Chasing away the Grumpies

Chasing away the Grumpies

Maybe you’ve heard the expression, ‘It isn’t rocket science!” That’s true of some basic ideas for ‘Chasing away the Grumpies.’ These ideas will help you and your child feel more cheerful, more of the time. These ideas are super simple and pretty easy. Once I list them, you may react by arguing that these ideas are not simple or easy. These ideas ‘get a bad rap.’

Okay, here goes: diet, exercise, and a good night’s sleep. Yikes! First, let’s change the wording. Try nutritious, active, and rested. Doesn’t that sound more comfortable, more worthwhile, and more do-able? When we eat nutritiously, have plenty of physical activity, and get enough sleep, just about everything else goes better. Or reword that to, ‘When we eat a little more nutritiously, get a little more physical activity, and have a little more sleep, things will go better for us.’ Even small changes can lead to worthwhile results. It’s also important to acknowledge to ourselves that when our lives are out of balance, it can be very hard to address these basic ideas. So be kind to yourselves as you read on.

Consider, children are particularly vulnerable to ‘deficits’ in any of these three areas. This can be obvious with very young children. Haven’t you heard an adult explain, or explained yourself, that little Joey is grumpy because he is hungry, tired, or has been cooped up in the house all day? Deficits can also be obvious in teens. Adults may say Sarah is cranky because she was up late, ate too much junk food, or spends all her time on her phone. And of course, children of other ages as well as adults are also affected.

If you would like more specific information, it is readily available: from the US Department of Health, in books, on the internet, from your physician or pediatrician, in magazines and blogs, and on and on. These three basics are very popular topics!

Here are my ‘big picture’ thoughts for nutrition, physical activity, and sleep.  One version of a healthy diet is nicely summarized at I particularly like owning a physical plate, available online. It makes the idea of nutritious foods very concrete and easy to use. For physical activity, try framing this idea as something you want to do, rather than something you have to do. I much prefer the term physical activity to exercise. Another key is to find an activity you or your child actually enjoy. Then motivation increases and likewise follow through. For sleep, find the number of hours that works for you or your child and stick to it. Read up on ‘sleep hygiene’ and try these ideas to see what works for you or your child.  Remember that naps or quiet time can also be restful.

So whatever problems you are experiencing in your own life or with your child, take a minute to review these three basics: nutrition, physical activity, and sleep. Make adjustments as needed. Remember that your solutions or changes do not have to be perfect! Give yourself credit for thinking about these three basics and then for any small changes you try, and finally give yourself permission to appreciate whatever benefits result!


Blog Disclaimer:  Please be aware that this blog contains general information. It is intended for educational purposes only. It is not intended as treatment or a recommendation or prescription for a particular child. If you have questions about your child, please talk to your pediatrician or seek other professional services.