I am a father to a little girl who is an absolute terror to take to the store. She runs around and grabs everything, never listening to anything I say! However her mother is unavailable and I have to take her shopping with me today. I am dreading taking her with me and wish this wasn’t such a miserable experience. Any ideas of what I can do?
Dear Struggling Dad -
It sounds like you are preparing to go into battle and not excited nor confident it will end well. I imagine that feels overwhelming and exhausting as you wish for more ease and flow when doing errands with your daughter. Let’s put your oxygen mask on first. Take just a few moments to breathe and connect to how nice it would be to have a more peaceful experience while shopping. Deep breaths, especially focusing on a long slow exhalation will help your body regulate and relax. This is the first step in helping you change this situation with your daughter, because how regulated your body is when you interact with your daughter will directly affect her body’s level of regulation (a phenomenon called “co-regulation”).
Once you are recharged, you have more energy and patience to focus on your daughter. Like you, she may benefit from some grounding and regulation through breathing as well. Using the webe kälm can be very effective to help with the relaxing breaths that can get us to a more calm and regulated state.
Practicing your breathing before you head to the store and developing a plan to breathe while shopping may help make the excursion a more pleasant experience for all. Wearing your webe kälm bracelets may serve as an additional reminder of your desire to remain calm and enjoy the time together as best you can.
If you wish to go one step further, you can try to introduce more fun and play in the store. This could look like engaging your daughter in finding the things on your list. She can even make her own list, writing or drawing the items she needs to be looking for.
Although this may seem like a lot of extra work and time preparing, it actually is less time overall when you think about how much time you spend fighting in the store and how awful and disconnected you feel after a miserable, tension-filled store experience.
It isn’t easy being a dad to a daughter full of life and lots of energy, but with a little information, a webe kälm, and lots of clear intention your experience can be so much easier and more joyful. Good luck to you and remember, WeBe in this together!
From one parent doing the best they can to another, webe in this together!