How many times has getting out of bed felt completely impossible?

How often do you need a mental health day to recharge and take a break from the pressure and monotony of life?

Sometimes I just need a venting session with my people, my mom, my sister, a true girl friend. Someone who doesn’t judge and simply listens. A chat that reminds me, I’ve been here before, I’ll be here again and I will get through it.

The truth is, without experiencing the lows of life we cannot appreciate the highs.

This is the life many of us adults know all too well, but the truth is, it’s a reality for many kids and teenagers too.

Kids also have highs and lows.

Yes, it may seem silly to us that the wrong sock or no wifi warrants a level five melt down, but it is reason enough to that child. Wrong socks, or no wifi, these are real stressors for them.

Life is hard when you’re a kid. How many times have you looked at your kid and thought, “Seriously?? How do you have any stress?”

We project our adult stress onto children and completely forget the principal of relativity. Stress is relative to each individual.

When I think back to life as a kid, I remember a lot of stress.

School, friends, my parents, my siblings, everything!

Soooo, why am I writing about this?

A couple of days ago, my son woke up and he was struggling more than usual with the morning routine.

He was less motivated than he normally is, he was whiny, he was irritable, and he did not want to go to school.

So we pushed him in a positive way and tried the basket of tricks so many of us parents know well:

“It will be fun once you get there!”

“Just get moving and you’ll be fine.”

“You’ll have a great day once you’re there”

“School is fun! You can play with your friends!”

“You have a great lunch”

“We’ll have fun when you get home.”

But no dice, his mood wasn’t budging.

He reluctantly got into the car and I drove them to school. I watched his face in the rear view mirror. I saw tears in his eyes. I saw exhaustion.

And I thought, if I keep him home, am I making him a quitter? Am I teaching him that when we don’t feel like doing something we don’t have to do it?

Then I thought about my self regulation training with The Mehrit Centre and Stuart Shanker.

And I knew I had to challenge my old school, traditional thinking of authoritative parenting and look at my kid as a human, not something I needed to control.

I needed to listen to my kid and trust my mommy gut.

What kind of boss would I be if I pushed a maxed out employee to work? I certainly wouldn’t be increasing my productivity, that’s for sure.

I know when I’m recharged, I’m a far better parent, employee, sister, wife…

Why would our kids be different?

So, I trusted my mommy gut and when it came time to drop him off at school I told him to stay in the car once his brother got out.

I told him I would keep him home for the day but he would be working.  His face lifted. His shoulders lifted. The look of relief on that kids face was confirmation I made the right choice.

I brought him to my home office and put him to work. He helped do books, he cleaned the house, he shovelled the snow, he came and did a vlog for me. He took photos for a blog. He sat through a very long and boring meeting.

And he was kind, attentive, and genuinely appreciated the opportunity.

Our relationship strengthened. He was cuddly. He was restored.

And he got up the next day and went to school without any hesitation.

I know not everyone has the luxury of keeping their kid home from school, and I’m very fortunate to have that choice.

But I do think you can still give your kids “mental health” days.

Here’s a few ideas, please feel free to share more in the comments section:

  • A sleep in date once a month or every couple months.
  • A pick up early date from school.
  • Picking your kids up at lunch and taking them out.
  • Dropping lunch off to them at school.
  • Letting them choose a few days out of the school year that you play hookie together.

Whatever you choose, enjoy it. Take a break we all deserve and need it.

PS. A side note and downside to my kid filing my receipts… he also became my auditor and told me I need to stop eating at Freshii so often! “You know Mom, that really adds up!” 😉

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  • I have allowed my kids one mental health day per semester. They have to plan it a few days in advance, they cannot have anything due at school….no tests etc. Then we spend the day together. My daughter is now 15 and my son is 14, I’ve been doing this since they were quite small. They are both great students and it is a privilege not to be expected. Both kids look forward to it and it certainly strengthens our bond. And they go back to school recharged and refreshed.