My body aches. Sweat drips off my skin. It feels like a tornado ripped through my mind.
Another hour stolen by mental illness.
One minute everyone is having fun. Then BAM! Something seemingly harmless triggers my child into a rage, and the fun evaporates.
Hours, days, weeks, months pass as we walk on eggshells afraid of triggering another emotional meltdown.
Our family activity level dwindles as we adjust schedules and cancel plans to work around this child’s emotional state. I orchestrate outings with the precision executed by military generals preparing for battle.
Caring for a child with extreme needs, leaves me depleted of mental and physical energy. The art and educational activities I once loved to share with my children is almost extinct because there is little left of me to spare.
At some point, the haze covering my brain lifts as I accept that mental illness inhabits our lives. But I won’t allow it to steal joy from our lives.
It ransacked it’s way through our home, but it will not destroy us.
An entire family suffers when another family member has severe mental illness.
Maybe, it’s not mental illness. It could be the stress of marital problems, a big move, or loss of employment that casts a shadow over your family.
It’s okay to grieve, but don’t allow it to consume everything.
You ache for normal, and this is when you need to seek for the small moments of joy.
Give you and your family the gift precious memories rooted in everyday experiences.
Take those moments of quiet and connect joyfully with your children.
Grab onto those minutes when you have a bit more energy, and goof off with your kids.
Catch the times of emotional regulation and have fun outdoors.
Use 101 Ideas for Capturing Joy in Minutes with Your Children as inspiration for your family to reclaim joy.
These easy, free, and spontaneous ideas are simple enough for the times when time, energy and money are scare.
1.Splash in puddles.
2. Throw pebbles in water.
3. Blow dandelion seeds.
4. Walk a dog.
5. Fly a kite.
6. Smell the flowers.
7. Observe wildlife in your backyard.
9. Play in sprinklers.
10. Lie in the grass and look at the clouds.
12. Read outdoors.
13. Take a night walk with flashlights.
14. Draw on a sidewalk with chalk.
15. Have a picnic.
16. Collect rocks.
17. Create a nature mandala.
18. Have diving competition.
19. Sing Here We Go Round the Mulberry Bush in the pool.
20. Sword fight with corncobs.
21. Play in a hidey hole.
22. Play in the leaves.
23. Blow bubbles.
24. Color a rock with chalk.
25. Walk barefoot.
26. Watch a sunset.
27. Play catch with a ball.
28. Play with roly polies.
29. Take slow walks.
30. Bring out an inside toy to the backyard.
31. Paint with water.
32. Play in the rain.
Joy and Laughter
33. Take funny family pictures.
34. Watch funny cat videos.
35. Play monster chase.
36. Paint faces with washable markers.
37. Talk in silly voices.
38. Channel your inner thespian and read aloud dramatically.
39. Tell jokes and laugh at your child’s jokes.
40. Spontaneously use the words poop, fart, or stinky feet when speaking to your child.
Joy on the Move
42. Play hopscotch.
44. Build a pillow mountain and conquer it.
45. Play hide and seek.
47. Have a wheelbarrow race.
48. Play tug of war.
49. Battle with foam swords or light sabers.
50. Jump on the bed.
51. Swing your child on a sheet hammock.
52. Play balloon volleyball.
53. Escape from hot lava with pillow stepping stones.
54. Give piggyback rides.
55. Throw sock snowballs.
56. Stretch and relax with yoga.
57. Write a love notes.
58. Hug your children when they cry.
59. Look at a photo album.
60. Speak to your kids at their level.
61. Smile at them.
62. Share your favorite events of the day.
63. Let your child brush your hair.
64. Do nothing together.
65. Take selfies with your children.
66. Accept your child’s apology.
67. Hug longer.
69. Compliment each other.
70. Skip homework when needed.
71. Set up an email account for you child, and send your child emails.
72. Let your child wear your jewelry.
73. Print family pictures and hang them.
74. Eat pancakes for dinner.
75. Read your child’s favorite book.
76. Write a letter to a friend or family member.
77. Cook dinner together.
79. Dress up together.
80. Play I Spy.
81. Build a fort inside.
82. Eat dessert for dinner.
83. Draw portraits of each other.
84. Use butcher paper as a tablecloth for mealtime drawing.
85. Play with big boxes.
86. Give your child the camera.
87. Pet an animal.
88. Eat the cookie batter.
89. Build a tower and knock it down.
90. Play hand games.
91. Read poetry.
92. Watch your child’s puppet shows.
93. Draw together.
94. Style their hair differently.
95. Let them choose the station on the radio or Pandora.
97. Play video games together.
98. Allow them to help plan the dinner menu.
100. Play rock, paper, scissors while you are stuck waiting.
101. Arrange a flower bouquet.
Your body, mind, and soul ache from carrying the stress of your family. You yearn for a normal life. It threatens to steal all the joy.
Bring your family out from under the heavy shadow of suffering. Let in the light.
Reclaim the ordinary experiences minute by minute. Guard those moments of peace, simplicity, and love in your heart to keep the flame of hope alive in your family’s life.
For Countless More Bright Ideas Click Here to Follow Finding the Golden Gleam on Pinterest