Pro tip: Get everyone to agree to follow whoever wins #1 or #2 ahead of time without fussing.
#1 - Flip A Coin.
#2 - Rock, Paper, Scissors
#3 - Share. Pete the Cat says sharing is cool!
#4 - Take Turns.
#5 - Take a Deep Breath and Count to 10. A great tool to use when you feel yourself starting to lose control of your feelings.
#6 - Walk Away. Is someone getting on your nerves? Leave the room.
#7 - Ignore. You don't have to engage with someone annoying.
#1 - Cooking. Get out that pumpkin spice cookie mix from the back of your newly organized pantry.
#2 - Read a Book. Read a chapter book aloud as a family or have everyone read together quietly. We're reading the first Harry Potter and then plan to watch the movie after we finish the book.
#3 - Do a Puzzle. 1000 piece Beatles puzzle from Pop-pop is our favorite.
#4 - Draw a Picture. Get out those crayons and markers and get creative. Maybe some sidewalk chalk outside.
#5 - Have a Dance Party. Ask Alexa to play some classic 90s. Kidzbop Kidz is a fan favorite.
#6 - Play a Game. Need to kill a few hours? Monopoly is the best choice. So many card games too- war, solitaire, black jack, go fish, rummy, 7 card stud.
#7 - Play Hide and Seek In The House. Never telling my kids my super secret hiding spot. (In the shower with the curtain drawn hahaha)
#8 - Make Slime. Make your own or play with glittery mermaid slime.
#9 - Meditation. Great way to relax when you need a break throughout the day or to wind down before bed.
#10 - Work Out With Household Items. Get out those cans and sacks of rice.
#11 - Play Dress Up. Get out your Halloween costumes! What are you doing to be for this coming Halloween?
#12 - Legos. Have a lego contest: biggest tower, strongest bridge, most creative.
#13 - Play With Paper. Make a paper football, a fortune teller or a paper airplane.
Parenting is hard. And stressful. But also wonderful and amazing. My patience is tested on a daily basis. And what I have noticed for myself is that when my stress is managed I have way more patience. When I haven't slept well, haven't eaten, am feeling anxious or overwhelmed parenting becomes unbearable. I don't like myself during those times that I am short with the kids or raise my voice at them. It might sound like common sense: eat, sleep, manage your stress and parenting your kids (and the rest of life) will be a whole lot easier to deal with. This is hard to actually pull off for a variety of reasons, you already know this! Acupuncture is one of the best stress relievers out there: with no side effects it shuts off the physiological stress response of the body, kicking it out of fight or flight mode, allowing the body to discharge stress. It is my secret sauce to parenting. Honestly I don't know how people parent (or live!) without acupuncture!
But aside from the logistical rushing around and day to day work of parenting is something else that is a lot harder. It's letting go of our kids. Usually around the teenage years (plus or minus) is when they start to individuate, beginning the process of figuring out who they are outside of us- their parents. It becomes obvious that we have no control over them, their choices and actions or the random events of their lives. And sometimes we desperately wish they made different choices and that we had total control over their life events. My kids are still little but they already have parts of their lives that I know nothing about and I've already had to let them go a bit. There is grief in that letting go and the process of accepting what is and that we have zero control over the actions and choices of other humans. Even our kids that are pieces of us! This can be a difficult process that even continues when kids aren't kids and are adults themselves. Acupuncture helps with the acceptance process. I can't explain how exactly, but I know this is true because acupuncture works for all kinds of grief. I have had many patients dealing with difficulties around their children and they report that "acupuncture helps". It just does. It helps people deal with life which is sometimes very very hard and painful. It helps people keep going, to keep the faith, to pause for a minute and maybe make room for a change in perspective. And that can make all the difference.
Meaghan Massella, M.Ac, L.Ac, Dipl. Ac (NCCAOM) is an acupuncturist, business owner and mother of 2.