20 Ways to “Push the Reset Button” With Kids

20 Ways to PUSH THE RESET BUTTON With Kids // jessconnell.com

No matter who we are, who our kids are, or how long we’ve been a mom, the tough days come. Bad attitudes come. Rough nights of sleep come.

With tough days comes an uphill fight to have a contented attitude.

I see it in my life– don’t you?– and so of course it occasionally comes in our children’s days as well.

We have to be careful to be discerning here– it is not always, only an intent focused disobedience that prompts sin in our kids’ hearts… but neither should we facilitate disobedience, weaken our authority, continually offer choices, perpetually choose “playful” parenting, assume it’s too hard to obey, etc.

Our children should obey us. They should not walk all over us. Our parental authority should be clear to every member of the family.

That said, on the hard days, I have found it helpful to have occasionally-used “reset” activities that help us all breathe deeply, start again, break the grip of bad attitudes, and get on with a fresh start for the remainder of the day.

Here are 20 ways I sometimes “push the reset button” on attitudes in our home:
  1. Go for a short, brisk walk around the block. Look up and look out! Trees. Flowers. Birds. Mountains. Deep breaths. Fuzzy caterpillars. Notice the world!
  2. Get your eyes up off your phone and look in your kids’ eyes and smile BIG.
  3. Play a quick game of hug-tackle.
  4. Set the timer for 5 minutes and have everyone join together to see how much you can get cleaned and tidied in 5 minutes‘ time.
  5. Wash your faces with cold water.
  6. Brush teeth & hair.
  7. Set a timer for 10 minutes and see how many times you can play a quick game (Connect 4, Guess Who?, Speed, something easy and quick) in that amount of time.
  8. Hand everyone (including you!) a clorox wipe and go through the house wiping doorknobs and light switches as fast as you can.
  9. DANCE PARTY! Turn on a Pandora station of fun dancing music (jazz/Glenn Miller? Boogie-woogie stuff from the 50s/60s? “Everybody Dance Now”? Dixie Chicks? Music from classical composers? Steve Miller Band?) and take 5-15 minutes to Dance-Dance-Dance with your kiddos!
  10. Drive and get a quick treat (fruit from the fruit stand? Frosties from Wendy’s? A box of Drumstick ice cream cones from Safeway?)
  11. Pull them up to your lap and (from hair to toes), name their body parts 1-by-1 and how God made them SO GOOD! (i.e., “your hair covers your head and keeps you warm”… “your mouth helps you eat and talk and sing and laugh”… “your bottom helps your poo-poo go out and gives you a soft place to sit”… “your feet help you run-run-run-run-RUN!”… etc… and then end with “GOD MADE YOU SO GOOD!”– I never get this last sentence out without hearing “AGAIN!” from my 2-year-old) :)
  12. Pray for someone who’s sick or having a challenging time in life (recovering from a surgery, waiting for an adoption to go through, about to take their finals at the end of the semester, etc.)
  13. Turn on an audioBible and have everyone play quietly nearby while you listen to a chapter or two.
  14. An extended bathtime with toys & bubbles. (For opposite-gender siblings, let them wear swimsuits so they can still play together in the bath)
  15. Go for a “Rainbow Walk.” Go for a walk UNTIL you see and name every color of the rainbow. (i.e., “red flag on a mailbox, orange flowers in the neighbor’s yard, yellow leaves on the ground, etc. etc. etc)
  16. Play family hide-and-go-seek (or sardines) in your house
  17. Have everyone grab a stack of books and pick different spots to sit/lay in the living room and turn on some quiet classical music and have everyone “read” (toddlers can just look at books quietly) for 15-20 minutes.
  18. Watch a National-Geographic-style video (Planet Earth? Blue Planet?) about the earth or animals. Tell everyone to watch for something new that they didn’t already know and be ready to tell about it after the show.
  19. Everyone colors at the table together. (Including MOM.) Rotate between the children and color one entire page with each child. Talk about why you choose the colors you do, and sign each page with an “I love you, _______” to the child you colored it with.
  20. Nature fun: Spring– go weed the garden for 5 minutes, trying to get pesky plants all the way down to the roots; Summer– pick fruit/flowers to enjoy in your home; Autumn– go outside and spot as many colors of leaves as you can in the trees in your neighborhood; Winter– go outside with sketchbooks and draw the shape of bare deciduous trees near your house.
HOW DO YOU “PUSH THE RESET BUTTON” WITH YOUR KIDS? Add to my list in the comments!

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Jess Connell

Jesus-follower, Happy wife, Mom of 8 neat people. Former world-traveler, now settled in Washington. Host of Mom On Purpose podcast (momonpurpose.com). I write and wrangle kids.

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8 Responses

  1. kristal says:

    love these ideas! i’m copying and pasting them to print and post on our refrigerator. i always feel so paralyzed in those moments and now i’ll have something to prompt me to action to help me and my kids get “unstuck”. thanks, jess!

  2. Brittany says:

    Great ideas! We needed some of these earlier today. :)

    I let my guys play outside for 10-15 minutes in the middle of our school day this morning. A little sunshine brightens everyone’s day!

  3. shannon bradbury says:

    Great ideas! I needed these earlier in the week! :)

  4. Beth says:

    Jess, this is really good! I have a feeling I’m going to be needing a few of these this weekend, as I help my 9 year old complete a science project. Homework brings out the growlies in both of us. :(

  5. Jennifer says:

    Thanks for some good ideas. Love the Rainbow Walk! Some times my three yr old and I need to take a “snuggle time-out” that starts with a few deep breaths, and after a few minutes of finger-tracing each other’s faces usually ends with a tickle attack. I think I’ll add the body made so good idea.

  1. October 21, 2015

    […] ON HARD DAYS: Sometimes we need to help reset attitudes : 20 Ways to “Push the Reset Button” With Your Kids […]

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