It is crazy to think that this summer is coming to a close, but with weeks left of enjoying the sun and sand, we wanted to touch on ways to help plan ahead and restore brain balance.
When our environments are overwhelming, loud, or chaotic, our brains get overwhelmed with the amount of stimulus. Creating ways to declutter and get organized can help us as parents, but it is also a great way to help support our children.
In today’s world, even though things have reopened and seem to be returning to a level of pre-pandemic speed, our bodies and our brains are not ready. As a result, many children and their parents report feeling overwhelmed, fatigued, or feeling “off” and cannot identify the trigger.
Stress affects our brains. Chaos affects our brains. When things are out of control or overwhelming, our brains are also overwhelmed. So while talking about organization and decluttering may seem silly, there is a huge calming sensation when walking into a clean, decluttered space.
The beginning of a new school, especially this one, brings a sense of calm and possible structure. As parents, we are hopeful that this year may look more stable and give us time to recover from the up and down environment we survived.
Go through your home or have conversations with your kids about what is overwhelming in the home or their schedule. What would they like to change? Why? Make goals or a checklist and cross of projects together. For example, maybe their legos are overflowing from the box, or they can’t find their doll accessories. Putting everything in place and eliminating the clutter will help their brains feel less overstimulated, and you may see them play better as a result.
What parts of your day feel overwhelming? What routines or habits do you feel you could adjust to feel more in control. As we transition into the fall, with the return of the office and having to pick up a new pace, we must focus on what we can control and what we can simplify.
While they can feed some negative thoughts and habits on their own, Instagram and Pinterest serve as great resources for ideas about organization. Less really can be more, and the home edit is a great resource, as well as entertaining. Finally, the container store is a haven for organization and developing systems and has consultants that can help with projects if you desire.
Without being pessimistic, this school year holds a big transition for our youth. The mental health needs of our children have yet to be seen, as we have never bounced back from the level of confusion, adult-driven fear, and unpredictability the pandemic created in our lives. Our children are used to being with us, they have not had a full day in school, and most are craving some level of control and showing signs of overwhelm.
It is essential to model and coach our kids through hard times, focus on what they can control, and train them to create systems and tools to help them navigate this world. Start small, but you may find yourself better able to breathe when things are less chaotic in your environment.