Much time is wasted on worry when it doesn’t change a thing. Well it does change your anxiety level by making it worse. How can you cope with all the concerns consuming you and yours? How do you change stress into rest? There is an upsurge of anxiety these days for adults and kids. There is fantastic news about how to right these wrong thoughts. As an awesome grandmother, I want to help my kids and grandkids maneuver through these treacherous times to an amazing peaceful destination. Here are some avenues available for you and your kids to boldly blaze through, leave worry behind and come to a place of victory. Most of these will be shared with our kids and grandkids in mind, but the fantastic thing about that, is as you reach out to them in their hurt or concerns, you will find healing for them and yourself.
1) LOVE– Love one another. Especially the young ones entrusted to our care. Let them know they are treasured, valued and cared for. Don’t let social distance keep you from hugging them or holding their hands. As kids age they may distance themselves and resist hugs. Be enthusiastic in your affection for them, put an arm around their shoulders or sit with them while they watch TV or Youtube. My grandson is eight, he watches Youtube and videos. I’ll sit and laugh with him while he watches funny pet videos. Speak words of affirmation and praise to your kids. To do less is to make them doubt themselves, their security and identity in life.
2) LISTEN– Encourage them to talk, but listen with more than your ears. Body language may say keep away but the look in their eyes say I need attention and affection. Listen with your eyes as you ponder them with love, looking them right in the eye, even if they turn their head. Validate their young lives and give positive attention so they know they are priceless and don’t have to misbehave to get attention, even if it’s negative.
3) LIFE– Take care of yourself so you can be there to care for their young lives. Proper balance in activities, diet, exercise and sleep will enhance the mood. You will be amazed at how dealing with these issues will make the kids move from grouchy pants to glad. I read of one lady with a crippling back disorder that needed surgery who sacrificed much to be physically and emotionally ready for surgery. She said she did this so she could be there for her granddaughter. We can all reap the benefits of focusing on improving our life and the lives of those around us.
4) LANGUAGE– Gary Chapman wrote a book called Five Love Languages which helps us understand how to communicate so people will feel and know you love them by filling their love tanks. This will increase their feelings of security and love. The love languages are: 1) physical touch, 2) words of affirmation, 3) quality time, 4) gifts, 5) acts of service. There is a book specifically for kids called The Five Love Languages of Children which is excellent, “With full love tanks, your grandchildren will be more receptive and active intellectually, socially, spiritually, and relationally than they would be without this. When children feel genuinely loved, their whole world looks brighter. Their inner spirit is more secure and they are far more likely to reach their potential for good in the world.” p. 209. This says it all and gives your young ones a step up in being aware of how treasured they are.
5) LORD– It’s an awesome fact that our creator carries and sustains us everyday no matter what. From conception to our gray hairs. (Isaiah 46), this includes kids and grandparents through all of life’s journey. If our kids have negative or fearful thoughts, teach them about putting on the armor of the Lord, (Ephesians 6: 11-17). Then they will have mighty weapons to defeat scary or negative thoughts. Prayer is powerful. Don’t discount short nighttime prayers for this is where it begins. I know it melts my heart when kids pray, they are so sincere. Jesus said let the little children come to me, that includes you and me for we are all little children.
6) LIBRARY– Books are an awesome portal to a great adventure. Access this avenue for your kids so they can use their imaginations and be transformed into the hero or even the average guy who gets victory in a situation. They can go to Narnia, the deepest jungle, the mountains or the beach. Reading is like taking a mini-vacation, it can be relaxing and exciting at the same time. If your young one has bad or traumatic memories, go to the library of their mind and discard that book.
Our parents read to us when we were little. This was a snuggly, comforting time full of love and care. Maybe that’s why reading is such a relaxing, refreshing time for us adults now. Besides when kids read it increases their chance for academic success and therefore success in life.
7) LAUGH– My grandson Anthony has a game that has drawings on cards that you have to act out the picture. We got these before he could read. It’s one of his favorite games to play with us and his cousins. There is much laughter involved as someone tries to portray a hippopotamus. Laugh at their corny jokes or watch a silly movie. There is nothing like a good belly laugh, and it will release endorphins in your body that will literally make you feel better physically, therefore emotionally.
8) LOUD– No harsh, loud name calling or disrespectful behavior should be allowed. The kids may need reminded to use their inside voices or basic manners, such as please, thank you, look people in the eye and treat others with respect and kindness. Every individual is created in the image of God and deserves to be treated with care and respect. As your kids show respect, it will make each day rewarding and they will be respected in return and go far in life.
9) LESSEN STRESS– Deep breathing may be a sign of stress, but make it a conscious effort to dispel anxiety. The American Institute of Stress says “Deep breathing is one of the best ways to lower stress in the body. This is because when you breathe deeply it sends a message to your brain to calm down and relax.” Slow long breaths from your stomach as you count to 3 or 4 for each inhalation and exhalation are best. When kids are frustrated or angry we can tell them to take a deep breath and demonstrate this to them. Better yet, prepare them ahead of time so they are not in the middle of the meltdown the first time they hear of it. Also counting to 10 distracts them and helps their body relax.
10) LIGHTEN LOAD– We all get exhausted when we burn the candle at both ends. Our kiddos get worn out too, and with that comes moodiness, irritability, inability to focus or anxiety. They will not accomplish what they are really able to achieve and their relationships will be tested. For their benefit and all those around them, limit involvement in sports and activities. However play is an important and necessary step in developing emotionally, physically and spiritually. Riding a bike or going to the park will actually lighten the stress load. Do it in proper proportion. Make sure they get plenty of rest and playtime.
11) LANDSCAPE– I don’t mean yard work by this. Our choices effect our very function and landscape of our brain. See Dr. Caroline Leaf’s book “Switch On My Brain.” (p.33) Good choices make smooth paths for our brain neurons. What an exciting thing to share with our kids and grandkids who may be just starting this trek in their life. Even if they have made bad choices, now is the time to change that. Deuteronomy 30:19 says choose blessing or cursing, life or death. This death may be the absence of peace and joy, not just physical death. I encourage you to choose life and joy for they ROCK!
12) LOOK– How kids look at life and issues will effect the outcomes. This is called perspective. When my first husband was dying my mantra was make the best of a bad situation. We all are faced with circumstances we can’t control but we can control our reaction to them. This goes for our kids as well. They may need to change the channel if they are having scary, upsetting thoughts so they will go from the discouraged or doubtful channel to the determined, delightful channel. This will enable them to overcome what is overwhelming them.
What an awesome journey this life is. Don’t let fear, worry, or anxiety warp your view and limit your joy. Choose the more excellent way of Love, Life and Laughter. You and yours will reap rewards beyond your comprehension for today, tomorrow and all eternity!
P.S. This is the longest post I’ve written but I won’t worry about it!! I will rejoice in sharing what God gave me and I pray it lightens the stress or worry you have.
Sam is a businessman, writer, entertainer, speaker, husband, father to six children, grandfather and great grandfather. Sam graduated from Huntington University with a B.A. in phychology and drama and pursued a degree in Broadcasting from Illinois Central College with graduate level studies at Christian Leadership University. Sam is the creator of Granpa Cratchet, one of the most successful touring shows in the history of the live events industry. Millions of people see Granpa every year all across the United States at fairs and festivals. His characters have appeared on every major network: Good Morning America, Entertainment Tonight, The Today Show (4 times). Sam and his characters have made over 500 local appearances and on all the major networks; NBC, CBS, ABC, ESPN, PBN, The LeSea Network, The PTL Network and Praise the Lord. They currently appear all around the world every week on YouTube and Facebook, and on several satellite networks via the Kidz Television Network and The Captain Hook (children's) Show.