Ah... those days. You know those days; when your little ones are running around screaming at the top of their lungs crashing in to things and basically acting possessed. We all have those days, when our energy is abundant but unfocused. But, when your child is feeling that way, they seem inconsolably out of control. Parents (especially SAHMs), need to discover ways of handling those days.
So, I'll show you mine, if you'll show me yours...
Turn the TV off
If your little-ones are acting possessed more often than not, this is probably your best solution, but it is long-term solution (go here to read another mother's account of life without TV). Turn it off and leave it off for a week. (start with a few days if the thought of a week without TV causes a panic attack) Leaving the TV off increases your child's attention span, and encourages creative play. (You should know that I'm not very good at this one... my kids are watching TV right now, in fact)
It doesn't matter much what you do when you get out there. If you have work to be done, let them help... a 3 year old can't mow the lawn but she can certainly sweep the front walk with the proper tools. Have them help you harvest your garden or water the plants. Go for a walk. Go on a bug hunt. Pick flowers. Have an impromptu science lesson. Talk about the sun; how big it is, how far away it is, how hot it is, why you can't look directly at it, solar eclipses, etc. Talk about the seasons, trees, how plants grow, why the sky is blue... The list really can go on forever. Just make it fun. Or, send them off for free-play to blow off some steam.
Play Some TunesThere are two strategies here: 1) play some upbeat kids music (that doesn't make you want to run, screaming from the room) so they can dance and sing and get it out of their system (here's one of our favorites). 2) play the classics. Classical music will have a calming effect... I promise. Just leave the volume a little lower ; let it be in the background.
Most children (up to a certain age) want to help. (Note: This is not the same as sending them off to do something you want done) Mine will jump at the chance to bake something with me, to wipe kitchen counters, or help me fold the laundry. Figure out what yours like, and ask them to do that with you next time they are threatening to destroy your home and your sanity.
A Note on Laundry Folding: Toddlers can help by handing you items, one at a time, from the basket. They can help by getting you things (like hangers) that you require, and they can help by putting one item away in the drawer at a time (if you don't care that they are unfolded). A preschooler can do all that AND they can make sock balls, fold clothes, put folded clothes in drawers and hang things up in the closet. Don't sell your kids short... they can do more than you think they can.
Build a Tent
Or a fort, or a house, or whatever you want to call it. There's something about being under a blanket suspended between chairs that makes children sit down and read a book, or suddenly want a tea party. Don't ask me why.... I have no idea.
When little-ones are like this, they often yell everything, and run around like they are on fire. The next time yours is YELLING EVERYTHING AT YOU, whisper your response. Did you hear that? Takes some extra concentration, doesn't it? Model the behavior you want to see... just exaggerate it. So, if you want them to walk slowly in the house, channel your favorite zombie. If you want quiet voices, whisper everything. Sounds silly, but it works!
Focus On Them
I know, I know, someone out there is saying that giving extra positive attention for undesirable behavior will just encourage it. They're wrong. (and I mean that with the utmost love and respect) When children behave like this, chances are they are feeling something and don't know how to express it. Figure it out. And help them through it. Once they have their needs met, they will go back to being their sweet little angel selves.
And that's what works for me! What works for you?