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Brain and Body Breaks

There is often wrestling going on in our house. But even better than wrestling at our house is when we head over to the Canmore Recreation Centre’s drop-in gymnastics program. We go to burn off energy, but also as a way to take care of our mental health.

Our boys have a LOT of energy! If you are a parent, you are probably nodding your head right now. You might even let out a big sigh thinking of a time when a friendly wrestling match turned into something a little more intense. Sometimes, wrestling is an activity chosen by both kids. Other times, it seems to be less consensual and requires a little parental intervention.

Maverick is a kid who particular needs rough and tumble play.

A young boy is preparing to swing on a rope at Canmore Recreation Centre.

The website Encourage Play describes rough and tumble play as, “close encounter play which is less to do with fighting and more to do with gauging relative strength. Discovering physical flexibility and the exhilaration of display and it’s friendly and positive. This type of play can burn up a lot of energy.”

Another type of play gymnastics supports, and Maverick loves, is locomotor play. ” Locomotor play is movement for movement’s sake, just because it’s fun. Things like chase, tag, hide and seek and climbing fall into this category.”

A young boy is swinging on a rope at gymnastics.

Maverick has big feelings and he is quick to react to changes in routines. Lately, our family has spent a lot of time reacting to emotions rather than preparing for them. So we have been on the hunt for strategies to support both our kids, and ourselves as parents.

A few of the things we have done with the kids, include:

  • making a schedule of what is expected in the morning before school, as well as after school
  • creating a set of beliefs for the Wolfe Pack Warriors, kind of like a code, including:
    1) Wolfe Pack Warriors are kind, respectful, and helpful.
    4) Wolfe Pack Warriors look out for others and each other.
    8) Wolfe Pack Warriors always try our best.
  • a web of all the things we like to do. Wrestle with dad and yoga with mom made the list!
  • and probably most important is our list of calm down strategies. This includes things like asking for a cuddle, rainbow breathing , and colouring.
A young boy is getting ready to jump off the rope swing at gymnastics.

When Mav is in the middle of a meltdown, he tells yells at me that none of our calm down strategies will work. Don’t tell him…but, in reality, they absolutely do. And he is thinking about them a lot more. In the last few days, Mav has asked me to add Cosmic Kids Yoga and mom singing Baby Beluga to the list.

Supporting Kane and Maverick through all the different transitions this year has taken a toll on Harrison and I. Our pediatrician recommended a program called Strongest Families, a coaching program for parents. We’ve done a number of intake meetings and we have our first coaching session over the phone next Tuesday.

A young boy is laying in a foam pit after swinging on a rope at gymnastics.

Even as an experienced educator, I need support. There have been so many changes in our lives, and although life in Canmore is settling, my life and my work are very different than they were in Edmonton. I make sure to take time for myself, connect with people, and see my psychologist, but our family needed to take some steps as well. I will absolutely give you feedback on the Strongest Families program as we learn more.

Parents…here’s to you.
This shit is hard.
Talk about it.
Seek support.
Together, we are stronger.

Strongest Families summaries are available on my YouTube channel.

Published by Kristy Wolfe Stories

Kristy is an engaging, open, and honest Common Language DST trained digital storytelling facilitator. She has been speaking and teaching workshops on both photography & digital storytelling for 5 years. With a background in the education, healthcare, and non-profit sectors, she works with diverse audiences, prioritizing ethics in storytelling and storyteller wellbeing.

2 thoughts on “Brain and Body Breaks

  1. I so admire your work and love following your updates. A huge virtual hug for facing the ‘hard’ with this strategy. I had very energetic boys too (adult now) and so understand where you are coming from!

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