At my wits’ end.
Yep, that about sums up how I felt.
The temperature outside blazed a few degrees shy of 90 million. And the boy energy inside swelled like a ready-to-pop zit (equally painful and annoying).
You see, summer in Dallas is our winter. Except, unlike those kiddos up north, my Texan boys are out of school for those three long months (imagine 3 months of straight snow days. . .).
Sure, we can get some energy release in a pool. But by August, the novelty has worn off (just like sledding in February). Even Pinterest can’t offer enough creative indoor activities to keep peace in my home.
Understanding a Boy Body
That brings me back to my wits’ end.
Tons of boy energy + boredom + locked indoors = lots and lots of bad choices.
My logical mom brain consoled me, “You know, 90% of this misbehavior can be attributed to excessive energy.” Thanks for the statistic. My female brain argued, “But I’m stuck inside just like they are and I’m capable of not hitting every moving object I see. I’m not jumping off furniture and putting holes in walls.”
Oh, moms, we just don’t get these boys’ struggle sometimes.
The ‘d’ word
Last weekend I was chatting with a friend. She came seeking advice for her “active” four-year-old boy (did all the moms of older boys just sigh, “oh yes, four-year-old boys”).
I shared my web-sourced, medical knowledge of a testosterone surge at this age which contributes to an increase in aggression and a lack of impulse control.
She shared a story involving a chandelier being ripped from the ceiling. And then said, “He keeps making terrible decisions.”
That’s when I stopped her. “Wait, wait, did you just say the ‘d’ word? Oh friend, at that age, there is not a lot of ‘deciding’.”
The high aggression, low impulse control means there is less “weighing options” and deciding to do something. Their brain just says, “go!”
If you’re that mom nodding her head, also at your wits’ end, I have some help for you. In order to see the best behavior when that brain says, “go”, we have to help give them positive energy outlets.
My 4-boy-mom mentor, Leslie (from SurseeGal.com), always asks me, “Have they moved their big muscles today?”
Because boys moving big muscles daily decreases bad behavior.
Here are some of our favorite “big muscle” actions to decrease misbehavior:
1. Jumping on a trampoline
We do not own a big outdoor trampoline (although it has been considered). We have owned a couple versions of the one -man indoor trampoline with a handle. Perfect for boys 2 to 7 years old (Christmas present , maybe? . . .see link below).
2. Running laps in the backyard
I don’t know what your backyard space looks like, but we have a perfect loop around our garage. Often you will hear me say, “Alright guys, go run 5 laps around the garage.” No matter the weather.
3. Couch King-of-the-Hill
Friends of ours taught us this little “activity.” And FYI, you have to be okay with your couch being disheveled. Basically, remove the couch cushions and make a big mound of cushions spilling onto the floor. One boy stands on the couch seat part, while the other boys climb up the “mountain” of cushions. Then the boys wrestle to see who can stay standing as King-of-the-couch.
4. Good Ole Pushups
My friend, Kat Lee, reminded me of this fabulous (positive) way to get out some extra energy. She uses push-ups as a consequence (read her thoughts in link below) which means she will either have the most well-behaved or ripped son in school. I definitely agree push-ups are a great way to boost self-image and burn energy.
5. Daddy wrestling matches
Sometimes we get to the end of the day and I realize we haven’t moved our big muscles. That’s when either before (usually best) or after dinner, daddy and the boys will have a little wrestling match. I think this also helps boys have a healthy respect for their dad (who is stronger) and know how to show affection in a way only men truly understand.
Before you blow your lid, ask yourself, “Has my son moved his big muscles today?”
- Let Boys Be by Heather MacFadyen
- A Simple and Effective Discipline Strategy for Boys by Kat Lee
I have a 5yo boy in the midst of 4 girls (3 older and 1 younger). We homeschool, and my husband works from home which makes things complicated (noise levels can be an issue). We are in Houston (90 million degrees outside sounds about right on a shady day for us!). What other “big muscle” ideas do you have? We have a trampoline outside, but it’s usually too hot during this time of year. I’m looking into a mini-trampoline and punching bag set up for variety inside, but I would love so creative game ideas to ware him out! He’s NEEDING the activity and so are we!!! Help!