Sometimes we just need to stop being sooooo responsible, and get intentional about having fun! Fun is as helpful for your little one’s self-regulation as it is for yours. Your daily life as a nurturer of a young DHH child can become so crowded with audiology appointments, IFSP goals, therapy visits, broken technology, eye exams, worries about the future, and trying to use new language-building strategies that it’s no wonder you may feel weary.
When you feel drained, you have less patience and energy to offer your child. Your little one will feel the strain of your exhaustion, and may act in yucky ways. This stretches your patience even more. It’s a tricky cycle! You both need simple ways to prevent tension from building, and to reset a particularly tough day.
Science shows us that finding joy and gratitude regularly throughout our days is like brain-boosting, healing medicine. Fun and joy help us to create connection, calm tension, and develop resiliency in times of stress. They also go a long way to lightening the load on regular days. Small, daily connections through fun and joy are essential to everyone!
You have full permission to:
- Stop and get a change of scenery: take a walk, throw a ball with our dog, wriggle a string for our kitty, blow bubbles, pick dandelions, draw with chalk on the driveway, or have a popsicle on the porch (and let it drip!).
- Pause and change the pace: tickle me, run a bath, dance wildly in the living room to silly songs, scribble on a big sheet of paper, snuggle with a book, join me in my play, or take a nap with me.
- Take a few big, deep breaths and guide me in doing the same. This sends the message to our brains that all is well. Then give both of us credit for all the positive growth we are doing in our shared journey!
- Make a list of what you love about me. Write it down in a journal, jot it on a piece of paper on the fridge door, or just say it out loud to yourself. Smile as you list, and notice what happens within your body as you do!
- Be gentle with yourself and with me when we become dysregulated. Remind us both that hard-to-feel emotions are a normal part of life.
- Release too-high expectations–of yourself, of me, of the outcomes–and fill the space with joy.