How to Restart a Bad Day with Kids

I bought tickets to take my kids outdoor ice skating with their cousins. I announced to the kids that it was time to get ready for outdoor ice skating! This was the reply from one child: ‘I DON’T WANT TO GO! I’M NOT GOING!’ I was surprised at the negative reaction! I said, ‘Well we’ve already paid $95 for our tickets and we have to leave in one hour to make it on time. You can just watch while the rest of us skate.’ Then another child wanted to wear ¾ leggings. I explained it would be freezing and that they needed long pants on. The child then had a meltdown for one hour, and still didn’t put the freakin’ pants on! Another child was reluctantly getting ready at snails’ pace. Then my youngest child just whinged for the entire hour because everyone else was! The resistance was unbelievable! I would have just cancelled but tickets were non-refundable. Plus the cousins were meeting us there! So the kids got in to the car crying and carrying on, and hadn’t even eaten breakfast because they had spent the entire hour resisting to get ready! I could tell this was going to be a bad day! We were going to be 20 minutes late. Our session went for 50 minutes. I was going to all this effort so they could ice skate for HALF AN HOUR! I was very frustrated! As we drove off I said, ‘I hope you enjoy this ice skating activity today, because we are NEVER, EVER going ice skating in the school holidays ever again!’ BUT we did manage to have a good day in the end. So how do you turn a bad day around?

Not a bad day for Elijah and his penguin

My seven tips for restarting the day:

1.Lighten the mood with humour or music. I put on an audiobook in the car titled, ‘George’s Marvellous Medicine’ by Roald Dahl. It is hilarious! It helped to lighten the mood. The next time you’re having a bad day and you have to travel in the car, put something funny on to help you all smile again. Otherwise listening to songs like ‘Happy’ by Pharrell Williams helps too.

2.Deep breaths. While the kids were listening to the audiobook, I was breathing deeply to help me calm down!

3.Gratitude. As hard as it is, the best cure is to be grateful. Count the things you are grateful for, e.g. I’m grateful for this car that I’m driving right now, I’m grateful for my healthy kids, I’m grateful that I get to see my sister today, I’m grateful that it is sunny today because we will be outdoors, etc. and keep counting (find at least 20 things!) until you start to feel better.

4.Forget the time. I could have spent the rest of the car trip freaking out about the time and working myself up in to a real state! So instead, I just said to myself, ‘It is ok. It’s not ideal to be running late, but in the grand scheme of the universe it’s not the end of the world. We’re all still going to be able to spend time with the cousins, which is the whole point of today.’ If you have done your best and things aren’t going your way, just forget about the time and release yourself from guilt. You will get there when you get there and stressing out isn’t going to get you to your appointment any sooner! You will just end up with a stressful speeding fine!

5.Mentally restart the day. In your mind, let go of what has happened. Yes the kids were feral and don’t deserve this ice skating treat. Yes, you should have just spent the $95 on yourself! ;) Is being angry for the whole day going to benefit anyone? Don’t allow the day be a write off. Each day is a gift, and just because this one started out as a bad day, it doesn’t mean it has to end that way. Some days, you may have to restart several times! Regardless of how many times you have to do it, wipe the slate clean, reset and restart.

A super cool Aunty is the best circuit breaker on a day!

6.Circuit breaker. On a bad day it feels like your kids bicker all day long! You need a circuit breaker. Our lifesaving circuit breaker on this day was Aunty Berna! She is such a fun loving Aunty and my kids were so excited to see her! We were in hysterics just by hanging out with her and forgot to be grouchy! Sometimes you need a circuit breaker, like a super cool Aunty!

7.Reflection. It is a good idea to reflect on why the day started out so negatively. I realised we were all really tired because we were so busy the day before. I realised that I had booked a session time that was a bit too early for us. The next time you find yourself having a bad morning, reflect on how you may have contributed to it. Then you’ll know what to change for next time.

Not having such a bad day after all!

So it wasn't such a bad day after all! We ended up having an awesome day and created some amazing memories that will last a lifetime! Do you have any tips for recovering from a bad morning? Please share! Would love to hear your ideas in the comments!