By Shari McMinn
And He awoke and rebuked the wind and said to the sea, “Peace! Be still!” And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm. (Mark 4:39 ESV)
During the hurricane which is sometimes called Christmas, we can find ourselves overwhelmed with frenzied activity. Lack of a structured homeschool schedule during the holiday break adds to the disruption and dysregulation of our kids (and even for us as parents). Before the New Year dawns, I encourage you to take a deep breath and imagine starting January with the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:7 ESV).
We serve the God of the universe and all creation. God is the Lord of order, not chaos. The enemy is the one who sideswipes us with confusion and out-of-control activity, including parent-child arguments and sibling rivalry. These seem to increase during the holidays, and we must speak the truth of God’s Word to “Be still!” in order to regain calm. Since we are followers of the Lord, we have the same power as He does to rebuke our evil adversary and his disruptions to our lives. Calm can again be found in our hearts and homes if we seek to live within His joy and peace.
How can we go about this from a practical aspect? We need to first have faith that our family and the children God has given to us are His perfect workmanship, fitted into our household for blessing. Do you believe that? If not, get on your knees and pray that He will show you that you are the best parent for your sometimes challenging children, they are a unique gift by His design, and you are the best person to parent them now and into the future. Then, try a few of these tactics to regain peace in your home:
1. Reestablish a good night’s sleep for everyone by having set bedtimes and awake times without alarms.
2. Eat three nutritious meals each day, with morning and afternoon snacks and water in between.
3. Do not rely on prepared convenience food, but make your own from scratch. Having pre-cooked ground beef, ground turkey, shredded pork or chicken bagged in family meal portions stocked in your freezer allows for 10 minute meal prep; think taco salad, pasta with meat, sandwiches, and stir-fry.
4. Assign simple chores to every family member to help you out and keep them busy with productivity.
5. Do individual school subjects in the morning, starting with the most difficult student; rotate out helping each student, allowing them to enjoy crafts, creative play, legos, and audio books as they creatively play and provide childcare for younger siblings while waiting for you to work with them.
6. After lunch, enjoy recreation outside, then have group lessons afterward while youngsters nap.
7. Send children out to play after school is over, so you can have some quiet time for personal tasks.
8. When Dad gets home, let him rest for 15 minutes before playing with kids while you do dinner prep.
9. Have older kids do dishes with you while Dad gets the younger ones ready for bed.
10. After kids are in bed, enjoy time with your spouse then head to bed for a good night’s sleep.
Such a daily routine will help with a peaceful, restful home with less stress for you and your children. Unique learners often are more emotional with ‘acting out’ misbehavior — often called dysregulated — than typical children. A consistent rhythmic routine, accompanied by you speaking peace over everyone throughout the day, will help you navigate the home ship during even turbulent and stormy days.
Trusting God to give you inner peace is the key to outer peace in your home for the coming year. Inner peace for me is found through morning Bible reading, prayer, and hymn singing throughout the day. When you do this for yourself, and encourage your children to do likewise, you and they both have a greater ability to calm the storm in their hearts and lives. One of my more emotionally troubled children sang throughout the day as a sign that she was doing well emotionally. When her attitude or behavior soured, I would start singing in her presence and she would often chime in. This type of co-regulation helps our kids learn to govern themselves with God’s peace, and that helps our ability to parent in peace.
Need further inspiration for a peaceful New Year? Check out this SPEDHomeschool article on finding peace amid struggles.
In closing, if you need student evaluations or therapeutic services for your gifted or struggling learner, CHEC provides this Unique Learners’ Resources webpage for you to review which provider might work best for your family.
Happy New Year! My next blog, “Cabin Fever: Frustrations or Fun?,” will be posted on January 17, 2024 (the 3rd Wednesday).
P.S. If you have a topic I should write about, please email me with your suggestion(s). This blog is for you!