutes (it was a random number my 4 year old picked). During the session we work on focusing on breath. The more we have done this, the better our children (even the 2 year old) have gotten at controlling their breaths.
We also love to do yoga with the kids. There is a YouTube channel we love called Cosmic Kids Yoga and I love to let the kids do a bit of Yoga before bed (she has several bedtime yoga videos) as well as a few fun early Saturday morning ones. Although I admit I am nowhere near as limber as the kids are, they love seeing us “try” to keep up with them!
Silence IS golden
We have a set quiet time every evening. This is usually just before dinner, where the children all sit and do a silent activity for 10-15 minutes or longer, depending on how in to it they are. By sitting in silence, it allows us to clear our heads and truly start to relax and destress. I hate to say it, but the obvious highlight of my day is our mandatory quiet time. The children are so focused on getting their individual things done, not only that, they use it as a time read, write or just spend time alone. All of which are things that have helped them as far as independence (they no longer whine so much when they don’t have someone to play with).
Walk it out
One of the our five year-old’s favorite part of evening walks is listening for the sounds of the birds, the wind in the trees is something that my husband considers a luxury having grown up in Chicago. For me, growing up in the country these are all sounds that I am accostumed too, however, I never really appreciated the “sounds” until we started doing our walks. This is something that I want my children to learn to appreciate as they get older as well.
Take a drive
This may not seem like a typical activity to relax or destress, however, if you’ve ever driven in the car and listened to soft music-do you not feel relaxed? We like to take impromptu drives at night, as it seems to make the kids feel better (and it often puts them to sleep). We don’t always play music, sometimes we just sit and talk or tell corny jokes. These drives are a highlight for the kids. These don’t happen as often as I would like…because you know-gas prices (currently $2.33/gal here).
Do you do any relaxation activities with your family? If so let me know what they are in the comment section!