We are more than a month into the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, and it has been hard on everyone in one way or another. Some of us are new to online learning, others are balancing demanding work schedules of one or both parents, all while doing our best to manage a household of emotions being challenged by change. With all of that change comes stress, and I don’t think I’m alone in saying that it has gotten the best of me at times. My daughter is three, so trying to rationally explain to her that I have a Zoom call to attend or that her sister is sleeping is completely irrational to her. I knew a change had to be made early on in order to make this quarantine time memorable in all of the good ways rather than the bad ones.
I wanted fewer tears and more smiles. Less whining and more laughter. In order to achieve that, I tried Giggle Parenting.
The concept of Giggle Parenting is simple. Every time you feel yourself getting frustrated with your child, make them laugh! When a person cries, cortisol releases to relieve stress. Similarly, when a person laughs, endorphins are released. With a need for release, you can train your brain to react with humor rather than your temper.
Suddenly, baby sister became “the littlest princess,” and we embarked on a quest to seize the fire-breathing dragon who wanted to wake her. What did the dragon look like? Well, we decided it would be a good idea to draw the dragon with every single crayon we owned. It didn’t take long until we were both working side by side on varying tasks.
It would have been easy to get frustrated in that instance, but I challenged myself to connect with my daughter and create an experience that spoke to her emotions. My daughter may be three, but she has the same innate human craving for connection that we all do. She’s also on a stay-at-home order, away from her extended family and friends, and stressed in her own right. She does not, however, have the ability to fully express herself plainly which results in misbehavior, whether physical or verbal. One of the key concepts of Giggle Parenting is that you’re building a connection with your child in a language they fully comprehend—play!
Keep in mind that this is not a cure-all. You will still get frustrated. You will have moments where you wonder why your child is not listening as quickly even though you’re being a “fun” parent. You will, however, save time in the long run because you’re working daily to strengthen the relationship between you and your child. Whether they’re three or thirteen, laughter is the key to regulating their emotions and creating a strong bond between parent and child.
Disclaimer! This whole social distancing thing is so hard because there’s no official end-date; a figurative light at the end of the tunnel where we receive our non-existent medal. It’s crucial for us to focus on our own social-emotional well-being and build those same skills within these little people with such big imaginations. Experts say that “these skills play a critical role in determining how well-equipped children will be to meet the demands of the classroom,” according to the National Education Association. There really is no place BUT home for the foreseeable future, but what better place to be?
Have you tried Giggle Parenting? Share your examples in the comments below.