This week I found myself at a complete loss with my toddler. He had worked himself into a tantrum that left us both feeling frustrated, angry, and resentful. Nothing I tried made him stop. I came at him from every angle. And finally I gave up. I was exhausted and felt helpless. I was left with no clue at what my next move should be. So I took some deep breaths to recenter. And then it hit me. I had forgotten to breathe.
I took a few deep breaths and as nicely as I could I told my son he had to pull himself together. His answer was, “I can’t”. And I realized he was probably right. He had worked himself into such a state he couldn’t figure out how to calm himself back down. So I asked him to breathe. I put my arms around him, I counted slowly to 10 with each of us taking a big inhale and exhale. By the time we reached 10 he was done. He was calm and able to talk to me about what caused his hysteria in the first place.
This week I have applied this lesson to my son two more times. The last time he asked me to breathe with him. I’ve also caught myself remembering to breathe. I start focusing on things I have no control over, worrying about the future, and want to throw my own tantrum. Then I remember, just breathe. When you start feeling overwhelmed, the answer is simple. Count to 10….and breathe.