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Grandmas are a haven and a safe place for their grandkids. You are their favorite person and a soft landing when they fall – and that is a fantastic position! Gone are the days of disciplining, so you can sit back, support, and enjoy these wonderful little humans as much as you like.
While being someone’s safe place is truly a gift, it can also seem daunting, especially if you aren’t sure how to help your overwhelmed or hurting grandbabies. Fear not, my fellow Devoted Grandma: You have everything right in your back pocket! To help you along, however, I wanted to offer a few simple tips, including:
My first recommendation is something that you already do: Give the best hugs. A warm, tight hug can work wonders on a distressed child, instantly making them feel even more safe and loved.
2. Breathing techniques
We tend to take shorter and more shallow breaths when stressed, but you can teach your grands to take deep, slow breaths by making it fun. Pretend you are inflating a balloon in your belly and slowly letting the air out – It’s a game and a life skill all in one!
3. Mindful moments
Mindfulness and meditation are not just for adults. In fact, simple mindfulness exercises like focusing on the senses or guided meditations can help your grandchild feel calm and centered. (Heck, it can help you, too!)
4. Creative comforts
Did you know that children’s favorite pastimes can also comfort them? Drawing, painting, crafting, or playing music can provide an outlet for overwhelmed emotions, AND it’s a great way to spend quality time together.
5. Nurturing nature
It’s time to ditch the screens and reconnect with mother nature – especially if your grandbaby is anxious! A leisurely walk in the park, garden, or woodland can clear the mind and soothe the soul. Nature has a magical way of making everything seem a little bit brighter.
Reading a book together can be a great escape from reality. Choose books with positive messages and engaging stories to occupy your grandchild’s mind.
7. Get active
Physical activities like playing catch, riding bikes, or dancing can help release pent-up energy and reduce anxiety. Fortunately, these shouldn’t be foreign concepts to your grandkids, so they will think they are just playing instead of decompressing.
8. Validate feelings
Always let your grandchild know that their feelings are valid and essential. (Believe me when I say that this is VITAL!) Your support and understanding can make a world of difference.
9. Listening ears
This may just be as important as validating feelings, as sometimes, all a child needs is to be heard. Make it a point to always listen to your grandchild’s concerns without judgment. Remember, just being there to listen can be incredibly comforting.
10. Cooking together
Engaging your grandchild in cooking or baking can be a fun and therapeutic activity, as it not only helps divert their mind but also gives them a sense of accomplishment when the dish is ready. (Bonus? Cooking is a lifelong skill!)
Essential oils like lavender, chamomile, and frankincense have calming properties. Use a diffuser to fill the room with a soothing scent, or add a few drops to a warm bath.
12. Gentle reminders
Sometimes, kids get overwhelmed because they forget how capable they are, so remind them of their strengths and past successes to boost their confidence. Who knew that soothing your grandkids could be so natural?
13. DIY stress ball
Making stress balls with balloons and flour is a fun craft activity that results in a useful stress-relieving tool! Whenever your grandchild is feeling overwhelmed, encourage them to find their stress ball and give it a good squeeze.
14. Mindful coloring
Coloring is a calming activity that can help your grandchild focus and relax. While any will do, I recommend getting a coloring book with intricate designs or mandalas for an added mindfulness challenge.
With these 14 tools in your grandma toolkit, you’ll be well-equipped to soothe your overwhelmed grandkids and help them develop healthy coping mechanisms for the future. Your love and support mean the world to them, and sometimes, that’s all they really need.