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Give me a minute, calming strategies for you and your kids

Have you watched the music video for by George Ezra’s Give me a minute to hold my girl? He is in a small house that’s filling up with water and he rises to the top to get some air. I love the song and the video made me think that is sometimes how we are living inside our minds. It can feel overwhelming and the pressure rises and all we want to do is connect with someone – Give me a minute to hold …(fill in the blank, who do you need to hold when you are stressed out?).

Often, we can feel we are stuck in a small space and just need to move.

The problem is when the pressure rises, we may not be in the best space to connect with someone else. That, however, could be what we desperately need, as we need connection when the pressure rises.

I also love the lyric, ‘Give me a minute to hold my girl’, because Ezra doesn’t need to connect through words, he needs her physical presence. Sometimes, in an effort to connect, we talk through our issues with a close friend. But all we have done is reiterate our victim story to the nearest person. This just leaves us further entrenched in “our story”, we are focused on misery and pain.

I am all for taking a realistic view and calling a spade a spade, but to spend time regurgitating our tale of woe only entrenches our focus on the negative. Focusing on the future we would like may be more productive in the long term. Our tale of woe can leave us stuck in the overwhelm of our circumstances.

We can become stuck and feel overwhelmed and so can our kids. These tools for shifting out of the overwhelm work for us and our kids.

1. Get moving physically. If you are in an office, go to the bathroom. If you can walk around the block, do it. Ideally, when I am cross, I would change my plans and go swimming for an hour. However, having a spare hour free does not always coincide with when I’m raging about something.

2. We can also get our kids moving to release the endorphins. Taking some deep breaths is also useful. It is really tricky to stay mad when we are taking deep breaths and focusing on another activity such as sport.

3. Connect and redirect

Connect to the right side of the brain, the side that runs the emotional show. When it all gets a bit non-verbal, we know how we feel. Our kids can’t always articulate why they feel that way. Naming the emotion we can see can help them calm down. I can see you are really angry. Then, when things have calmed down, redirect with logic and reason. With my kids, the redirect part can come a day later when everyone is calm and are able to talk and listen.

4. Name it to tame it

If your kids are talkers, get them to articulate what happened and when, as a coherent narrative can help them heal. It’s as if you’re conducting an interview. You are helping the child articulate how s/he feels and put the story into sequential order. So short sentences and let the kids do the talking. The event may not seem like a big deal to you. However, if it comes with big emotions or big behaviour then it is significant to the child. Or it could be a big deal for you both. Maybe your child had to unexpectedly go to hospital, talk about how you both felt.

If you are interested in learning more techniques on how to create calm from chaos for you and your children, please visit my website or join me for the Keep Calm workshop (two hours) or the Creating Calm from Chaos six-week course, for one hour a week. Please email me at further details.

Jessica Macdonald Coaching FB page

Thank you Stijn te Strake for the photograph


I am a coach, mother and wife, living in the Sunshine Coast in Queensland, Australia. I grew up in South London, in an immigrant family in the suburbs. But I had good fortune with my parents: Dad was born in Calcutta, India, and my Mum came from communist Poland. In the 1970s I got to leave Croydon, and travel with my family through India, and behind the Iron Curtain. I saw parts of the world that my classmates could not comprehend. It sparked my wanderlust and gave me a great respect for how big and diverse our world is. And I gained an ability to move between different cultures, assimilating into them.

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